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List of United States federal legislation

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Title: List of United States federal legislation  
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List of United States federal legislation

This is a chronological, but still incomplete, list of United States federal legislation. Congress has enacted approximately 200–600 statutes during each of its 112 biennial terms, so that more than 20,000 statutes have been enacted since 1789.

At the federal level in the United States, legislation (i.e., "statutes" or "statutory law") consists exclusively of Acts passed by the Congress of the United States and its predecessor, the Continental Congress, that were either signed into law by the President or passed by Congress after a presidential veto.

Legislation is not the only source of regulations with the force of law. However, most executive branch and Judicial Branch regulations must originate in a congressional grant of power. See also: Executive orders of the President; regulations of Executive branch departments and administrative agencies; and the procedural rules of the federal courts.

Publication of the law

Statutes at Large (Stat.)

Acts of Congress are published in the United States Statutes at Large. Volumes 1 through 18, which have all the statutes passed from 1789 to 1875, are available on-line at the Library of Congress, here. In the list below, statutes are listed by X Stat. Y, where X is the volume of the Statutes at Large and Y is the page number, as well as either the chapter or Public Law number. See examples below.

Sessions (Sess.) and Chapters (ch.)

Each Congress has two to four sessions. Under the numbering system used from 1789 until 1957, the Acts in each session are numbered sequentially as Chapters. This numbering included both laws applicable to the general public and laws relating to specific individuals, e.g., to grant pensions to disabled veterans.[1]

Public laws

Since 1957, Acts of Congress related to the general public have been designated in the form: Public Law X-Y where X is the number of the ordinal Congress and Y is the number of the chronological order of the public Act in that Congress. This numbering is continuous across sessions of Congress and does not include acts relating to individuals, which are analogously given Private Law X-Y designations. (From 1901 to 1957, the Statutes at Large listed both a chapter and a Public/Private number for each act[2]) See examples below.


  • The Militia Act of 1862 of July 17, 1862, Sess. 2, ch. 201, was the 201st Act of the second session of the 37th Congress.
  • The National Banking Act of February 25, 1863, Sess. 3, ch. 58, was the 58th Act of the third session of the 37th Congress.
  • The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 of October 16, 2004, Pub.L. 108–332, 118 Stat. 1282, was the 332nd Act of Congress (statute) passed in the 108th Congress. It can be found in volume 118 of the U.S. Statutes at Large, starting at page 1282.
  • The Help America Vote Act of October 29, 2002, Pub.L. 107–252, 116 Stat. 1666, was the 252nd Act of the 107th Congress. It can be found in volume 116 of the U.S. Statutes at Large, starting at page 1666.

Congress of the Confederation

1789 to 1901: 1st through 56th Congresses

1901 to 2001: 57th through 106th Congresses

2001 to present: 107th and subsequent Congresses

See also


  • Acts listed by popular name, via Cornell University
  • Statutes at Large
    • Volumes 1 through 18, 1789–1875, via Library of Congress
  • Public laws
    • Current Congress only, via the U.S. Government Printing Office
    • 104th Congress through current Congress, via the U.S. Government Printing Office
  • U.S. Code
    • U.S. Code, via Cornell University
    • U.S. Code, via the U.S. Government Printing Office
    • U.S. Code, via
  • Brian K. Landsberg (ed), Major Acts of Congress. MacMillan Reference Books (December 2003) ISBN 0-02-865749-7


  1. ^ See, e.g., Act of Aug. 11, 1790, ch. 44, 6 Stat. 3
  2. ^ About Bills, Resolutions, and Laws
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