Even though the U.S. Constitution vaguely calls for the president "from time to time" to give Congress "information of the State of the Union," George Washington set the precedent of delivering a formal address. Thomas Jefferson ended the practice of delivering a speech before Congress, and Woodrow Wilson resurrected it in 1913. Nonetheless, presidents have delivered a message to Congress, either in writing or in person, every year since Washington's first address. Read the entire 1790 address here.
National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian Institution
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