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History: Government Documents

Welcome to the library guide for history research at the University of Alabama.

U. S. Government Documents Online

Congressional--the starting point for government document research, provides U.S. federal laws, bills, discussions, agency reports, and other documents from 1789--present.

Foreign Relations of the United States--official government memos, plans, records, dispatches, treaties, studies, and other materials about U.S. foreign policy.  Gorgas Library also offers more FRUS materials in print, please ask for assistance. 

HeinOnline--provides access to the Congressional Record/World, full-text of legal periodical articles, Supreme Court opinions, U.S. Attorney General opinions, treaties and international agreements, and the Federal Register.

History Vault--includes federal records for the Vietnam War and American Foreign Policy, 1960-1975.

Legislative Insight--"contains legislative histories and links to the related full-text Congressional documents since 1929. Contains the public-law, all versions of the related bills, specific Congressional Records excerpts and committee hearings, reports and prints."

LexisNexis Academic--an excellent source for U.S. and state court cases and laws.

Making of Modern Law - "digital images on every page of 22,000 legal treatises on US and British law published from 1800 through 1926."

Official Records of the War of Rebellion--read letters, dispatches, orders, battle plans, field reports, and other materials of the American Civil War.

Please also visit the UA Libraries' Government Information page for a list of further resources.



Foreign Documents

Parliamentary Papers --"the most detailed primary source for the past two centuries, for Britain, its colonies and the wider world.

British History Online – Premium Collection--"Parliament Rolls of Medieval England (Edward I to Henry VII), all the volumes of the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic 1537-1714, the Calendars of State Papers for Scotland and Ireland, plus the Calendar of Close Rolls."

State Papers Online: Part I--stellar resource for the study of Tudor England and the seventeenth century world, offering over 3 million pages of British government documents. 

Organization of American States Archives--OAS materials from 1971-present.

Cold War International History Project--"Cold War letters, treaties, dispatches and other primary sources, including documents relating to international crises, the roles of specific countries or areas, communist activities, notebooks of famous Russian leaders, as well as intelligence and military operations

Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security--declassified documents from the Warsaw Pact and NATO about war plans from both sides, crises, foreign affairs of China and India, roles of specific countries like Poland or Hungary within these alliances, intelligence, and more.

United Nations Treaty Collection--contains most post-World War II treaties concluded anywhere in the world.

Avalon Project--treaties, charters, constitutions, and other documents from ancient times to the present.

Government Documents in the UA Libraries

One of the greatest assets of the UA Libraries' collection is its government documents section: the UA Libraries is a U.S. regional government depository with over a million government publications in print! 

To search for government documents in print at Gorgas Library:

>Go to the Libraries' Catalog

>Select "Advanced Search"

>Change the "Location" drop-down menu to "Gorgas Government Documents"

>Type keywords in the search boxes and hit "Search"

>Write down the call numbers for the documents you would like.

Some government documents are kept in the first floor Government Documents Area; others are kept in the basement mezzanine.  Please feel free to ask for assistance at the Information Desk.

Declassified Files

CIA Declassified Documents Database--read declassified CIA materials, including files on clandestine operations!

FBI Electronic Reading Room--declassified FBI files on famous people in America, including MLK, Bobby Kennedy, Desi Arnaz. 

National Security Archive--declassified reports based on U.S. surveillance.

Congressional Record

The Congressional Record offers the texts of congressional debates in the 20th century.