The State of the Union address to Congress is a tradition that’s come and gone — for better or worse. Much depends on demands of the times. George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address to Congress. Thomas Jefferson sent his in writing. Harry Truman put his audience to sleep. Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin traces the history and importance of this American tradition.
The audience applauds as President Barack Obama enters the House Chamber to deliver his State of the Union address on January 25, 2011.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza