1978 November 4

President Jimmy Carter Signs Presidential Records Act

 

The Presidential Records Act, signed on this day, was the result of a four-year controversy over President Richard Nixon’s presidential papers. Nixon had claimed that his papers were his private property rather than public government documents. The act officially declared that presidential records were the property of the U.S. government. It has since been modified and re-modified by a series of presidential executive orders.

The battle over access to presidents’ official records continued. On November 1, 2001, President George W. Bush issued an executive order that limited access to the papers of past presidents, by allowing them to designate requested papers as confidential. His action was part of the obsessive secrecy of his administration, led primarily by Vice-President Dick Cheney. President Barack Obama reversed that executive order in 2009.

Learn more about the law of presidential records at the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/about/laws/presidential-records.html

Read the 2014 Congressional Reference Service (CRS) report on the Presidential Records Act and subsequent developments: http://fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/R40238.pdf

Learn more about President Jimmy Carter’s civil liberties record: Samuel Walker, Presidents and Civil Liberties From Wilson to Obama (2012)

Learn more about Carter’s post-presidential work at the Carter Center: http://www.cartercenter.org/index.html

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!