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POL 491C Senior Seminar the Presidency: U.S. Government

POL 491C Senior Seminar the Presidency

U.S. Government

U.S. Government Documents


U.S. Government documents are essential resources for studying the presidency. Purdue University Libraries have been a federal depository library since 1907 and have many documents on the presidency. Use Catalog of Government Publications for access to publications distributed to federal depository libraries from 1976-present with recent versions of these being online.  Use Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications HSSE Periodicals 016.353 Un36 for earlier years.

Important sources of presidential documents including the following authoritative sources are:

Compilation of Presidential Documents (1993-Jan. 2009) and HSSE Periodicals 352.03505 W419 (1965-2000) and HSSE MF AE 2.109
Note: This title becomes Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents with the Obama Administration in 2009
Public Papers of the President (1995-present electronically) and HSSE Periodicals 353.035 Un 27 (1929-present)

Federal Register (Online 1936-present) HSSE Reference (recent issues) and HSSE microfiche and microcard 1936-present.-Published five times a week by the National Archives, this contains the text of presidential orders, proclamations, and proposed and approved federal regulations to enforce laws.  See NexisUni for executive orders and other presidential documents from 1936-present in the Federal Register.  This database also contains federal court case opinions on presidential power from 1789-present.

Code of Federal Regulations-(Online 1997-present). Title 3 of this compilation of federal regulations (HSSE REF 353.0313 C648) contains the text of executive orders, proclamations, and other presidential documents. See also the National Archives Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index. covering from 1937-present for information on the future status of these orders..

United States Government Manual (Online 1995-1996 to present) HSSE DOC AE 2.108/2 and HSSE Periodicals 353 Un35-This annual publication includes listings of government departments and agencies and the names of key policymakers. Selected earlier years through the Hathitrust Catalog

See Official Register of the United States  for historical federal official directories (with gaps) from 1829-1959. 


Many organizations within the Executive Office of the President provide policy guidance and advice to the President including:

Office of Management and Budget
Central Intelligence Agency
Council of Economic Advisors
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Office of U.S. Trade Representative

Print versions of many of these agencies publications are in the PREX section of the HSSE Library Government documents

Presidential commission reports are also good information sources on federal and presidential policymaking. These commissions consist of experts appointed by the President and Congress to study and issue reports on important public policy issues. Recent editions of these reports are online and paper copies can be found in the PR section of HSSE's Government Documents stacks based on individually numbered presidents. Obama Administration commissions and other documents will begin with the PR 44 government document call number. Recent examples of presidential commission reports from the George W. Bush Administration and Clinton Administration include:

Deep Water:  The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling:  Report to the President HSSE DOC PR 44.8:D 36/G95

Serve, Simplify, Support: Report of the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors PR 43.8:W 25/C18 (2007)-also known as the Dole-Shalala Commission
Our Nation on the Fault Line: Hispanic American Education PR 42.8:F 27 (President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.)

What is a Dollar Worth? is a Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank resource calcuating the dollar's purchasing power from 1913-2013. See also Measuring Worth for historic U.S. and selected foreign currency conversion rates.

Presidential Portraits (From various museums-courtesy Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery)
White House Historical Association (Nongovernmental organization documenting the White House's history.)

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