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Federal Legislative History Research: Presidential Documents

This guide will outline the resources available at the University of Missouri School of Law for federal legislative history research.

What is a Presidential Document?

After the bill is passed by Congress, the President must sign the bill into law.  Sometimes he will send a presidential message with the bill which may help clarify intent, especially for bills proposed by the executive branch.  These appear in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents or the Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States.

How to Cite a Presidential Document

Bluebook Citation T1 p. 244

Other Presidential Papers:  cite to the Public Papers of the Presidents  (Pub.Papers), if therein. For material not recorded in the Public Papers, cite the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc.), published from 1965 to January 29, 2009, the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents (Daily Comp. Pres. Doc.), published from January 29, 2009 to date, or the U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (U.S.C.C.A.N.) (rule 12.6). 


Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, 2016 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc 9 (Jan. 8, 2016).

Presidential Documents

Best Bet - Start Your Research Here!

Other Options

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  • Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents GS 4.113: covering Truman to Reagan- Second Floor, Range 246b Doc Fed Fem 18. AE 2.109: covering Reagan to G.W. Bush- Second Floor, between Ranges 245b DocFed C1.1 & 245b Periods/ British Tax.  Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States GS 4.114: covering Jan. 1977 - Dec. 1978- Second floor, Range 246b DocFed Fem 18.  AE 2.114: covering Oc. 1995 - Nov. 1999- Second Floor, between Ranges 245b DocFed C1.1 & 245b Periods/ British Tax.