The Statutes at Large (cited as X Stat. y [where X is the appropriate Volume and y the page in said Volume on which the header of the Law in question is to be found]) is the official compilation of Laws of the United States of America (that is: Acts of the U.S. Federal Government) in, more or less, chronological order. The text of Federal Law, as it is found in the Statutes at Large, is controlling for all legal purposes (excepting where a Title of the United States Code might have been enacted in toto by Congress [thus, as so-called "Positive Law"]) since said text is based directly on the so-called "Session Laws" printed up as each bill, order or resolution passed by both houses of Congress is sent to the President of the United States for his/her signature (or, perhaps, veto) per Article I, Section 7, clauses 2 and 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America.
By the way: it is the style of The Green Papers to primarily cite Federal Law, when necessary and where practicable, on this very website by reference to the Statutes at Large.
The compilation of the Statutes at Large is arranged as follows:
- Volume 1: Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution of the United States (original 1787 text) and Public Acts of the 1st thru 5th Congresses (1789-1799);
- Volume 2: Public Acts of the 6th thru 12th Congresses (1799-1813);
- Volume 3: Public Acts of the 13th thru 17th Congresses (1813-1823);
- Volume 4: Public Acts of the 18th thru 23rd Congresses (1823-1835);
- Volume 5: Public Acts of the 24th thru 28th Congresses (1835-1845);
- Volume 6: Private Laws of the 1st thru 28th Congresses (1789-1845);
- Volume 7: Treaties with the [Native American] Indian Tribes of the United States up to 1845;
- Volume 8: Treaties with Foreign Nations up to 1845;
- Volume 9: Laws of the 29th thru 31st Congresses (1845-1851);
- Volume 10: Laws of the 32rd and 33rd Congresses (1851-1855);
- Volume 11: Laws of the 34th and 35th Congresses (1855-1859);
- Volume 12: Laws of the 36th and 37th Congresses (1859-1863);
- Volumes 13 thru 48: Laws of each successive Congress in each such Volume (from the 38th thru the 73rd Congresses: 1863-1934 [thus: subtract 25 from the number of the Congress in question to find the appropriate Volume of the STATUTES AT LARGE during this period]);
- Volume 49 on: Laws of each annual Session of Congress (from the 1st session of the 74th Congress on: 1935-- [thus: subtract 1886 from the calendar year in question to find the appropriate Volume of the STATUTES AT LARGE for this period]);
Treaties made under the authority of the United States of America (whether with Native American Indian Tribes or Foreign Nations) were included within Volumes 9 thru 63 (thus, 1845-1949), a practice that ended with the authorization of a separate official compilation of such Treaties beginning in 1950; in addition: Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders have been published irregularly- as well as, at times, at least somewhat erratically- as part of the Statutes at Large over the course of its entire publication history.