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:

obamaspeech1.gif


President George W. Bush, 2002:

bush-second-sotu2002.gif

Jimmy Carter, 1978

jimmycarter-sotuaddress1978.gif

John F. Kennedy, 1962

jfksotu2011.gif

Abraham Lincoln, 1862

abrahamlincoln-sotu.gif

George Washington, 1790

georgewashingtonsotu.gif

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/01/the_annual_state_of_the.html


Thank you for printing out this Colorlines.com article. If you liked this article, please make a donation today at colorlines.com/donate to support our ongoing news coverage, investigations and actions to promote solutions.