Is the State of Union Address always the Same?

If you did not know, the State of Union Address was a tradition since 1790, when George Washington gave his speech at Federal Hall in New York City. In addition, the Address is stated in the Constitution, Article II, Section 3, Clause 1. The purpose of the State of the Union Address is to give the Congress and the Nation a rundown of the past year’s accomplishments, and give American Citizens a sense of what the President has in stock for the Country in the near future. Overall, it’s suppose to help the President gain more popularity and boost the confidence of every American citizen. Ever since Woodrow Wilson delivered his address in person to the nation, every news channel now demands our attention for the President’s Address.

But does that make every State of Union Address almost the same? Why do we bother listening to an hour of a rephrased speech from last year? We make such a big deal on an Address because abc News and CNN broadcasts about the Address all night. It’s almost all the same. For example during most addresses, Presidents always claimed and repeatedly discussed how the State of Union is “great”, “strong”, or “good”.  President Obama for the 2014 State of Union Address claimed that our “State of Union is strong”. Similarly, George W. Bush described America in two words,”confident and strong.” and so did his father, George H.W Bush, “sound and strong” in 1990. And President Clinton joined the party in 2001 through the words, “the strongest it has ever been.” We hear the same recycled words every year on how America is nothing but a strong, fighting country that will get through any recession in its day.

I can agree on the fact that every State of Union Address is sometimes the same, but not always.

What Obama stated in his address was different with the discussion Abraham Lincoln was holding in his 1862 State of Union Address. President Obama voiced his opinions about Immigration reform, higher minimum wage, and better innovation for America, in contrast to the foreshadowed emancipation proclamation President Lincoln supported in his State of Union address of 1862.

 Even though, each address contains strong repeated nationalism, all of them had profound effects on this nation. Obama’s 2014 Address informed the public that the President will fight for better rights for Immigrants, close the gap between income inequality and if have to, enforce sanctions on Iran to prevent the gaining of Nuclear weapons. President Lyndon B. Johnson, just like Obama wanted to eliminate the gap between the poor and the rich, but with the introduction of  his Great Society program during his 1965 address. President Nixon’s 1974 Address did not revolve around Immigration, but him begging for the end of the Watergate investigation. President George W. Bush, like Obama addressed about the Middle East, but Bush inspired the long war in Iraq through his address, thus that is what Obama is trying to clean up. Before I fell asleep to Obama’s State of Union Address, I tried to remind myself that the political agenda the Presidents are trying to enforce could change our country. George W.Bush, Abraham Lincoln, and Lyndon B. Johnson changed our nation, and that was my motive to keep my eyelids open and the channel on.

You should try it too, you might learn something.

Evidence/Documents:

Obama’s 2014 State of Union Address: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obamas-2014-state-of-the-union-address-full-text/

Abraham Lincoln State of Union Address:  http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/sotu/lincoln.html

President Lyndon B. Johnson Address: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/state-of-the-union-address-152/

President Nixon: http://abcnews.go.com/Archives/video/jan-30-1974-nixons-state-union-address-9412241

George W. Bush: http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/imperialism/readings/bush.html

                                                              

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One thought on “Is the State of Union Address always the Same?

  1. I wrote something similar to this, too, and while I agree that there have been changes from the first ever SOTU Address, I feel like that is something that shouldn’t even have to be acknowledged. OF COURSE they are different! They are separated by decades upon decades! When I compared the 2005 SOTU to the 2014 for my article, I found that there was virtually NO difference in the material. And I watched the 2013 address last year, and don’t remember all of the specifics, but again it was almost the same thing. It made me really upset, because wow that was two hours I spent listening to almost the same speech. I think the whole “stronger than ever”/”strong and sound” thing is because our nation does strengthen yearly 🙂 but other than that, I am more than a little disappointing by the amount of talking the govt does vs the amount of action. And I acknowledge that it is hard for action to come about, of course it is. But still, some results would be favorable. This is a teeming, diverse, complicated nation! You could talk about it for hours on end, every minute discussing something different. So please, Presidents, give us something new! And a bit of physical progress wouldn’t hurt, too!

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