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Researching a Seminar Paper: Federal Legislative History

This guide is designed to help you research your seminar paper.

Learn About Federal Legislative Histories

Finding Compiled Legislative Histories

Consult the following databases and websites to find completed, full-text legislative histories online. There are also print legislative histories available in our collection, such as Seidman's Legislative History of Federal Income Tax Laws. Try searching the library catalog to locate one on a specific law or topic.

Other Ways to Find Full Text, Federal Legislative Histories

These resources list compiled legislative histories but do not provide full-text access. In other words, they tell a researcher if someone else has already completed a legislative history on a specific law. If one of these resources lists a relevant compiled legislative history, please contact a librarian for help finding a copy.

Congress.gov and Govinfo.gov

Congress.gov, the official website for federal legislative information, and govinfo.gov, created by the United States Government Publishing Office, provide helpful legislative information. Use the links below to find out how to best use these services and to understand their limitations. 

Finding Elements of Legislative Histories

If there is no available compiled federal legislative history for the relevant law, a researcher may need to compile their own. Use the Learn About Federal Legislative Histories box on the left for assistance. Elements of legislative history can be found in print, on microfiche, and online. Some of the most useful resources are listed below. 

The following federal legislative materials are available in print in the law library: 

  • Assorted materials from the U.S. Congressional Serial Set from 1894-1906 and 1931-1996.  Please note, the materials in those date ranges are not complete.  
  • Assorted print hearings from 1889-1973
  • Annals of Congress
  • The Congressional Globe
  • The Congressional Record: Volumes 1-158
  • The Daily Digest is received daily
  • United States Code Congressional Administrative News
    • Contains some elements of legislative history from 1948-present. Some resources may be excerpted.

The following federal legislative materials are available on microfiche in the law library:

  • Assorted materials from the U.S. Congressional Serial Set from 1993-2008  
  • CIS published hearings, House and Senate from 1833-1969
  • CIS Unpublished hearings; House 1831-1964, Senate 1823-1976
  • CIS Congressional Committee Prints and U.S. Senate Executive Documents & Reports not included in Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1969
  • U.S. Executive Documents 1789-1932

The following resources are available online.

Miscellaneous Helpful Resources