During the first fourteen Congresses printing was done without
guidelines or provision by law as to what would be printed, so there was a very
pronounced lack of information. The destruction of the Capitol in 1814
contributed greatly to this lack of Congressional documents and resulted in the
following bill, passed on March 2, 1831.
Be it enacted, etc.,
That the clerk of the House of Representatives hereby is authorized and
directed to subscribe for 750 copies of the compilation of the Congressional
documents proposed to be made by Gales & Seaton: Provided, that the
documents shall be selected under the direction of the secretary of the Senate
and the clerk of the House: And Provided also, That the price paid for
the printing of copies shall be at the rate not exceeding that of the price paid
to the printer of Congress for printing the documents of the two Houses.
The American State
Papers are the result of the above act (Stat.L.v.4,p.470), the joint
resolution (Stat.L.v.4,p.669) of March 2, 1833 and the act of June 12,
1858 (Stat.L.v.11,p.328). The first twenty-one volumes were
prepared under the first act and the next seventeen were prepared under the last
The "Papers" are comprised of important executive and
legislative documents selected by the secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of
the House of Representatives from manuscript and printed papers in both the
Senate and House, and several Executive Departments. These papers cover
from 1789 to 1838. Each volume Contains its own index covering the
contents of that volume.
American State Papers
cover such historical events as Lewis and Clark's Expedition as communicated to
Congress of Feb. 16, 1806, Burr's Conspiracy and Arrest and the Treaty of the
Creek Indians made by Andrew Jackson on Aug. 9, 1814. They also include
speeches and messages of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison,
April 30, 1789-Sept. 20, 1814.
American State Papers
are not a complete record of the activities of that time period
because of the fire of 1814 and the lack of record keeping. Checklist of
United States Public Documents, 1789-1909, 1911, compiled under the
direction of the Superintendent of Documents.
Library's collection contains the complete set of American State Papers covering
the years between 1789-1838.
The collection is on permanent
reserve at the Circulation Dept.
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Maintained by: Sara
E.H. Little Library
Last Modified: 10/01/2009
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