Presidential Elections

Inaugurations and the First One Hundred Days

What is the president’s State of the Union address?

As outlined by Article II, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution, the president’s State of the Union address is an annual message from the president of the United States to Congress and the nation. During the address, the chief executive reports on conditions in the United States and abroad; recommends a legislative program for the coming session of Congress; and frequently presents his views of, and vision for, the present and future. The message was generally known as “the President’s Annual Message to Congress” until well into the twentieth century. Although some historians suggest that the phrase “State of the Union” emerged after World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt actually coined the phrase: his 1934 message is identified in his papers as his “Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union.”


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