American Government & Politics

Press Briefings

News databases

For more information explore the News guide 

The United States has three branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative and the Judicial. The U.S. Constitution lays out the responsibility of each branch of government: Article 1 (Legislative), Article 2 (Executive), and Article 3 (Judicial). This organizational structure is key to understanding and finding federal government information.

Key Databases 

  1. U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 - Best database for locating primary source material on all aspects of American history. For executive and legislative documents from 1789-1938, see American State Papers, 1789-1838
  2. Policy File Index - This database indexes research and publication abstracts covering a range of U.S. public policy.
  3. LLMC Digital – Full-text digital archive includes some federal Government periodicals, constitutional documents, publications from Executive, Judicial and Legislative agencies (works best with Internet Explorer)
  4. HeinOnline – Database includes such titles as Pentagon Papers, U.S. Presidential Library, Federal Register Library, Code of Federal Regulations, etc.
  5. Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports - FBIS Daily Reports are transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news issued by the U.S. Government. For more current information, see, World News Connection Archive.

Presidential Papers

HeinOnline U.S. Presidential Library  includes the Weekly Compilation of messages and papers of the Presidents (1789-1929), Presidential Documents (1965- ) , Public Papers of the Presidents (1931- ), Daily compilation of presidential documents (2009- ) and other statements of the President.

Presidential Directives

Directives are issued through the National Security Council. Many current directives are still classified.

Presidential Documents

Title: Compilation of Presidential Documents
Database: Hein Online (all volumes)
Online:  govinfo: (1992- )    
Print: DDM US1 A .P75 (1973-1976)

    Key Databases 

    Additional links

    Background Information

    Title: Statutes-at-Large
    Database: HeinOnline  (1789-2011)
    Online:  American Memory (1789-1873)
                   govinfo (1951 to present)
                   Avalon Project - Selected Prior to 1989
    Print: KF50.A2 (holdings: 1881/83, 1903/05-1905/07, 1913/14-1927/29, 1933-34-)
    Limit: Includes earlier enacted law

    Title: Public Laws (Slip Laws)
    Database: HeinOnline  (1789-2011)
    Online: American Memory Project : A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation - House Bills (6th-42nd  
                  Congress (1799-1873), missing 12th Congress
                  Senate Bills (16th-42nd Congress (1819-1873)
                  Congress. Gov (93rd Congress (1973- ))
                  govinfo (104th Congress (1995- ))      
    Index: Included

    Title: United States Code
    Database: HeinOnline, Nexis Uni
    Online: Office of the Law Revision Council (New ed. Every 6 years)
                  govinfo (1994- )
                  Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School ( Current)
    Print: KF62.A2 (holdings: 1964-1994)
    Index: print: 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1994
    Limit: Contains the general and permanent laws of the United States

    Regulations and Codes of Federal Regulations

    US federal regulations information is made available to the public in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulation. However, with regard to the Federal Register, it makes available the draft versions of the regulations to allow plenty of time for public input. Hence the Federal Register could contain additional proposed regulations, not found in the final rule. The Code of Federal Regulations contain the final versions of regulations which are codified.

    Title: Federal Register

    Database: Hein Online (1936- )
    Online: govinfo (1936- )

    Title: Code of Federal Regulations
    Database: Hein Online (1936- )
    Online: govinfo (1996- )
                  Legal Information Institute (LII) (non-governmental)

    Title: List of CFR Sections Affected
    Database: Hein Online (1958- )
    Online: govinfo (1997- )

    Nongovernment Sources

    Historical Documents

    • 100 Milestone Documents 
      List of 100 milestone document compiled by the National Archives Records Administration

    Collection Scope
    Carleton University collects very little government publications at the State level. This guide highlights several state and local government web resources.

    Quick Links

    Key Databases

    Non-governmental States Sites

    Laws and Regulations

      Content last reviewed: May 26, 2021