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Library of Congress: American Treasures - Reason Gallery
Teachable Moment: Primary documents are wonderful on so many levels: they provide a window into the thinking of the original discovery while simultaneous transporting us back in history and giving us our own sense of discovery.
In Jefferson's library, the category of Reason included government and law, science and invention, and the exploration and mapping of the natural world.
The Library's holdings are very strong in law, judicial history, and documentation of the continuing struggle to resolve conflicts through law, from abolition and suffrage to contemporary civil rights.
In addition, the great achievements of scientific exploration--be they experiments recorded in lab books and photographs or the exploration and mapping of new geographic frontiers--are also an important part of our national legacy, and the documents here reveal the inner spirit of the men and women who struggled to discover the laws of nature and advance the laws of mankind.