All Weekend, Every Weekend. On C-SPAN3.

The State of the Union: A Look Back

Washington, DC
Saturday, January 25, 2014

President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 28 to a Joint Session of Congress. On American History TV, we look back over five decades to hear from:

President Lyndon Johnson, who on January 8, 1964 announced a “War on Poverty” a month and a half after taking office following President Kennedy’s assassination. 

President Richard Nixon, who on January 27, 1974 pledged to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee Watergate investigation but who would resign that August.

President Ronald Reagan, who on January 25, 1984 declared, “America is Back,” and outlined four goals to “keep America free, secure and at peace in the eighties.” 

President Bill Clinton, whose stated goals on January 25, 1994 included deficit reduction and reform of the health care and welfare systems.

President George W. Bush, who on January 20, 2004 emphasized the fight against terrorism and the war in Iraq, and called on Congress to renew the Patriot Act.  

Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 5:54pm (ET)

Related Events

History of the State of the Union Address
Saturday, February 9, 2013     

Senate Historian Donald Ritchie explains the history of the State of the Union from George Washington to the present. The interview includes historic video clips, photographs, and artwork depicting joint sessions of congress.  Following the interview, portions of several State of the Union Addresses will be shown.

President Obama's State of the Union Address
Tuesday, January 25, 2011     

In a televised speech to the nation, President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The President laid out his top priorities, focusing much of the speech on the economy, job creation, proposals to improve education, reforming government and reducing the nation's federal debt. "At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else," Obama said. "To win the future, we'll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making." Also adding, “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,”

The Presidency: President Johnson's 1964 State of the Union
Sunday, January 5, 2014     

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his first State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress.  He declared a “war on poverty” and announced a $97.9 billion budget, calling it “efficient, honest and frugal.”  President Johnson delivered this speech a little over a month after the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. This program is from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

Writing the State of the Union Address
Sunday, January 23, 2011     

Former presidential speechwriters talk about writing the State of the Union Address. They discuss the various stages of writing the speech, numbers of drafts, Presidential involvement and their views on the importance of the State of the Union Address.

The Presidency: Ronald Reagan's Legacy
Sunday     

Former President Ronald Reagan died at 93 in June 2004. To commemorate the 10th anniversary, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library hosted a discussion about the 40th president’s legacy. Panelists included Reagan biographer Lou Cannon and Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan.   

Reel America: "Oil Across Arabia" - 1950
Sunday     

This Bechtel Corporation film documents the 1947 to 1950 development of a Saudi Arabian oil pipeline constructed by American companies in cooperation with Saudi Arabia.  The 1,000 mile pipeline by-passed the need for a 3,000 mile oil tanker journey around Saudio Arabia to the Suez Canal. This pipeline ceased all operations in 1990.

Star-Spangled Banner 200th Anniversary
Sunday     

In this program, we take you to Fort McHenry in Baltimore for a ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner. The event includes remarks by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Also, a flag-raising at the exact time 200 years ago that Francis Scott Key saw a large American flag hoisted above the fort, signaling the garrison had survived an all-night bombardment by the British Navy. That moment on September 14, 1814, inspired Key to compose what would later become our National Anthem, and the American victory became a turning point in the War of 1812. 

American Artifacts: Birth of the Star-Spangled Banner
Sunday     

In this "American Artifacts" program, we visit Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine in Baltimore to learn about the birth of the Star-Spangled Banner. The year 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the British naval bombardment of the fort during the War of 1812. The raising of the garrison flag over the fort on the morning after the barrage inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words that later became our national anthem. 

Espionage During World War I
Saturday     

Former intelligence analyst for both the State Department and the CIA, Mark Stout, explores the history of espionage during World War I. He focuses on four American agencies that participated in spying; the Navy Department, the War Department, the State Department, and the Expeditionary forces abroad, including the U.S. Army. The Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute co-hosted this event.

Lectures in History: Korean War POWs
Saturday     

U.S. Naval Academy history professor Lori Bogle teaches a class on the American soldiers taken prisoner during the Korean War, including the effects of captivity and attempts at political indoctrination. 

Share This Event Via Social Media
Book TV (late 2012)