- History & Culture
The State of the Union rules are less official than you think
The U.S. Constitution gives presidents a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the details of their annual address.
On January 8, 1790, in Federal Hall in New York City, President George Washington delivered his first annual address to Congress. His speech praised the union’s recent accomplishments: admitting North Carolina as a state and increased international visibility and respect for the young nation. Washington advocated for new legislation including the “proper establishment of troops,” a uniform system of weights and measures, defining the citizenship process, and the “advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means.”
And Washington closed his speech with a message of cooperation: 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