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Presidency: Home

A subject guide on United States Presidents for the American Government class.

Information on the Presidency

Administration Web Pages


  • Directives

Directives are top level documents that reflect actual presidential intention as opposed to the public statement of purpose. Directives are issued through the National Security Council. Many current directives are still classified. Different Presidents have given them different names:

  • Kennedy and Johnson: National Security Action Memoranda (NSAM)
  • Nixon and Ford: National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDM)
  • Carter: Presidential Directives (PD)
  • Reagan: National Security Decision Directives (NSDD)
  • Bush, George: National Security Directives (NSD)
  • Clinton: Presidential Decision Directives (PDD)
  • Bush, George: National Security Presidential Directives (NSPD)

Many directives are available through the Presidential Directives and Executive Orders Website maintained by the Federation of American Scientists. The Library of Congress has posted a finding aid titled Presidential Directives and Where to Find Them on their Website.

  • Executive Orders and Proclamations

    Executive Orders are issued under statutory authority. These are official documents by which the President manages the operations of the federal government. Proclamations are most often used as broad ceremonial or policy statements of general interest.  See Executive Orders: A Journey in Legal Reference Services Quarterly V. 10 (3) 1990, p. 125,  [K12 .E357 ] for definitions of Executive Orders and how they've been used.

    • Paper Holdings and Locations :1945 - 1989, Codification of Presidential Proclamations & Executive Orders, 1945 - 1989. [GIS Ref AE 2.113:945-89]
    • Microfiche Holdings and Locations :1779 - 1983, CIS Microfiche collection in balcony fiche cabinets. Use CIS Index to Presidential Executive Orders and Proclamations [GIS Ref KF 70.A55] for indexing and microfiche identification.
    • Online Versions :1945 - 1989, Codification of Presidential Proclamations & Executive Orders, 1945 - 1989. (sponsored by the National Archives).
    • Executive Orders Disposition Tables (sponsored by the National Archives).
    • Guide to Locating Executive Orders and Proclamations (sponsored by the University of Florida, Levin College of Law).
    • Note : Executive Orders and Proclamations are included in the Federal Register, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and Public Papers of the Presidents.
  • Press Briefings

  • Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States

    This is a cumulative version of Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, containing public messages, speeches, and statements of the President. Published approximately twice a year. Material in the Library:

    • 1929 to 1933, 1945 - 1983 on 5th floor classed in GS 4.113:
    • 1984 to present on 5th floor classed in AE 2.114:
    • Online Versions 1991- (George H.W. Bush-present)
  • Signing Statements

Signing statements are written comments issued by a President at the time of signed legislation. They are published in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and later in the annual Public Papers of the President. They are at the American Presidency Project

  • Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents

These were issued each Monday containing statements, messages, speeches and other Presidential materials released by the White House during the preceding week. No longer published in paper as of 11/01/2000. Materials in the Library:

  • 1966 (v.2:1) - 1985 (v.21:13), on 5th floor stacks under GS 1.114
  • 1985 (v.21:14) - 2000 (v.36:43) on 5th floor stacks under AE 2.109:
  • Online versions: 1993-present

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