The State of the Union, which is as old as the United States of America itself, is said to be modeled after the British “Speech From the Throne.” First American President George Washington gave the first State of the Union address in January of 1790 in New York City.
As per the U.S. Constitution, each president must deliver a State of the Union.
Former President Thomas Jefferson decided in 1801 to write his State of the Union but to have a clerk read it to Congress for him—and that is how it was done for over 100 years.
Former President Woodrow Wilson turned it back around when he decided to return to giving the State of the Union in person—and that is how it has been done ever since, with the exception of a few past presidents that have gone against the norm, having their State of the Union read to Congress for them.
The last time a president had his State of the Union read to Congress for him was in 1981, and it was former President Jimmy Carter.
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