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Important O This power point presentation is for educational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material. Please do not post, redistribute or copy without the permission of the American Institute for History Education.
Using State of the Unions and Inaugural Addresses in your classroom These speeches are excellent ways of inserting artificial benchmarks in history to provide peeks into the goals and vision of the United States of America. 2 places to look: The Miller Center for Public Affairs. The American Presidency Project
Why Inaugurals and State of the Unions? They happen (usually) regardless of history. Other speeches have historical reasons fortheir occurrence. While they can be used,we want a bird ’ s eye view of history – popping in the see how things are doing. It ’ s an EXCELLENT way for students to become less chronologically impairedwithout constantly memorizing dates.(more analytic than rote.)
Do I use this to teach the obscure? Not really. I can be modified to do so. The reason I LOVE this resource is because it can introduce the BIG HISTORY that I know I’ll cover. I go into my curriculum and figure out what events are BIG, then I go look in the speeches to see if there is an interesting comment.
WARNING This activity is not used to portrayPresidents as liars or deceptive figures. – It is designed to allow their speeches to serveas windows into administrative aspirations;the tone and mood of the American people;and the various challenges that governmentfaces in enacting their plans.
Here’s how to start... O Begin with the broad topic that you’d like to cover – American prosperity, war, economic troubles, significant social movements. O Then pick the speeches during and around the events so that you get a sense of where the country was. O You can examine foreshadowing, or a lack of seeing what is coming. O Once you pinpoint a speech, take a look outward about 3 years to see how the world was before and after.
WARNING Before Woodrow Wilson; the State of the Union Messages are basically procedural. They are not the same type of speeches that we hear today. YES – THAT MEANS BORING
And stay away from William Henry Harrison! We all know the story of the inauguration and the rain and the death – but go ahead – try to live through the speech. I dare you.
What a difference 4 years makes! James Madison – March 4, 1809James Madison – March 4, 1813 Under the benign influence of our republican institutions, and the maintenance of peace with all nations whilst so many of them were engaged in bloody and wasteful wars, the fruits of a just policy were enjoyed in an unrivaled growth of our faculties and resources On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty on the high seas and the security of an important class of citizens, whose occupations give the proper value to those of every other class.
So... How about teaching the War of 1812 with a human voice instead of the typical introduction? –Look at causes and historical significance through the speech to give students a research topic.
James Monroe – Inaugural Address 3/4/1817 How does he view the American people? Are we True to his word? O The Government has been in the hands of the people. To the people, therefore, and to the faithful and able depositaries of their trust is the credit due. Had the people of the United States been educated in different principles, had they been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have maintained the same steady and consistent career or been blessed with the same success? While, then, the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state everything will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us, then, look to the great cause, and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us by all wise and constitutional measures promote intelligence among the people as the best means of preserving our liberties.
We all know the Monroe Doctrine: O Well – look at his 7 th Annual Message to Congress (1823) O The Four Principles are in that address. O Future Colonization by Any European Powers O Neutrality O The Political System of the Allied Powers is Essentially different. (highlighting the similarity of our political condition and the difference with Europe. O The consequences of Europe not respecting the three above principles.
Andrew Jackson 3/4/1829 It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe toward the Indian tribes within our limits a just and liberal policy, and to give that humane and considerate attention to their rights and their wants which is consistent with the habits of our Government and the feelings of our people.
Have students compare the words with the picture! FASCINATING indeed!
Andrew Jackson’s Second State of the Union (1830) It gives me great pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching a happy consummation. The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to the individual states, and to the Indians themselves. It will relieve the whole state of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those states to advance rapidly in wealth and power.
WOW That second State of the Union is INCREDIBLE!
James Buchanan: Inaugural Address March 4, 1857 O What a happy conception, then, was it for Congress to apply this simple rule, that the will of the majority shall govern, to the settlement of the question of domestic slavery in the Territories. Congress is neither "to legislate slavery into any Territory or State nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." O As a natural consequence, Congress has also prescribed that when the Territory of Kansas shall be admitted as a State it "shall be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission." O A difference of opinion has arisen in regard to the point of time when the people of a Territory shall decide this question for themselves. O This is, happily, a matter of but little practical importance. Besides, it is a judicial question, which legitimately belongs to the Supreme Court of the United States, before whom it is now pending, and will, it is understood, be speedily and finally settled.
Dred Scott v. Sanford O On March 6, 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the explosive majority opinion. Taney ruled that: O Any person descended from Africans, whether slave or free, is not a citizen of the United States, according to the Declaration of Independence. O The Ordinance of 1787 could not confer either freedom or citizenship within the Northwest Territory to non- white individuals. O The provisions of the Act of 1820, known as the Missouri Compromise, were voided as a legislative act, since the act exceeded the powers of Congress, insofar as it attempted to exclude slavery and impart freedom and citizenship to non-white persons in the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase.
Typically - O In the early 1860s – we are covering the Civil War. BUT – if I look at Abraham Lincoln’s State of the Union Addresses – he devotes a significant amount of time to Native Americans – and yes – a ton in 1862.
1862 The Indian tribes upon our frontiers have during the past year manifested a spirit of insubordination, and at several points have engaged in open hostilities against the white settlements in their vicinity. The tribes occupying the Indian country south of Kansas renounced their allegiance to the United States and entered into treaties with the insurgents. Those who remained loyal to the United States were driven from the country. The chief of the Cherokees has visited this city for the purpose of restoring the former relations of the tribe with the United States. He alleges that they were constrained by superior force to enter into treaties with the insurgents, and that the United States neglected to furnish the protection which their treaty stipulations required.
