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Executive Orders: A Beginner’s Guide

Locating Executive Orders

When attempting to locate Executive Orders, researchers have many options to utilize--in print, subscription-based, and free online resources.  Find more information about these options in the tabs below.

Note that, for Executive Orders before 1936, you might have to visit a library External. Utilize the Federal Depository Library Directory to find a Federal Depository Library near you.

An easy-to-use reference guide available at the Law Library of Congress Reading Room is the Congressional Information Service’s Presidential Executive Orders and Proclamations and its attendant Index. Both are listed below and can be used to quickly track down Executive Orders issued from 1789 to 1983 by subject and number, or date.

If the Executive Order you seek was issued after March 1936, it has been published in the Federal Register, and then reprinted in Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Both resources are also listed below. Print and microform versions of these resources can also be requested in the Law Library Reading Room.

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Researchers also have the benefit of several free online resources, including: