At the end of each session of Congress, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) prepares the United States Statutes at Large, which includes all of the public and private laws passed in the session, as well as “concurrent resolutions, reorganization plans, proposed and ratified amendments to the Constitution, and proclamations by the President.” The Statutes at Large is organized chronologically, based on the enactment date of each law. Each Statutes at Large volume also contains a table of contents and a subject index (sometimes both a subject and individual/personal name index), in order to aid in the location of documents.
Sources for Session Laws
Free Online Resources
Statutes at Large (A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, Library of Congress)
You can find the Statutes at Large for 1789 to 1875 on our A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation site. Navigate to the homepage, and then choose the “Statutes at Large” link on the left-hand side. On the next page, you can choose to browse, view an alphabetical list of page headings, or “search this title through the collections search page.” On the search page, to ensure that you are performing a search across the Statutes at Large rather than the entire A Century of Lawmaking collection, be sure to choose “Statutes at Large” using the drop-down menu.
Statutes at Large (Law Library of Congress)
For public laws passed from 1789 to 1950, you can visit the Law Library of Congress website. Please note that this collection is in process. At this time, the collection consists of a link to a PDF copy of each volume. Links to individual laws will be added to the collection in the future.
United States Statutes at Large (govinfo)
For volumes of the Statutes at Large from 1951 to the present, we suggest using the govinfo website. On this site, you can click on the PDF link on the right of each Statutes at Large volume entry to bring up an entire volume, or you can click on the small plus symbol to the left of each entry to browse the volume. Note that clicking either the “Private Laws” or the “Public Laws” links for each volume will produce a list of these laws in chronological order, each law being available for separate download.
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.
ProQuest Congressional External This link opens in a new window
Explore government in action with the most comprehensive web-based resource available for congressional hearings, public issues, legislation, history, and legal research.
The resource includes:
- Hearings 1824-present: published, temporary and unpublished hearings, including written and oral statements of witnesses, transcripts, reports, exhibits, correspondence and other materials.
- CRS Reports 1916-present: Reports from the Congressional Research Service provide nonpartisan research and analysis on public policy issues and news events.
- House and Senate Documents/Reports 1789-present: Reports on legislation and documents included for Congress. Includes documents and reports from the Congressional Serial Set.
- Legislative Histories 1969-present: trace the development of a public law from early consideration to enactment.
- Bills and Laws 1776-present: legislative proposals and enacted legislation.
- Miscellaneous publications 1789-present: Includes publications from Congressional Committees and other government entities such as GAO, CBO, the American State Papers and the House and Senate Journals.
- Vote reports 1987-present: vote reports on bills with details by member, party and sponsor.
- Maps 1789-2007: Includes maps from the Congressional Serial Set.
- Congressional Record 1789-present: provides a record of debates and remarks given on the floor of the House and Senate.
- Executive Branch 1789-1948: Includes material issued by federal departments and agencies, including annual reports, general publications, serials, instructions, rules, circulars, decisions, and registers.
HeinOnline Session Laws External This link opens in a new window
This collection contains the session laws of all 50 U.S. States, the U.S. Federal Government, and U.S. Territories from approximately 1995 to present, as well as Acts of Parliament from Australia and Canada.
Nexis Uni External This link opens in a new window
Contains over 6,000 news, business, and legal sources, including deep backfiles and up-to-the-minute stories in national and regional newspapers, wire services, broadcast transcripts, international news, and non-English language sources. Use the included Company Dossier module to retrieve detailed company information and financial performance measures or identify and compare companies matching specific criteria. Areas covered include:
- NEWS Full text of hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and newswires from the U.S. and around the world Hard-to-find broadcast transcripts from the major television and radio Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch and other foreign-language newspapers and magazines
- LEGAL Comprehensive coverage of US federal and state case law and statutory law Law review articles from over 500 publications Legal news from more than 300 legal newspapers, magazines, and newsletters Patents from 1971 forward
- BUSINESS Company Dossier service, including detailed financial and operating data on over 43 million US and international companies Business and trade publications SEC filings
Westlaw Patron Access This link opens in a new window
Westlaw Patron Access provides access to up-to-date legal information from Westlaw, including case headnotes and synopses, Table of Contents service, Key Cite, West Key Number System, and KeySearch.
Access to this site is only available from the Law Library Reading Room.
The simultaneous user limit for this resource may result in temporary delays.
The Statutes at Large in print is available in the Law Library Reading Room.
United States Statutes at Large
Call Number: KF50 .U5
The official compilation of laws passed in each session of Congress, published by the Government Publishing Office.