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Congressional Help: Presidential Materials


Please note: the content viewed in ProQuest® Congressional varies according to the subscriptions/purchases of individual institutions.

About Presidential Materials

Since 1789, U.S. Presidents have exercised authority through executive orders, presidential proclamations, directives, memoranda, pardons, correspondence, statements, and other types of communication. As part of the U.S three-branch system of checks and balances, Presidents have undertaken actions to direct foreign policy, interpret enacted law, impact the enforcement of laws, and further social change. This unique collection offers over 100,000 examples of executive actions from 1789-present. More than 50% date from prior to 1936, and approximately 25% belong to our complete numbered executive order and proclamation series. This collection was curated by human editors seeking to document the history of executive actions. The collection was created on a document by document basis in consultation with archivists and librarians at the National Archives and Records Administration, as well as dozens of government, academic, and public libraries.

Presidential materials cover a wide range of domestic and foreign policy areas, including:

  • Military matters   
  • American Indian affairs
  • Presidential decisions concerning private individuals
  • Disposition of Federal lands  
  • Creation of Federal agencies     
  • White House operations      
  • Establishment of administrative and personnel policies at Federal agencies 


Use the Basic Search Form, Advanced Search Form, or Search By Number Form

These forms are found under the Legislative & Executive Publications links in the menu bar across the top of the interface.




From the Advanced Search Form, the following fields may be used:

  • Anywhere except full text
  • Anywhere (including full text)
  • Subject
  • Non-congressional source
  • Title

From the Search by Number pages, the following bibliographic citation search options may be used to retrieve materials:

  • Accession Number
  • Publication number


Narrowing/Refining your Search:

To retrieve only Presidential Materials, choose the Presidential Materials Content Type from the left-hand panel on Advanced Search, or apply it as a filter on your search results page.

You can also further refine your search by looking for different types of Presidential Materials, using the Document Type results filter.


Looking for materials from a specific administration

If you are interested in materials from a particular administration, you can use the Administration results filter, or click on the hyperlinked Administration from a specific Executive Order, etc.