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Federal Law & Government Documents: Legislative Materials

This guide provides information about researching federal law and government documents.

About Legislative Materials on the Web

This page identifies free Internet resources that include legislative materials from Congress. 

There also are licensed databases with these materials, such as Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline.  Access to these materials is limited to members of the Loyola community and in some cases the law school.  To get to the licensed databases, go to Databases, then Legislative Materials.

United States Code on the Web

United States Code (USC)
The USC contains the current laws of the United States.  It is organized into 54 titles by subject.  The entire official USC is published every six years, with the most recent publication in 2012.  Yearly supplements are published in between those six years.  Annotated versions of the USC from Westlaw and Lexis may be better sources for research because they are updated frequently and have references to legislative history, court decisions, and secondary sources, such as articles, treatises, and encyclopedias.  You can find annotated versions under Databases, then Legislative Materials.

GovInfo (Official)
Includes 1994, 2000, 2006, 2012, and 2018 editions, plus supplements.  Available in PDF.

Office of the Law Revision Counsel
The Office of the Law Revision Counsel prepares and publishes the USC.  The USC on this site is updated and searchable by term, title, popular name, and section. 

U.S. Code (Cornell University Law School)
Searchable by term, title, section, popular name, and table of contents.


Legislative History Materials on the Web

There are numerous resources for tracking the history of legislation.  To learn how to look up the legislative history for a statute, see the library's Federal Legislative History guide.  The following lists some free sources on the Web that contain legislative history materials.  For legislative history materials available in databases, see the tab Databases, then Legislative Materials.  Often major treatises in particular subject areas contain legislative history materials too.  Use the Library Catalog to find treatises with legislative histories in Loyola's libraries.  Use WorldCat to find treatises with legislative histories in other libraries.    

Includes links to U.S. Code, Statutes at Large, public laws, bills, conference reports, hearings, committee reports, Congressional Record, and other documents.  Many documents available in PDF. (Library of Congress)
Includes links to public laws, bills, committee reports, Congressional Record, treaties, and information on presidential nominations.

The U.S. House of Representatives
Includes information about representatives, committees, and voting records.

The U.S. Senate
Includes information about senators, committees, and voting records.

A Century of Law Making for a New Nation U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1875 (Library of Congress)
Includes historic Congressional documents, including the Journals of the Continental Congress, Journals of Congress, Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, Congressional Globe, Congressional Record, bills and resolutions, Statutes at Large, and U.S. Serial Set.

The Founders' Constitution (University of Chicago)
Links to web version of print anthology of The Founders' Constitution, which contains historic documents relating to the Constitution.  The documents range from the early seventeenth century to the 1830s and include reflections of philosophers, popular pamphlets, public debates in ratifying conventions, and relevant private correspondence.

Internet and Online Sources of U.S. Legislative and Regulatory Information
Research guide for identifying and comparing licensed databases and free Internet sources for legislative and regulatory materials. Provided by the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., Inc.

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff
Research guide for identifying and locating federal legislative and regulatory materials. Provided by the Congressional Research Service.

Subject Guide