Revolutions: Democratic Revolutions

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Books           Primary Sources          Taft Online Databases          Websites


Encyclopedias and Reference Books / eBooks

START HERE: These resources provide essential background information - who, what, when, where, why, how.

  • Search large collections of reference ebooks simultaneously in these databases: 
  • Britannica Academic Online contains the complete and regularly updated Encyclopedia Britannica plus authoritative websites and full-text journal access.
  • Reference sources by region
  • Additionally, a number of other databases contain reference articles (see Taft Online Subscription Databases below)

Books / eBooks

(also called secondary sources and monographs)

RhinoCat is the Library's automated catalog of books, ebooks, DVDs, and other library materials. RhinoCat is available from any browser at It is also accessible from your TaftNet homepage. A keyword search using a broad term will yield the most hits. TIP: When you identify a book in RhinoCat that sounds useful, open the book's full record, scroll down and click on Browse shelf to find additional books for your project.

  • Books on Reserve at the Circulation Desk (SIGN OUT FOR USE IN LIBRARY ONLY for duration of assignment)
    • 1989 : democratic revolutions at the Cold War's end : a brief history with documents / Padraic Kenney
    • Africa and the west: a documentary history...vol. 2: 1875 to the present/ William H. Worger, Nancy L. Clark,and Edward A. Alpers. DT 353.5 .E9 A34 2010 v. 2
    • Against forgetting: Twentieth-century poetry of witness / Carolyn Forché. PN6101 .A32 1993
    • Apartheid in South Africa: a brief history with documents / David M. Gordon. DT1757 .G67 2017
    • A concise history of Poland / Jerzy Lukowski and Hubert Zawadzki. DK4140 .L85 2001
    • The end of apartheid in South Africa / Lindsay Michie Eades.  DT1757 .E33 1999
    • The history of Chile / John L. Rector. F3081 .R43 2003 
    • The last empire: the final days of the Soviet Union / Serhii Plokhy. DK286 .P57 2014
    • Latin America and the United States: a documentary history / Robert H. Holden and Eric Zolov. F1418 .L354 2011
    • The search for modern China / Jonathan D. Spence. DS754 .S65 2013
    • The search for modern China: a documentary collection / Janet Chen, Pei-Kai Cheng, Michael Lestz with Jonathan D. Spence. DS753.86 .S33 2014

Primary Sources

  • Search Rhinocat for library books and ebooks containing primary source documents by copying and pasting the following phrase into the basic keyword search, substituting your topic for xxxxxsu,wrdl: personal narratives or su,wrdl: sources or su,wrdl: diaries and kw,phr: xxxxx
  • Historic documents, 1972 - 2017. Ref E839.5 .H57  Annual volumes of primary source documents relating to U.S. and world affairs.
  • Primary source databases
  • See Taft Online Subscription Databases  and Websites below for additional resources containing primary sources.
  • See also the course guide Find Primary Sources for more ways to find documents and primary sources in our Library and on the internet.

Taft Online Subscription Databases

  • American History Online Reference articles, biographies, primary sources, videos and slideshows, images, timelines, and maps and graphs in American political, military, social, and cultural history.
  • Biography in Context Biographies of more than 650,000 individuals from Gale's vast reference collection as well as related full-text articles from journals, magazines and newspapers, audio-visual content, and websites.
  • Global Issues in Context  News, perspectives, video, reference, country information, primary source documents, journal articles, and statistics on issues of global importance.
  • Modern World History Online Reference articles, biographies, events and topics, primary source documents, timelines, maps and charts, images and videos from the mid-15th century to the present.
  • Sirs Knowledge Source General reference database containing thousands of full-text articles and other resources. Includes a pro/con issues database and SIRS Government, a comprehensive resource for the study of all aspects of U.S. federal government, including government documents, Supreme Court decisions, and more.
  • U.S. History in Context Comprehensive collection of reference sources, primary sources, journal articles, maps and multimedia.
  • World History in Context Comprehensive collection of reference sources, primary sources, journal articles, maps and multimedia.
  • World History: The Modern Era Covers the history of the world from 1500 to the present. Includes reference articles, media and primary source material.
  • Journal article databases
    • Academic Search Complete Access full-text articles in thousands of magazines and journals. Tip: Limit your search to Full Text, Articles, and language.
    • JSTOR Extensive backfiles of full-text scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, and sciences.
  • Image database
    • Britannica ImageQuest Access millions of images which are rights-cleared for non-commercial, educational use.
    • See also Websites below for links to several image websites.
  • Video database


Wikipedia's general disclaimer: "Wikipedia cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here. The content of any given article may recently have been changed, vandalized or altered by someone whose opinion does not correspond with the state of knowledge in the relevant fields." 

To find reliable websites:



  • Limit your search to the most reliable domains by including the phrase site:gov OR site:edu (gov for U. S. government agencies; edu for educational institutions in the U.S)     

* see the course guide Find and Evaluate Websites for more information 

Useful Websites

FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS Ten Simple Rules for Effective Oral Presentations by Philip E. Bourne

The 1989 Democracy Movement. (A resource list from the website Human Rights in China)

African National Congress Archives. (The ANC is a national liberation movement. It was formed in 1912 to unite the African people and spearhead the struggle for fundamental political, social and economic change, and is now the governing political party of South Africa)

The Chinese pro-Democracy Movement: 1987-1989. (By Lester Kurtz for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict)

A History of Apartheid in South Africa. (From South African History Online, a non-partisan people's history project concerned with the presentation of a critical, open access, and democratic history of South Africa) 

A History of Philippine Political Protest..(From the Official Gazette, the official journal of the Republic of the Philippines)

Global Nonviolent Action Database. (Choose Advanced search  and enter your country and years of conflict)

Making the History of 1989: The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. (Essays and primary sources  from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University )

Nonviolent Conflicts. (Summaries that discuss the history behind, actions during, and ensuing events of major nonviolent movements of the 20th and 21st Centuries; from the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict)

Socialism and Democracy in China after Mao Zedong. (A selection of documents from Asia for Educators, Columbia University)

Solidarity in Poland (from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, a multi-media archive of primary materials designed to introduce students and the general public to the richness and contradictions of Soviet history) 

South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy. (This educational website provides primary source materials, newly-written narrative, and curriculum ideas for teaching high school and undergraduate students about the many generations who struggled to end apartheid and build democracy in South Africa; from Michigan State University)

Tiananmen Square, 1989: The Declassified History. (From the National Security Archive, George Washington University)

U. S. Central Intelligence Agency Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room. (Choose Advanced search and enter your country and years of conflict to access declassified U.S. government documents)

In addition to the database Britannica ImageQuest, you can use these sites to find images:

  • Wikimedia Commons (a collection of over 53 million freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute)
  • Google Images (click on Tools -- Choose Usage Rights -- Choose Labelled for noncommercial reuse)

Anti-Apartheid Posters. (From the African National Congress Archives; Note: these may be used for your projects.) 

Chilean Protest Murals. (Created in and around Santiago between 1983 and 1990, the murals document the spirit, force, and iconography of political protest during an important period of Chilean history; from the Widener Library of Harvard University. Note: Images from this website may not be used in your projects. You will find versions of many of them in Google Images that you can use; follow the steps above to find them.)