The Office of the Attorney General was originally created as a one-person part-time position by the Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, sec. 35, 1 Stat. 73, 92-93). The demands of the office grew with the country. By 1870, the workload necessitated the establishment of an executive department of the government to meet it.
Congressman William Lawrence introduced a bill to create a law department headed by the Attorney General. The bill failed. Subsequently, Representative Thomas Jenckes introduced a similar bill which won approval in both the House and the Senate.
President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill into law on June 22, 1870. It was entitled “An Act to Establish the Department of Justice”.
The Mission Statement of the DOJ reads:
To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.