Why do we have an archives? NARA's motto is "Littera Scripta Manet" which means "The Written Word Remains." From the earliest years of this country, we see evidence of a desire to preserve a record of our nation's history. The Federal Government recognized relatively early that its records, from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, to the many documents created throughout the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches, provide tangible, unique, and enduring evidence of our identity as a country. Evidence of this is clear from 1831, when Congress began support of a series of volumes called the (Public Link) American State Papers, in which important Executive and Legislative documents dating from 1789 to 1838 were published. This interest in preserving our history led to the establishment of the National Archives 100 years later.