The hardest part about looking for materials in the databases that contain primary sources is that you must search for them using the language from the time period. The English language has evolved; words that were common more than 100 years ago aren't used now and vice-versa.
When you are deciding what keywords to use, you might want to look at some of your class readings or other secondary sources to see if there are names of people, events, or other specific terminology that is mentioned.
Full text of legal documents, including:
-Foreign Relations of the United States, 1861-1988
-Messages and Papers of the Presidents from George Washington to Herbert Hoover
-Public Papers of the Presidents from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush
-CFR Title 3 , full text of presidential proclamations, executive orders, 1936-2001
Christian Recorder, 1861-1902 Colored American, 1837-1841 Frederick Douglass’ Paper, 1851-1855; 1859-1863 Freedom's Journal, 1827-1829 National Era, 1847-1860 North Star, 1847-1851 Provincial Freeman, 1854-1857 Freedmen's Record,1865-1874 Negro Business League Herald, 1909