U. S. Politics

Subject Guides

Albert Search

Search Albert to find books, movies, etc..

Includes hundreds of online academic encyclopedias and handbooks, including the Encyclopedia of Political Science.

Includes excellent background information in the social sciences

Finding Articles 


Discover articles and books from many of our databases.


Searches all the Proquest databases including: PAIS, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, and Proquest Political Science.

Set up an account in The New York Times using your Saint Mary's login for full access to the entire run of the paper.  A great place to stay informed with the current news of the day.

Scholarly articles from Wiley publications, which has a great collection of political science journals


The American Presidency Project - Over 100,000 documents studying the presidents and the institution of the presidency.  

Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774-1989. (Ref 973.0922 So12) New York: Greenwood, 1990.

Budget of the United States Government- Available online.

Includes Presidents: A Reference History

Presidential Libraries - Guides and finding aids for each library.

Presidents Speak: The Inaugural Addresses of the American Presidents from Washington to Clinton. (Ref 353.035 L916a) New York: H. Holt, 1994.

White House presents not only information about the White House but also connections to most of the Independent agencies of the U.S. Federal government. For text of executive orders, go here. Older executive orders from previous administrations can be found in the National Archives.

 Includes Major Acts of Congress

Budget of the United States Government.  Annual, from the Government Printing Office (GPO).

Congress and the Nation - Available online from 1945 to the present, this important reference work focuses on legislation and issues over periods of time, organized by date, and also by topic. 

Congress.gov is the updated version of the Library of Congress's Thomas.gov.  

Congressional Black Caucus - Formed to "meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens." Press releases, speeches, and articles.  Use with Black Members of the United State Congress 1870-present, updated annually.

Congressional Research Service - A place to browse reports from the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service via the FAS.

C-SPAN - Commercial-free live coverage of congressional proceedings.  Using their search box will search their Video Library (archive) which includes thousands of hours of coverage of important issues such as the Iran-Contra Affair, the Gulf Oil Spill, the Clinton Impeachment proceedings, and much more.

United States House of Representatives server has a wealth of information on legislators and legislation, including committee actions, voting records, etc. There is also a directory of representatives.

United States Senate - Directory of senators and their Web sites. Information on the committees, activities, and history of the Senate.

The Supreme Court - The site includes all decisions from 1991 to the present.  To search for the decisions, it is simpler to search within the site via Google.  For example: abortion site:supremecourt.gov will search for all mention of abortion from the domain indicated.  You can also search within the site.  Texts of older decisions can be found in many places, including NexisUni, or if you know the name of the case, another Google search will often yield it from a governmental archive.  You can also search Albert: albert.stmarys-ca.edu for broad looks at the Supreme Court in a variety of topics.  Try searching abortion supreme court in Albert as an example.

Search legal cases of note from within this database for the full text.  Famous historical cases are also included.

Ballot Measure Database - "NCSL’s Ballot Measures database includes all statewide ballot measures for more than a century. The database is searchable by topic area, with options such as abortion, bond measures, criminal justice, education, elections, health, labor and employment, natural resources, tax and revenues, transportation and more. The database is updated as new ballot measures qualify to be on the ballot."  From the NCSL, the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 Includes National Survey of State Laws

Governing.com - An Internet portal to find current information by and about state and local governments.

National Conference of State Legislatures - Bipartisan organization that provides information to the legislators of the 50 states and lobbies Congress on the bahalf of the states.

Stateline.org - Current and updated information about what is going on at the state level.

ANES: American National Election Studies - Offers datasets from each election (an archive from 1952-2008), a bibliography for each dataset, and a Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior. Tables and statistics can be copied easily, so be sure and cite where you found it.  You need to set up a profile to use the database.

Need biographies of the candidates?

Guide to U.S. Elections - an online study from Sage, covering the study of all United State federal elections, as well as the governor races in the individual states, from the beginning of the republic to the present.

ConSource: The Constitution and Its Amendments - An online library of constitutional history.

 Find background policy reports on many social issues.  Researched and written by journalists, these are excellent public policy background essays, complete with a bibliography and footnotes.

