Documents within the American Archives collection are indexed thematically, with themes based upon the standard secondary literature. See the references below for a list of these sources. The following are the list of themes with descriptions of documents that can be found by searching with that theme.
Economy: documents in this group deal not only with economic reality (farming, industry, and trade) but with political economy, that is with late colonial ideological understanding of economic issues.
Key people, events, and institutions: documents in this group relate in some major way to the listed person or institution.
Loyalist/British resistance and ideology: documents composed by British opponents of the Patriots and colonial Tory-Loyalists and Whig-Revolutionary reactions and actions against them. Ideological themes particular to Loyalists found here; more general ideological issues, shared by all sides can be found under "political philosophy."
Military action: descriptions of military battles, procurement, and the spread of military news.
Mobilizing the populace: documents that uncover ways the Whig patriots persuaded colonists to join their cause, through such means as boycotts, loyalty oaths, and conventions.
Political philosophy: the political and ideological ideas of both the Whig patriots and their opponents. Concepts may be found in the particular document; more often, they will be inferred from the context of the document.
Politics and causes of revolt: documents that expose the key reasons and events that led the Whig-Patriots to declare independence. Economic motivations (taxation) and political motivations (British laws, new American political institutions like committees) are both included.
Social reality: documents that uncover both the workings of society (slavery, the life of women, riots, and the like) and opinions expressed about such social realities.
Toward independence: the processes and events that led to independence, including acts of the Continental Congress, elite opinion, early Declarations of Independence, and the impact of the Declaration are all included here.
Ammerman, David. In the Common Cause: American Response to the Coercive acts of 1774. Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1974.
Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1967.
Jellison, Richard M., ed., Society, Freedom, and Conscience: The American Revolution in Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York. New York: Norton, 1976.
Maier, Pauline. From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776. New York: Knopf, 1972.
Wood, Gordon S. The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969.
Young, Alfred F. Young, ed. The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1976.