State-of-the-Union-history, records and other fun facts

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President Trump is scheduled to have his second state of the Union speech on Jan. 29.

It is planned for the beginning of the year and the President is not to be expected, his message in person, that was always the case.

Read on for a look at how the address has developed to the political tradition that it is today.

Why the state of the Union

Article II, section 3 of the Constitution: The President “from time to time to the Congress information on the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

How it has changed over time

Traditionally, the President’s address to the joint session of the house of representatives and the Senate annually.

However, Thomas Jefferson sent written statements during his presidency, instead of to appear before Congress in person, a practice, the President followed for more than a century, until Woodrow Wilson began, in the person again. While Jefferson, the practice of defendant as to similar to the British monarch, historians have also speculated that he chose this way to avoid to appear in person because he had stage fright.

President Harry S. Truman the first televised address on Jan. 6, 1947.
(Getty Images)

Other presidents after Wilson had just written addresses. And still others presented both a written and an oral State of the Union address.


President Ronald Reagan is credited with the invitation of the first guest on the state of the Union.
(Getty Images)

Apart from the question of how it was delivered, the official name of the address has also changed over time. Of George Washington, the first address speech, 1790 to 1946, in practice, the Annual “message said,” according to the US-home-Archive. The phrase “state of the union” began to be used informally, in 1942, before it was officially in 1947.

In addition, the focus of the State of the Union is a. over time, as well as at least some credit in the direction of the invention of the technology transfer the language in the whole country While these addresses is first grown focused on the economy and the budget request, since then, a push for the President’s agenda.


The state of the Union is traditionally at the beginning of the year (January), but it was delivered towards the end of the year before. Some presidents, like Jimmy Carter, gave a written State of the Union to Congress at the end of the term.

State of the Union-premieres

  • George Washington gave the first address on Jan. 8, 1790, spoke to the Senate hall in New York City.
  • Calvin Coolidge gave the first radio broadcast of his address. Dec. 6, 1923.
  • Harry S. Truman the first televised address on Jan. 6, 1947. However, the first prime-time State of the Union was delivered, almost 20 years later by Lyndon B. Johnson on Jan. 4, 1965.


  • The role of the “designated survivor”, was created during the Cold war of the 1960s, in the midst of the fears of a nuclear war, although official albums were not held until years later. Education Secretary Terrel Bell was tapped as the designated survivor during Ronald Reagan’s 1981 address to the joint session of Congress. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Samuel R. Pierce, Jr sat in Reagan’s 1984 State of the Union address as the designated survivor, according to The American presidency project.

  • Lenny Skutnik is, allegedly, the first state of the Union guest, invited to visit from Reagan, 1982 address. Skutnik, a Congressional Budget Office staff at the time, helped rescue a woman after a plane crash in the Potomac River. Reagan praised Skutnik for his “American heroism” during his address, and he received a standing ovation. His name is now an eponym to describe the President with the help of ordinary people to make a point.
  • George W. Bush is the first President to have his State of the Union address will be broadcast over the internet, according to the US-home-Archive.

State-of-the-Union-fun facts

  • Jimmy Carter had the longest written State of the Union speech, which included more than 33,000 words, but the address was not written. Bill Clinton, but the top two at the longest in-person talk: 1 hour and 28 minutes in 2000, and 1 hour and 24 minutes in the year 1995.

President Bill Clinton was notorious for giving lengthy State of the Union addresses. He holds the record for the top two longest speeches in person.
(Getty Images)

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt gave addresses before the Congress. Of the 12, he gave, 10 were delivered in person.
  • William Henry Harrison and James Garfield are the only presidents not State of the Union address. Garfield was only in the White house for little more than six months before died in office; Harrison was President only for a month.

Like Trump, the first State of the Union comparesVideo

Trump the first State of the Union address was to be given to the 95th before Congress, according to the U.S. house archives. With only a little more than 5,100 words, it took Trump 1 hour and 20 minutes, you give the address and the third-longest in history.

Trump pulled in 45.6 million viewers for his speech, according to Nielsen ratings. In comparison, Bush pulled in more than 62 million in 2003, Clinton collected more than 53 million in 1998 and Barack Obama collected more than 48 million in 2010.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was as the designated survivor during Trump’s first State of the Union.


You can read Trump’s first State of the Union address here.

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