7 people found this helpful
Hi Thomas Fulbright! We're thrilled you are bringing primary sources into the classroom! As you probably know, thousands of bills are introduced in Congress every year. Only about 4% of bills that are introduced are passed and signed into law. Whenever a bill is introduced, that action is noted in the the Journal for that chamber. The text of the bill, however, is not included there.
Bills up to 1875 can be found at the Library of Congress' Century of Lawmaking. The text of bills from 1876-1940 is accessible through subscription services such as ProQuest Congressional. Many federal depository libraries subscribe to ProQuest or alternative online sources for bill text. To find your nearest federal depository library, visit the Federal Depository Library website.
To track legislative histories without the bill text (in order to determine which bills became laws), you can use the indexes to the House and Senate Journals or the Congressional Record (and its predecessors). Printed copies of the journals from 1789 to present can be found at Federal Depository Libraries across the United States. Digital copies of the journals from 1789 to 1875 can be found at the Library of Congress' Century of Lawmaking.