American GovernmentThe Presidency

State of the Union

Posted on in American Government · The Presidency

On January 30th, President Donald Trump appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver his first State of the Union address. President Trump highlighted jobs and the economy, infrastructure, immigration, trade, and national security in his remarks. Congressman Joe Kennedy, of Massachusetts, delivered the official Democratic response. 

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for State of the Union


The State of the Union’s History

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Trump talks unity, sows division in State of the Union

Newt Gingrich: Trump’s State of the Union was very inclusive – No wonder it shook up Democrats

State of the Union: Four reactions to Trump speech


  • Writing: Should Presidents imitate Thomas Jefferson and send the State of the Union address to Congress in writing?
  • Debate:  The modern State of the Union is healthy for democracy.
  • Poll:  Who gave a better address, President Trump or Congressman Kennedy?
  • Short Answer:  How might you change the annual State of the Union event to make it less of a spectacle?

Current Events Quiz

1) No president delivered a State of the Union address in person until Lyndon Johnson. (T/F)

2) The opposition party has been giving an official response to the State of the Union address since the mid 1960s. (T/F)

3) President Trump was the first President to recognize guests seated in the gallery. (T/F)

4) The State of the Union is :

a. An optional address
b. Given every other year a president is in office
c. Constitutional mandated
d. Subject to which party controls Congress

5) The first President to deliver a State of the Union was

a. Abraham Lincoln
b. Ronald Reagan
c. George Washington
d. Woodrow Wilson


1. False
2. True
3. False
4. C
5. C