Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution requires 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 Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union was originally scheduled for the day of the Challenger explosion, January 28, 1986, but it was postponed by a week in response to the accident. Reagan began his message by paying tribute to “the brave seven” Challenger crew members and later reiterated the nation’s commitment to the space program. The version shown above is the official copy Reagan handed to the President of the Senate before the address. The text differs slightly from the final speech made by the President.
First and Last Pages of President Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Message to Congress, 2/4/1986, Records of the U.S. Senate
LBJ announces his plans “Towards the Great Society” on this day in history. Watch his famous speech here.
January 4, 1965. LBJ gives his State of the Union address.
“A President does not shape a new and personal vision of America.
He collects it from the scattered hopes of the American past.
It existed when the first settlers saw the coast of a new world, and when the first pioneers moved westward.
It has guided us every step of the way.
It sustains every President. But it is also your inheritance and it belongs equally to all the people that we all serve.
It must be interpreted anew by each generation for its own needs; as I have tried, in part, to do tonight.
It shall lead us as we enter the third century of the search for ‘a more perfect union.’”
Read it in full here.
The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation…In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free–honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.
On December 1, 1862, three months after issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln delivered his State of the Union address to Congress in writing, as was the custom in the nineteenth century. The Union lay in shambles; slavery had been abolished in Washington, DC, and in the territories of the United States. Lincoln reflected on saving the union, ending slavery, and how the two were connected, thus preserving the United States “the last best, hope of earth.”
The Emancipation Proclamation would go into effect on the first day of the new year, January 1, 1863, a declaration of freedom for slaves in rebellious areas not yet under Union control.
This document will be featured in The Meaning and Making of Emancipation, a forthcoming ebook compiled by the National Archives as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation. (The ebook will be available for multiple devices. Look for information here and on the National Archives web site.)
Along with the ebook, the National Archives will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation with a special display of the original document at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, from Sunday, December 30, to Tuesday, January 1.
Message from President Abraham Lincoln to Congress, December 1, 1862; (SEN 37A-F1), Box 43; Records of the U.S. Senate, Record Group 46; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his “Four Freedoms" speech on January 6, 1941, named for his ”four essential human freedoms,”: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. As America became engaged in World War II, painter Norman Rockwell did a series of paintings illustrating the four freedoms as international goals that went beyond just defeating the Axis powers.