Legislative Highlights

The U.S. Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power…To make all Laws.” The original laws enacted by Congress are preserved at the National Archives. This page highlights some of the most historically significant laws Congress has passed throughout the nation’s history.

Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, August 2, 1946

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An Act Providing for the Education of Colored Children in the Cities of Washington and Georgetown, District of Columbia, May 21, 1862

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An Act to Establish a Department of Agriculture, May 15, 1862

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The Jay Treaty, Exchange Copy, November 19, 1794

“Title IX” of the Education Amendments of 1972, June 23, 1972

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An Act for the Release of Certain Persons from Service or Labor in the District of Columbia (D.C. Emancipation Act), April 16, 1862

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Morrill Land Grant Act, July 2, 1862

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Joint Resolution proposing the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, February 26, 1869 Joint Resolution proposing the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, February 26, 1869

Joint Resolution Proposing the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution, passed by Congress on May 13, 1912

Pacific Railway Act, approved July 1, 1862

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The Homestead Act, May 20, 1862

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An Act Providing for the Expences Which May Attend Negotiations or Treaties with the Indian Tribes, August 20, 1789