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2AHMP-The First State of the Union Address

The First State of the Union Address

Have you ever wondered how it came about that the President stands before Congress once each year to deliver a State of the Union Address? The President is required to do so in Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution. The text of that section reads:

“He 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; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.”

In keeping with Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution, George Washington presented his first annual message to Congress on January 8, 1790. It was delivered in the same Federal Hall chamber where he had been inaugurated. In less than 1100 words, Washington called for a standing army, funding for diplomats representing the United States in foreign countries, and steps to innovate and improve agriculture, commerce, industry. Imagine any speech by a present day political figure covering so many topics in so few words. This speech included several statements which have been often quoted including “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness;” and “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”

Washington concluded his remarks with a statement that continues to be well worth contemplation by all those elected officials who, in theory, are working for the benefit of the citizenry. Washington said, “The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.”

You can read the text of Washington’s first message to congress by visiting my website, and typing the key words “Washington first message”  in the search box which is located in the upper left corner of every page. Alternatively, follow this link:

Until next time, this is Dr. Susan Rempel encouraging you to remain motivated, vigilant, and engaged in the political process. Visit my website,, with more than 500 pages of documents, products, and information designed to motivate the modern patriot.


Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.

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