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President Franklin D. Roosevelt giving his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 7, 1943.

The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message[1] delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress at the beginning of each calendar year in office.[2] The message typically includes a budget message and an economic report of the nation, and also allows the President to propose a legislative agenda and national priorities.[3]

The address fulfills the requirement in Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution for the President to periodically "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."[1] The date of the event may be rescheduled. During most of the country's first century, the President primarily only submitted a written report to Congress. After 1913, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. President, began the regular practice of delivering the address to Congress in person as a way to rally support for the President's agenda.[1] With the advent of radio and television, the address is now broadcast live across the country on many networks.[4]

Formality

The practice arises from a duty of the President under the State of the Union Clause of the U.S. Constitution:[5]

He shall from time to time give to Congr

The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message[1] delivered by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress at the beginning of each calendar year in office.[2] The message typically includes a budget message and an economic report of the nation, and also allows the President to propose a legislative agenda and national priorities.[3]

The address fulfills the requirement in Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution for the President to periodically "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."[1] The date of the event may be rescheduled. During most of the country's first century, the President primarily only submitted a written report to Congress. After 1913, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th U.S. President, began the regular practice of delivering the address to Congress in person as a way to rally support for the President's agenda.[1] With the advent of radio and television, the address is now broadcast live across the country on many networks.[4]

Though the language of the clause is not specific,

Though the language of the clause is not specific, since the 1930s, the President has made this report annually in late January or early February. Between 1934 and 2013 the date has been as early as January 3,[6] and as late as February 12.[7]

While not required to deliver a speech, every president since Woodrow Wilson, with the notable exception of Herbert HooverWhile not required to deliver a speech, every president since Woodrow Wilson, with the notable exception of Herbert Hoover,[8] has made at least one State of the Union report as a speech delivered before a joint session of Congress. Before that time, most presidents delivered the State of the Union as a written report.[6]

Since Franklin Roosevelt, the State of the Union is given typically each January before a joint session of the United States Congress and is held in the House of Representatives chamber of the United States Capitol. Newly inaugurated presidents generally deliver an address to Congress in February of the first year of their term, but this speech is not officially considered to be a "State of the Union".[6]

What began as a communication between president and Congress has become in effect a communication between the president and the people of the United States. Since the advent of radio, and then television, the speech has been broadcast live on most networks, preempting scheduled programming. To reach the largest audience, the speech, once given during the day, is now typically given in the evening, after 9 p.m. ET (UTC-5).

George Washington delivered the first regular annual message before a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1790, in New York City, then the provisional U.S. capital. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of delivering the address in person, regarding it as too monarchical (similar to the Speech from the Throne). Instead, the address was written and then sent to Congress to be read by a clerk until 1913 when Woodrow Wilson re-established the practice despite some initial controversy, and an in-person address to Congress has been delivered nearly every year since. However, there have been exceptions to this rule, with some messages being given solely in writing, and others given both in writing and orally (either in a speech to Congress or through broadcast media).[9] The last President to give a written message without a spoken address was Jimmy Carter in 1981, days before his term ended after his defeat by Ronald Reagan.[9]

For many years, the speech was referred to as "the President's Annual Message to Congress".[10] The actual term "State of the Union" first emerged in 1934 when Franklin D. Roosevelt used the phrase, becoming its generally accepted name since 1947.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "State of the Union Address | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Diaz, Daniella (February 28, 2017). "Why Trump's Tuesday speech isn't a State of the Union address". CNN. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
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