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January 9, 1952


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Harry S Truman, in his annual State of the Union address this afternoon to a joint session of Congress & before a national television audience, warned of the dangers of the Cold War.

              CSPAN Television Image
           Truman State of the Union
                     January 9, 1952

The President said:

“The United States & the whole free world are passing through a period of grave danger.  Every action….must be measured against the test of whether it helps to meet that danger.”

Mr. Truman continued:

“We are moving through a perilous time….faced with a terrible threat of aggression (in Korea), our nation has embarked upon a great effort to help establish the kind of world in which peace shall be secure.

In Korea, the forces of the United Nations turned back the Chinese communist invasion & did it without widening the area of conflict.”

On the domestic front, the President said:

“I think everybody knows that social insurance & better schools & health services are not frills, but necessities in helping all Americans to be useful, productive citizens who can contribute their full share in the national effort to protect & advance our way of life.”

Mr. Truman concluded his remarks with these words:

“In all we do, we should remember who we are & what we stand for.  We are Americans.  Our forefathers had far greater obstacles….& much poorer chances of success.  They did not lose heart, or turn aside from their goals.  Let us go forward, trusting in the God of Peace, to win the goals we seek.”*

*The State of the Union Address is a requirement set in Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution which reads as follows:

“(The President of the United States) shall from time to time give to Congress information on the State of the Union & recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary & expedient.”

President George Washington gave the 1st “annual report” in New York City on January 8, 1790.

Washington’s State of the Union message is the shortest of all given while Truman’s 1946 address is the longest.

The term “State of the Union Address” did not come into common usage until 1947.

FDR gave the most State of the Union addresses at 12 while 2 Presidents did not give any.**

**William Henry Harrison & James Garfield both died in their 1st year in office.

Calvin Coolidge was the 1st President to deliver a State of the Union address on the radio (1923) while Harry Truman was the 1st to give one on television (1947).

Only 77 of 221 State of the Union addresses have been delivered in person.

             President Barack Obama
            Gives State of the Union
              VP Joe Biden & Speaker 
              Nancy Pelosi applaud
                  January 27, 2010
              Photo by Pete Souza

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