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Federal Legislative History Research

Presidential & Executive Agency Documents

Proposed Legislation - Presidential Messages & Executive Agency Memoranda

On occasion, the president and/or executive agencies (usually acting through the president) may send proposed legislation to Congress for consideration.  These are often accompanied by presidential messages or executive agency memoranda that explain the intent and purpose of the proposed legislation.

Enacted & Vetoed Legislation - Presidential Signing Statements & Veto Messages

Often, when the president signs or vetoes a bill, the president will issue a statement explaining the rationale for the action taken.  These statements are published in the Compilation of Presidential Documents (formerly, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents)

Compilation of Presidential Documents

The Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents (formerly titled Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents) is the official publication of materials, such as Presidential statements, messages and remarks released by the White House Press Secretary.

Electronic Sources for Executive Documents

HeinOnline: The U.S. Presidential Library contains a number of titles and collections of presidential documents including:

Messages and Papers of the Presidents (George Washington to Herbert Hoover)

Public Papers of the Presidents (Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama)

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (1965 - 2009)

Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents (Jan. 20, 2009 - present)

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 3 (1936 - present).  Each annual volume of CFR Title 3 contains the full-text of presidential proclamations, executive orders, and certain other presidential documents from the previous year.  These documents are first published in the Federal Register which is also available on HeinOnline (Federal Register Library).

Miscellaneous publications and documents by and about the U.S. Presidents and the Presidency.


The Govinfo Compilation of Presidential Documents collection consists of the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents. Dates of coverage are from 1993 - present.  Govinfo also has the Public Papers of the Presidents (starting with the George H. W. Bush administration, 1991).

National Archives and Records Administration - Executive Orders (NARA)

NARA's Executive Orders site includes a number of useful tools for researching Executive Orders including:

Executive Orders Disposition Tables (coverage from Jan. 8, 1937, arranged by Presidential administration and year of signature)

Subject Index to Executive Orders (coverage starts with the Clinton Administration)

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