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Political Science Guide: United States

Political Science : United States

FDsys : Federal Digital System
Replaces GPO Access; moved from beta to production during the spring of 2011 : The US Government's Official Web Portal
Choice Outstanding site
THOMAS files generally begin with the 104th Congress with the following exceptions--full text of bills from the 103rd Congress forward
U.S. Department of State; purpose is to support American foreign policy goals by providing policy-focused information and content
American FactFinder
American FactFinder is a section within the census Web site. During 2011, the site has undergone a significant makeover, and now offers a wide assortment of search, display, and save options within a much more powerful search engine, and access to significantly detailed data sets related to population, housing, economics, industry, and geographic data. In order to assist users in the transition to the new version, a selection of quality video tutorials, with attached written transcripts, are offered. These tutorials are exceptionally well done and represent a significant effort to make understandable and usable a complex, multiple-step search and retrieval process.
American Civil Liberties Union
non-profit organization with a particular agenda; provides a searchable database; also tabbed entries include Supreme Court and Legislative Update
American Community Survey
US Census Bureau; somewhat difficult to use – it pays to use the ACS e-tutorial from the home page – the scope and detail of the data make this essential for researchers, government, and urban planners.
American Presidency Project
Choice Outstanding site; Originally UC-Santa Barbara, now a stand-alone site containing 86,419 documents related to the study of the Presidency
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
Smithsonian; aimed primarily at K-12 teachers and students ; the site is highly interactive and very well-designed
ANES: American National Election Studies
Choice Highly Recommended site
Annenberg Public Policy Center
Choice Outstanding site
a convenient, updated on a near-daily basis; resources continue to expand, with hundreds of thousands of archival images of historical documents, figures and events
Assessing the New Federalism Database
The Web site is supported by the Urban Institute, coverage is available for all 50 states and Washington D.C. The site includes published research and downloadable data on income security, health, child well- being, demographics, fiscal and political conditions, and social services. A toolkit section includes a helpful Policy Jargon Decoder and a section on Data Methods.
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 1774-present
provided by the US Congress as part of the mandated transition to government information in electronic format, a very stripped-down site with no browsing options
C-SPAN Video Library
C-SPAN has provided an invaluable public service by recording and broadcasting various federal government events such as press conferences, bill signing ceremonies, political meetings, congressional hearings and debates, and other activities that might be of interest to US citizens and anyone following US politics.
Center For Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) Web site is the product of a nonprofit, nonpartisan (although politically conservative) think tank founded in 1985 to study the economic, social, demographic, and fiscal impacts of population movements on the US.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
an organization that has emerged as a national authority on policy issues impacting primarily owner-income individuals and families.
Commission on Presidential Debates
a non-profit organization which has sponsored all presidential debates since 1987. The site includes debate transcripts from 1960, and from 1976-2008.
a simple, useful membership directory for both houses of Congress
directed at K-12 teachers of government and civics; provides tested lesson plans, student research activities and excellent basic information on the US government and how it works
Congressional Budget Office
most publications are available as pdfs or html files; an RSS feed is available; the site also provides a Glossary of Budgetary and Economic Terms
CRS Annotated Constitution
Choice Highly Recommended site; Cornell University Law School
Supported by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania. If you ever wonder whether a political ad, speech or press release is serving fact or fiction, you should take a look at this site. The site provides both the original ad, speech or press release as well as facts checked by highly trained researchers.
Fair Vote: The Center for Voting and Democracy
a non-profit organization with an agenda that began in 1992 as advocating a change to proportional representation; after the 2000 elections the organization broadened and refined its agenda. The web site now states that the organization supports a constitutionally protected right to vote, direct election of the president, instant runoff voting for executive elections and proportional voting for legislative elections. As a reform catalyst, we develop and promote practical strategies to improve elections for local, state and national leaders. An interesting take on a particular set of issues.
Federal Judicial Center
Choice Highly Recommended site; The FJC is the education and research agency for the federal court system; can be slow loading.
See also: United States Courts   a Choice Outstanding site
First Amendment Center
Choice Highly Recommended site; nonprofit organization
Freedom Forum
a nonprofit, nonpartisan international foundation; First Amendment; free speech; freedom of religion emphasized The Resource for States and Localities
well-designed Internet portal for finding current information on state and local governments.
Institute for Policy Research
Choice Outstanding site; Northwestern University; The Institute's mission is to "stimulate and support excellent social science research on significant public policy issues and to disseminate the findings widely". Site can be slow loading
KM stands for Knowledge Management; a site supported by the Federal Chief Information Officer's Council; covers the activities of the U.S. Governments KM Working Group. Includes information on its various Special Interest Groups (SIGs), e.g. Content Management, KM Education, and Public Policy.
National Conference of State Legislatures
Choice Outstanding site; A bipartisan organization that provides information to the legislators of the 50 states and lobbies Congress on behalf of the states.
National Priorities Project
a non-profit which focuses on the impact of federal budgetary policies and decisions on states and communities
National Security Archive
an interesting and useful Web site; NSA is an independent, nongovernmental, non-profit research institute; The George Washington University.
Penn Center for Bioethics
the Center's mission is to "promote scholarly and public understanding of the ethical, legal, social and public policy implications of advances in the life sciences and medicine."
Pew Social and Demographic Trends
See also:
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Choice Outstanding site
Pew Forum:  The Internet & American Life Choice Outstanding site A Search Engine for Politics, Policy, & Political News
strives to be a targeted free service guiding users to more than 4,000 carefully chosen political and public policy Web sites
Choice Highly Recommended site; This Internet vehicle for the magazine The Polling Report give undergraduates, teachers, and researchers alike easy access to a timely, high quality cross-section of poll data on topics of national political, economic, and sociocultural interest.
Presidential Libraries
Offers a brief history of the library system and its operation; in addition to research information, the libraries also are continuously adding photo collections, videos, audio speeches, and scanned documents; comprehensive an up-to-date.
Presidential Recordings
The Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia
Project Vote Smart
a non-profit, scrupulously non-partisan organization with the mission of providing citizens with information about the political system, issues, elected officials, and candidates from the state legislative level up to the presidency.
Public Agenda
Founded in 1975 by social scientist Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, the organization aims to "help leaders better understand the public's point of view on major policy issues," and to "help citizens better understand critical policy issues"; nonpartisan.
State and Local Government on the Net
nicely packaged site; arranged coherently to provide links to all 50 states, many counties, and a number of city governments.
Students of public policy need a source of current and continuously updated information about what is going on at the state level; this tremendously useful site accomplishes that task.
Tax Policy Center
from the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution; This vast, professionally arranged site provides a comprehensive overview of US tax policy for the public, government officials, journalists, and researchers.
Tracked in
Choice Highly Recommended site; this site in association with various civil rights organizations, explores US government "tracking" of its citizens from about 1900 forward. Readily accessible, easy to navigate, also has enhancements such as lesson plans geared to grades 9-12.
The Torture Archive
Choice Outstanding site; part of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, provides access to over 83,000 pages (with more materials to be added) of primary documents concerning the detention and interrogation of individuals by the US government. Although numerous documents are available in other locations, this database is a single, well-organized, and searchable site for information.
United States Senate
US House of Representatives

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