Profile America: First State of the Union

The First State of the Union

Profile AmericaMonday, January 4th. In early January 1790, President George Washington addressed a joint session of Congress to deliver the first State of the Union report, as called for the in the still young Constitution. The requirement didn’t demand a speech, and after delivering just one, President Thomas Jefferson began reporting in writing, feeling a speech was too magisterial. The spoken presentation was revived over a century later by Woodrow Wilson.

Washington’s address has echoes to this day, as he stated “the terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of citizens should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.”

The first U.S. census, taken just months later, counted a population of just over 3.9 million residents. Today’s foreign-born population of 40 million is over 10 times that number.

President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address on January 12, 2016 at 9 p.m. EST.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau