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PUBPOL 301: US Govt

Political Analysis for Public Policy

US Government

Refresher on the workings of the US Government

The Legislative Process
A guide that starts with the whole picture, then tracks each step of the process of passing a law, with links to the resources--on the Web and at Duke--that document it.

Congress A to Z
CQ Press book for quick lookup of terms.  Also in print under JK1021 .C554.

Complete Idiot’s Guide to the US Constitution
Includes theory & history, plus explanation of each Article and Amendment; also essays on current constitutional issues like Presidential power.

(CQ) Guide to the presidency

Oxford Guide to the US Government
This links to the e-book, available to Duke users online. Also in print in Reference.

We the people : an introduction to American politics

More about the US Government

Vital Statistics on American Politics
Historical and current data on elections, political parties, issues like the death penalty and abortion, interest groups, public opinion, social policy. Also in print in Reference.

Washington Information Directory
Available online through CQ Press Electronic Library and in print in Perkins

Useful for finding…

  • Federal agencies, international organizations and NGOs in Washington D.C.
  • Federal department and agency organization charts

Strategy: See appendices for directory of government info on the Web, foreign embassies staff, and more.

Restrict your Google searches to site: .gov to search across US government websites.

FDSys (Federal Digital System) GPO's new site for all sorts of US government documents a good place to start for exploring all aspects of US government

Writing for the Government
Book in Perkins Library. Includes how to write persuasive policy memos.

Executive Branch

Executive Branch Departments
    15 Cabinet-level departments with brief descriptions no longer linked to departmental websites.

OMB, Office of Management and Budget
Useful for finding…

  • President’s budget and related fact sheets on each department (limited)
  • Testimony and Statements of Administration Policy--see Legislative Information

GAO Strategic Planning, Performance and Accountability

Useful for finding…Issues for the US to address -- and their fiscal implications

GAO Reports and Testimonies

Useful for finding…summaries of issues, actions taken, recommendations for executive action

Strategies: Browse by date, topic (including Budget), or agency

Federal Register

Note that it's useful to know which agency regulates your issue; or keywords used in the title of a related law.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States

Useful for finding…Presidential addresses, communications, interviews, proclamations and nominations, meetings with foreign dignitaries.

Compilation of Presidential Documents

Use for: daily and weekly presidential addresses, communications, interviews, proclamations and nominations, and meetings with foreign dignitaries.
Tips: Browse the Daily Compilation by date, or Search FDSys with the Advanced Search.Later compiled in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, above.

American Presidency Project
    Public Papers, State of the Union data, and more.


Click the dropdown arrow on the US Govt tab to get the Legislative sub-page.