Skip to main content
Research Guides

Presidential-Congressional Relations, Gov 3010: Library Exercises


Please note: these sources are for use with the library exercise only. For your normal research, use these more comprehensive guides:

For gathering background information, it is usually best to start with secondary sources. Take thorough notes when using them: dates, names, Congress and session numbers, bill numbers, titles and numbers of Public Laws, citations to court cases, etc.  Those notes will make your research vastly more efficient, especially when you turn to primary sources.

Secondary Sources

From Congressional Quarterly

  • CQ Magazine (formerly CQ Weekly) (online, 1983-present)
    Govt Index JK1 .C15 (print, 1964-2012)
    Published weekly. "In-depth reports on issues looming on the congressional horizon, plus a complete wrap up the previous week's news, including the status of bills in play, behind-the-scenes maneuvering, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes."
  • CQ Almanac (online, 1945-present)
    Govt Index JK1 .C66 (print, 1948-present)
    An amazing source for the comings and goings of legislation, published annually. Information on: provisions and discussion of bills and acts; presidential requests, support, opposition; influences on legislation; committee hearings, roll call votes; appropriations
  • Congress and the Nation
    Govt Index JK411 .C6 (1945-present)
    Another CQ publication, published every four years, covering a presidential term. Description of Congressional actions, issues and politics.
  • More secondary sources on Congress.



  • Roper Center
    The Roper Center archives datasets from thousands of surveys with national adult, state, foreign, and special subpopulation samples. These datasets are listed in the Catalog of Holdings. Online access to many datasets are provided through the Roper Express service. US nationwide public opinion polls since 1935 are available through the iPoll service. A full-text retrieval system, the iPOLL online database is organized at the question-level.


Government Reference


GAO, CBO, and CRS Reports

  • Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    Full text reports from this non-partisan "watchdog" agency evaluate cost and effectiveness of past and proposed legislation. Formerly known as the known as the General Accounting Office.
  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
    Primary congressional agency charged with reviewing congressional budgets and other legislative initiatives with budgetary implications.
  • CRS Reports, 2004-present, via ProQuest Congressional. "The Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides comprehensive research and analysis on all legislative and oversight issues of interest to Congress." Other sources of CRS Reports.

Presidential Primary Sources

Presidential Papers

  • Public Papers of the Presidents (Herbert Hoover to present)
    Govt Ref AE 2.114: (main floor) & Govt Index AE 2.114: (basement)
    Each president's public speeches, proclamations, and some executive orders are collected and published together in an annual volume and arranged chronologically. These materials tell you what the president was saying, what he was emphasizing, and what his agenda was.
  • The American Presidency Project
    An impressive archive - public papers of the presidents, Executive Orders, party platforms beginning in 1840, inaugural addresses since 1789, public papers since 1929, signing statements, State of the Union addresses and much more.
  • More presidential public papers; more presidential directives (including Executive Orders)

Oral Histories

Presidential libraries, from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Other sources for oral histories

Congressional Primary Sources

Congressional Committee Hearings

Congressional Record

  • Congressional Record
    Govt Doc X/[Cong] [Sess#,Pt.#] (print)
    Text of debate on the floors of the House and Senate. Use the Index volumes placed at the end of each session - look up names, topics, bill numbers. See also the Daily Digest volume - a summary of action in the chambers, committee meetings. Note: The Congressional Record is also available online, but for purposes of this exercise, we would like you to become familiar with the print.
  • More Congressional Record


  • U.S. Statutes at Large
    Govt. Doc. AE 2.111 (print)
    Federal laws, published in order by Public Law number. Use the index in the back of each volume. What provisions are made for oversight? Who is responsible?

Subject Guide

Barbara Levergood
Bowdoin College
H-L Library, Office 110B
3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421
fax: 207-725-3083
Website / Blog Page