Article. II. Section. 3. of the Constitution, requires the President of the United States to inform Congress of the state of our nation. The President fulfills this constitutional obligation in his State of the Union Address in which he discusses the issues our country is facing and provides proposals for the coming year.
Students will identify the constitutional requirement for the State of the Union address, examine the issues presented in State of the Union speeches, and analyze President Trump’s proposals for each issue.
Computer with internet access
Smartboard or projector
Handout: State of the Union worksheet (Google Doc)
Ask students to share what they know about the State of the Union Address.
Why does the President give this speech every year? Who attends the address? What topics are typically covered in the speech?
As a class introduction, view the following video clip to provide a brief history of the speech.
VIDEO CLIP: State of the Union Address Background (3:07):
View President Trump's 2018 State of the Union address, and ask students to fill in the remaining sections on the handout.
Which issues did President Trump discuss during his speech? What actions does he propose to take?
VIDEO: President Trump's 2018 State of the Union Address (1:23:29)
On Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 President Trump delivered his first State of the Union address to both houses of Congress.
View President Trump's 2019 State of the Union address.
As students watch the video, have them complete the chart on the handout. Which issues did President Trump discuss during his speech? What actions did he propose to take? Discuss the outcomes of his proposals during the final year of his presidency.
VIDEO: 2019 State of the Union Address (1:22)
On February 5, 2019, President Trump delivered the 2019 State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The address was originally scheduled for January 29, 2019, but was postponed due to the partial government shutdown.
Have students share their responses to the two speeches.
Which topics were most prominent in each of the two speeches? Were there similarities in the issues and proposals discussed? Do you agree with the planned course of action?
You may choose to have students share their responses through an online classroom discussion forum or in small group discussions during class.
Students may also choose to view historical State of the Union Addresses given by past presidents to compare and contrast.
VIDEO: President Harry Truman (D) and President Dwight Eisenhower (R) (January 8, 1952 and January 1960)
VIDEO: President John F. Kennedy (D) (January 20, 1962)
VIDEO: President Lyndon B. Johnson (D) (January 8, 1964)
VIDEO: President Richard Nixon (R) (January 27, 1974)
VIDEO: President Gerald Ford (R) (January 12, 1977)
VIDEO: President Jimmy Carter (D) (January 23, 1980)
VIDEO: President Ronald Reagan (R) (January 25, 1988)
VIDEO: President George H.W. Bush (R) (January 31, 1990)
VIDEO: President Bill Clinton (D) (January 23, 1996)
VIDEO: President George W. Bush (R) (January 29, 2002)
VIDEO: President Barack Obama (D) (January 26, 2010)