I propose to use whatever authority exists in the office of the President to end segregation in the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
February 2, 1953
This is a time for courage, not for grumbling and mumbling. Now, let us take a look at the things we have to do.
President Harry S. Truman
January 9, 1952
FDR’s 1944 State of the Union Address
On January 11, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his annual State of the Union Address to the Nation as a Fireside Chat from the White House.
In previous years, the President delivered the State of the Union Address in person before the Congress. But having just recently returned from a grueling trip to the Cairo and Teheran Conferences, President Roosevelt was ill with the flu and chose instead to send a written message to Congress and to read the message to the American people as a whole from the comfort of the White House.
Prior to Woodrow Wilson, the President’s Annual Message to Congress (now known as the State of the Union speech) customarily had been delivered by presidents to Congress as written reports. By submitting a written message in 1944, Roosevelt was hearkening back to that earlier practice.
In perhaps the most famous part of the speech, President Roosevelt proposed “a second Bill of Rights” to provide a new level of economic security to the American people. Read More
Photo: Franklin D. Roosevelt gives a radio address regarding his State of the Union message to Congress. Washington, D.C. 1/11/44.
-from the FDR Library
The Ford Library recently added newly digitized audio recordings of selected speeches, news conferences, and other public statements made by President Ford to their Digital Library.
Listen to him deliver his State of the Union Addresses, toasts at State Dinners, remarks to various groups including the University of Michigan football team, and much more on our website here.
Pictured: President Ford announces the National Swine Flu Immunization Program in the press briefing room on March 24, 1976.
-from the Ford Library
The War on Poverty
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty. In his Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, January 8, 1964, LBJ outlined his plan to alleviate poverty in America.
LBJ believed that the most effective way to “win the war on poverty” was to introduce legislation, programs, and tax cuts that would result in a Great Society, giving all Americans — not just the poor and underprivileged — a better quality of life.
Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson visits Tom Fletcher residence during Poverty Tour of Appalachia. 4/24/64.
LBJ announces his plans “Towards the Great Society” on this day in history. Watch his famous speech here.
January 4, 1965. LBJ gives his State of the Union address.
“A President does not shape a new and personal vision of America.
He collects it from the scattered hopes of the American past.
It existed when the first settlers saw the coast of a new world, and when the first pioneers moved westward.
It has guided us every step of the way.
It sustains every President. But it is also your inheritance and it belongs equally to all the people that we all serve.
It must be interpreted anew by each generation for its own needs; as I have tried, in part, to do tonight.
It shall lead us as we enter the third century of the search for ‘a more perfect union.’”
Read it in full here.
I’m not at all sure what speech is in the TelePrompter tonight - but I hope we can talk about the state of the Union.
President Bill Clinton, State of the Union Address
January 25, 1994