Historical Context and Background Information

Understanding a legal document is more than a matter of reading and analyzing a text. Often it's helpful and, indeed, critical to know something about the context in which a particular event occurred and/or the document was written.

Both primary and secondary sources are used to create historical context. 

Sources for primary resources: Try the History Research Guide - General and the History Research Guide - United States. The General Guide provides instruction on identifying primary sources and both guides provide lists of primary sources.


If you're focusing on local history, consider contacting the NU Library Archives and Special Collections. Collection strengths include materials from Boston area organizations and advocacy groups in addition to University publications. Use the ArchivesSpace catalog to explore the collections.

Sample primary sources:

Historical Context - Legal Materials

Image of search for the internment of Japanese in the U.S. in the History Vault database.