6 things to know about the history of the State of the Union


Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution reads that the President “shall from time to time 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.”


President Trump will be delivering his 2018 State of the Union Address this evening, Tuesday, January 30, at 9pm EST. Following Trump’s address, Representative Joe Kennedy III will be delivering the Democratic response. To follow along live, check out CBS’s online streaming of the event.

Whether you’ll be watching or boycotting this evening’s event, here are 6 facts to know about the history of the SOTU to dazzle your friends… 

  1. Known as the Annual Message since its inception, FDR popularized the phrase “State of the Union,” in 1946.

2. The first televised State of the Union occurred in 1947 under President Truman.

3. President Jimmy Carter holds the title for the longest address at 33,667 words (1981), whereas George Washington’s first address in 1790 was only 1,089 words, the shortest to date.

4. Since 1966, the address has been followed by a response from the major political party in opposition to that of the President.

5. One cabinet member, known as the designated survivor, is always absent from the event in case of needed succession should a disaster wipe out the rest of the officers in attendance.

6. Several significant ideas have come out of State of the Union Addresses, some of which include the Monroe Doctrine (1823), the Four Freedoms (1941), and the Axis of Evil & War on Terror (2002).


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