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Act Making the National Archives and Records Administration an Independent Agency, October 19, 1984

Congress created the National Archives in 1934 as an independent agency to house, maintain and make available records created by the federal government. In 1949, it was incorporated into the General Services Administration, where it remained for 35 years. The National Archives regained status as an independent agency in 1984.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Act Making the National Archives and Records Administration an Independent Agency, October 19, 1984

Ensuring the Public’s Right to Know

Congress is the most open of our three branches of government: its floor proceedings are televised, published, and can be observed by the public. Most committee hearings are transcribed and distributed to designated libraries across the country. Keeping records and making them available are critical to a democratic society. The “right to know,” however, is delicately balanced with the need to protect vital issues of national security.