If you have a citation for a journal article, and you want to obtain a copy of that article, you first need to determine whether the Library owns a copy of the journal issue. Therefore, the most important piece of information when beginning a search for a known journal article is the title of the journal, not the title of the article.
You will first check to see if we have online access to that journal. To do that, you will search for the journal (by title) using a catalog rather plainly named "Online Journals and Databases":
If the Library does not have online access to that journal issue, then you will check to see if we have it in print. To determine whether the Library owns the journal in print, you will search the regular Library Catalog:
If the Library does not have a print copy of the journal, then you will use your complete citation to request a copy through interlibrary loan:
Interlibrary loan can usually obtain a journal article for you very quickly (much faster than for books), sometimes within one day.
The principal database for identifying journal articles in American history is America: History and Life:
Although America: History and Life is considered the most "important" article index for research in American history, there are several other very important article indexes, any of which might be crucial for research depending on the focus of your research:
Below is a list of major, full-text periodical collections. Note that these sources are not comprehensive: many full text journals are only available, entirely or in part, through their publisher's websites. For example: The Sixties: a Journal of History, Politics, and Culture, Radical History Review, and Journal of Black Studies.
Journals like The Sixties, Radical History Review, and Journal of Black Studies, are indexed by America: History and Life.