State Of The Union Address

President Obama will deliver his first State Of The Union Address this evening, and with the Democratic party still reeling from the loss of Teddy Kennedy’s long-held Mass Senate Seat, The President will attempt to put the fears of all Americans at ease and set the tone for the year to come.

Historically , State of The Union speeches have run the gamut from long-winded and tedious to very brief. Some Presidents us the speech to speak on the progress the country is making, others use it a starting point for a change in direction. I am guessing President Obama will do a bit of both..

Now for some history…Most Presidents initially did not give the speech in person, but rather delivered a written statement to Congress.

George Washington and John Adams delivered their messages to Congress in person. Washington kept his first speech quite expedient at just 833 words, probably taking about five minutes to deliver. (Imagine all the time left over for post-speech commentary had there only been cable television!) But Thomas Jefferson thought the practice reeked of British monarchy and sent his in writing.

That was the custom for the next century until Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of appearing in person, and even then it was not until Franklin D. Roosevelt that presidents made that the default practice. Calvin Coolidge was the first to have his broadcast on radio in 1923 and Harry Truman the first to have his shown on television in 1947.

But the modern practice most Americans are familiar with began in 1965 when Lyndon B. Johnson moved the address to the evening, at which point it became watched by a broader audience that, in that era at least, had few other options.

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