From silent dispatch to televised spectacle — how the State of the Union has evolved


Vaguely prescribed in the Constitution — Article II, Section 3, Clause 1, for those keeping score — the speech fulfills the obligation of the president “from time to time” to 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.” (And it’s been a he, invariably, for the last 229 years.)

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