The State of the Union address has been interpreted differently since President George Washington delivered the first speech in 1790. And though the speech is required by the constitution: every president in each address has offered his own spin. Lincoln discussed the emancipation of slaves. In 1978, Jimmy Carter assured the country that “militarily, politically, economically, and in spirit” the state of our Union was sound. In 2002 and 2003 George W. Bush used his speech to argue the moral case for war against Iraq. And yesterday, Obama focused on innovation.
If you ever wanted to see just what those varied themes looked like in real time, you’re in luck. Take a look at the “tag clouds” below to see how Tuesday’s State of the Union compares to previous speeches. The size of the text changes according to how many times the word was used in a speech. And the content speaks volumes.
President Obama, 2011:
President George W. Bush, 2002:
Jimmy Carter, 1978
John F. Kennedy, 1962
Abraham Lincoln, 1862
George Washington, 1790