FactCheck.org - A nonpartisan nonprofit site set up to increase understanding and lessen confusion in US politics-- by monitoring accuracy of speeches, interviews, debates and press releases.

Federal Digital System - Search for current governmental reports and documents. This is a part of GPO Access , from the Government Printing Office (GPO), the "official Federal Government Information at your fingertips." Full text of many government publications and reports, including Congressional RecordFederal RegisterGovernment Manual, and the United States Code. There is much more, including core documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

FedFlix - Offers "the best movies of the United States Government, from training films to history, from our national parks to the U.S. Fire Academy and the Postal Inspectors, all of these fine flix are available for reuse without any restrictions whatsoever..."

Historic Documents from 2009 to present, but the link defaults to 2009.  Search broadly in the Sage Knowledge database (which is where these documents live) for events that you want to find.  Older issues from 1980-2008 are available in print at:  (Ref 909.82 C760).   See also: Historic Documents Index, 1972-1999. (Ref 909.82 C760i) Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 2000.

Metalab (USGPO) - The Government Printing Office offers 53 government databases with an "easy and personalized interface which can search simultaneously for information in a variety of electronic resources, such as catalogs, reference databases, digital repositories or subject-based Web gateways."

USAspending.gov - Data goes back to 2000 and includes grant recipient information, lists of government contractors (by state) and more.

U.S. Government Documents Ready Reference Collection - Arranged by category, this is a great collection of available government documents. Categories include Environment, Health, Energy, and Business and Economics. Some sources are accessible only to Columbia students.

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) - Select "Local Government" for links to different cities and counties in the Bay Area.

Bureau of Justice Statistics - Browse by topic, or do a quick search, for national statistics that relate to crime and criminal justice.  Use different terms if you can't find what you need.  For instance, there are no statistics for "domestic violence", but there are for "intimate partner violence."  

Census Bureau

Data.gov - For statistics of the more than 70 agencies in the U S Federal Government.

Includes Cities of the United States

Huge collection of national and international statistics.  Complicated and at times difficult to use, but well worth the struggle for the great results.

Municipal Year Book. (Ref 352.058 M925) Chicago: International City Manager's Association, Annual.

 Also includes information on state statistics other than California, but California has the best statistics from this database focusing on education, crime, labor, transportation and more which can be narrowed by county and year.  

Statistical Abstract of the United States - An annual summary of national statistics.  Do a general search to local stats, and pay attention to the governmental organization that collects the data.  If you require more data, click on the link to the organization to find more reports.

Statistical Portrait of the United States: Social Conditions and Trends ebook from ebrary

Political Science Subject Guide: Literature Reviews from Yale University has very detailed information on how to search for resources for your lit review.

Other places to look for material can be found in the links above to Multisearch or to PAIS.  Other places of interest include:

If your topic has a broad social science theme to it, try searching this database for very thorough literature reviews.  Not everything in the database is full text.

Search all the Proquest databases at once

The Literature Review: A Research Journey - An overview of the literature review iterative process.  This particular guide has an educational focus, but a literature review for any discipline has similar steps and processes.  From the Harvard Library.

Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students - This 9-1/2 minute video explains what a literature review is, and why it is important for graduate student research.  From North Carolina State University.

Boolean Searching - A brief (less than 2 minutes) video explaining boolean searching for your database searches.  This is one of many short videos from the Library's YouTube channel.  From SMC Library.  

Primary and Secondary Sources - A chart that looks at the differences between primary and secondary sources for the humanities and social sciences. From SMC Library. [pdf file]

Chicago Manual of Style Online. Also available in print in the reference room (Ref 808.02 Un3e)

Chicago Manual of Style (Author-Date) - a quick guide from the SMC Library.

Citation Management Software

Consider getting the Firefox (browser) extension called Zotero to better manage your online citations.  You can also use Mendeley.   Both are free!

Writing Assistance

Having trouble putting it all together? The SMC Center for Writing Across the Curriculum (or, "The Writing Center") offers peer-to-peer advising sessions for both undergraduate and graduate students. You can call or stop by to make an appointment, or can also drop in and do a session immediately, if an adviser is available. See their website for more information, or stop by the first floor of DeLaSalle, or call us: 925.631.4684