Online Primary Sources for American History: Public Papers of the Presidents

The Public Papers of the President of the United States is an ongoing series that publishes the papers and speeches of the president along with other documents such as addresses to the nation, executive orders, interviews, and proclamations. It has been in existence since 1957 when President Truman’s papers started appearing.(More of its history.) There are previous collections of papers, but they were not necessarily printed by the federal government (aka the National Archives). However, these older volumes, back to 1789, are also available here. Due to the careful editing of these works, there is a time lag; the second volume for President Obama’s 2009 year has just come out. To keep up-to-date with presidential papers, one can use the Compilation of Presidential Documents that, as of this writing, is current through September 13.

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