Top 10 State of the Union Addresses

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10. Woodrow Wilson - December 2, 1913

For over 100 years, beginning with Thomas Jefferson, the State of the Union Address was a written document submitted to Congress, rather than a delivered speech. This changed with President Woodrow Wilson, who chose to deliver his message personally to Congress. The speech itself contained no dramatic announcements, though Wilson, the first Democratic president inaugurated in two decades, did use the speech to request a large number of items on the Democratic/Progressive agenda. Setting aside the method of delivery, the most noteworthy comment of the speech itself was probably his rather poor prophecy that the increased cordiality among nations foreshadowed "an age of settled peace and good will."

After Wilson, presidents would not regularly deliver the State of the Union address to Congress until Franklin Roosevelt's presidency; even then, Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and Carter all chose to use the written method on occasion.

Text of Address

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