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US Government Documents Fundamentals

A guide to basic information about finding, evaluating, and using government documents for assignments, research, and your own information.

The Executive Branch

Seal of the President of the United States

The executive branch of our federal government enforces the law of the land.  It consists of the  

  • President
  • Vice President
  •  15 Departments (together make the "Presidential Cabinet")

and a number of:

  • Independent and quasi-official agencies.                     

The executive branch of state governments consists of the governor (or other elected officials), and state agencies. For state government documents, visit (link below).

The Cabinet

photo of a cabinet meeting

Below are links to the web sites of the 15 federal executive departments:

Independent Agencies

Federal Emergency Management Agency logo

Facts about independent agencies of the U.S. federal government:

  • most are part of the executive branch
  • established by Congressional statutes, which also define their authority, goals, and rulemaking powers
  • always ruled by a commission, board, or other body of five to seven members (rather than having a single director, director, or secretary appointed by the President)

- from Wikipedia Independent Agencies of the United States Government


There are over 50 independent agencies.  Here are some examples with links to their web pages:

Executive Branch Information

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