CommonLit The Library
CommonLit is a free collection of fiction and nonfiction for 3rd-12th grade classrooms. Search and filter our collection by lexile, grade, theme, genre, literary device, or common core standard.
Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. Du Bois
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois
These two excerpts capture the ideological debate about black social mobility after the Civil War.
Speech on Slavery
Lincoln makes a case for free labor over "the great curse" of slavery.
Act for Establishing Religious Freedom
Jefferson makes the argument for religious freedom in the United States.
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
The famous ex-slave and abolitionist points out the hypocrisy of "the home of the free" on Independence Day.
The Plea for Eight Hours
Labor union leader Terence Powderly makes a reasoned argument in favor of reducing the work day for laborers.
Testimony Before the Senate Hearings on the Equal Rights Amendment
In her speech advocating in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment, feminist Gloria Steinem seeks to dispel myths about women.
Address to Congress on Women's Suffrage
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt argues in favor of granting women the right to vote.
Every Man a King
Huey P. Long
At the height of the Great Depression, Huey P. Long, a Louisiana senator, delivered this famous speech in which he denounced the rich and argued to "scale down the big fortunes."
The Fallacy of Success
Chesterton uses humor to mock books that aim to teach a person how to become wealthy and successful.
'Shut the Door' Speech
Senator Ellison DuRant Smith
During a 1924 congressional debate on immigration, a senator from South Carolina argued that we should "shut the door and breed up a pure, unadulterated American citizen."
Andrew Jackson's Speech to Congress on 'Indian Removal'
President Andrew Jackson
The president announces the "benevolent" initiative to remove Native Americans from their homelands.
Excerpt from Walden: “Economy”
Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau was an avid nature-lover and questioned the value of integrating technology into society.
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech
The famous revolutionary speech that incited Virginia to organize a militia against British tyranny
Marshall Plan Speech
George Catlett Marshall
A speech outlining the plan to rebuild Europe after the devastation of WWII
Excerpt from The Prince
Machiavelli discussed the value of cruelty and how it can be used to retain power.