5 Facts About the State of the Union


The State of the Union address is a speech presented by the President of the United States to a joint session of the United States Congress, typically delivered annually except in the first year of a new president's term.

A Joint session of the United States Congress is a gathering together of the two chambers of the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States: the Senate and the House of Representatives.

A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different nations, constituent states, independent organizations, or groups.

The President of the United States is the elected head of state and head of government of the United States.

Watch the full 2016 State of the Union speech by PBS NewsHour


The address not only reports on the condition of the nation but also allows the President to outline his legislative agenda and national priorities.

Watch the State of the Union - 2014 by PBS NewsHour


The address fulfills rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, requiring the President to periodically give Congress information on the "state of the union" and recommend any measures that he believes are necessary and expedient.


During most of the country's first century, the President primarily only submitted a written report to Congress.


With the advent of radio and television, the address is now broadcast live across the country on most networks.

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