More 1862 In the month of August last the Sioux Indians in Minnesota attacked the settlements in their vicinity with extreme ferocity, killing indiscriminately men, women, and children. This attack was wholly unexpected, and therefore no means of defense had been prodded. It is estimated that not less than 800 persons were killed by the Indians, and a large amount of property was destroyed. How this outbreak was induced is not definitely known, and suspicions, which may be unjust, need not to be stated. Information was received by the Indian Bureau from different sources about the time hostilities were commenced that a simultaneous attack was to be made upon the white settlements by all the tribes between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The State of Minnesota has suffered great injury from this Indian war. A large portion of her territory has been depopulated, and a severe loss has been sustained by the destruction of property. The people of that State manifest much anxiety for the removal of the tribes beyond the limits of the State as a guaranty against future hostilities. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs will furnish full details. I submit for your especial consideration whether our Indian system shall not be remodeled. Many wise and good men have impressed me with the belief that this can be profitably done.
1863 The condition of the several organized Territories is generally satisfactory, although Indian disturbances in New Mexico have not been entirely suppressed. The mineral resources of Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico, and Arizona are proving far richer than has been heretofore understood. I lay before you a communication on this subject from the governor of New Mexico. I again submit to your consideration the expediency of establishing a system for the encouragement of immigration. Although this source of national wealth and strength is again flowing with greater freedom than for several years before the insurrection occurred, there is still a great deficiency of laborers in every field of industry, especially in agriculture and in our mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals. While the demand for labor is much increased here, tens of thousands of persons, destitute of remunerative occupation, are thronging our foreign consulates and offering to emigrate to the United States if essential, but very cheap, assistance can be afforded them. It is easy to see that under the sharp discipline of civil war the nation
Abraham Lincoln Fourth Annual Message December 6, 1864 At the last session of Congress a proposed amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States passed the Senate, but failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives. Although the present is the same Congress and nearly the same members, and without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session. Of course the abstract question is not changed; but in intervening election shows almost certainly that the next Congress will pass the measure if this does not. Hence there is only a question of time as to when the proposed amendment will go to the States for their action. And as it is to so go at all events, may we not agree that the sooner the better? It is not claimed that the election has imposed a duty on members to change their views or their votes any further than, as an additional element to be considered, their judgment may be affected by it. It is the voice of the people now for the first time heard upon the question.
Civil Rights But America stands for progress in human rights as well as economic affairs, and a strong America requires the assurance of full and equal rights to all its citizens, of any race or of any color. This administration has shown as never before how much could be done through the full use of Executive powers--through the enforcement of laws already passed by the Congress-through persuasion, negotiation, and litigation, to secure the constitutional rights. John F. Kennedy Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union. January 11, 1962
Let’s ask the same questions. What is happening in American Historywith regard to “Civil Rights” when Lincolnis giving this speech? What is Lincoln saying about therelationship between the Executive andLegislative Branches?
Ulysses S. Grant: First Inaugural Address March 4, 1869 The proper treatment of the original occupants of this land – the Indians – is deserving of careful study. I will favor any course toward them which tends to their civilization and ultimate citizenship.
Ulysses S. Grant: Second Inaugural Address March 4, 1873 …and, by a humane course, to bring the aborigines of the country under the benign influences of education and civilization. It is either this or war of extermination: Wars of extermination, engaged in by people pursuing commerce and all industrial pursuits, are expensive even against the weakest people, and are demoralizing and wicked. Our superiority of strength and advantages of civilization should make us lenient toward the Indian. The wrong inflicted upon him should be taken into account and the balance placed to his credit. The moral view of the question should be considered and the question asked, Can not the Indian be made a useful and productive member of society by proper teaching and treatment? If the effort is made in good faith, we will stand better before the civilized nations of the earth and in our own consciences for having made it.
Rutherford B. Hayes First Annual Message December 3, 1877 The report of the Secretary of War shows that the Army has been actively employed during the year, and has rendered very important service in suppressing hostilities in the Indian country and in preserving peace and protecting life and property in the interior as well as along the Mexican border. A long and arduous campaign has been prosecuted, with final complete success, against a portion of the Nez Perce' tribe of Indians. A full account of this campaign will be found in the report of the General of the Army. It will be seen that in its course several severe battles were fought, in which a number of gallant officers and men lost their lives. I join with the Secretary of War and the General of the Army in awarding to the officers and men employed in the long and toilsome pursuit and in the final capture of these Indians the honor and praise which are so justly their due.
The Chase of the Nez Perce "Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
Grover Cleveland: First Inaugural Address March 4, 1885 The conscience of the people demands that the Indians within our boundaries shall be fairly and honestly treated as wards of the Government and their education and civilization promoted with a view to their ultimate citizenship...
Prosperity: the hubris of prosperity Silent Cal Bill Clinton
American Prosperity Calvin Coolidge Sixth Annual Message December 4, 1928 Bill Clinton, Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the State of the Union January 27, 2000 The country is in the midst of an era of prosperity more extensive and of peace more permanent than it has ever before experienced. But, having reached this position, we should not fail to comprehend that it can easily be lost. It needs more effort for its support than the less exalted places of the world We are fortunate to be alive at this moment in history. Never before has our Nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats. Never before have we had such a blessed opportunity.
The Great Depression/ New Deal (Which I guess isn’t that new anymore)
Calvin Coolidge Sixth Annual Message December 4, 1928 No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time. In the domestic field there is tranquility and contentment, harmonious relations between management and wage earner, freedom from industrial strife, and the highest record of years of prosperity. In the foreign field there is peace, the good will which comes from mutual understanding, and the knowledge that the problems which a short time ago appeared so ominous are yielding to the touch of manifest friendship. The great wealth created by our enterprise and industry, and saved by our economy, has had the widest distribution among our own people, and has gone out in a steady stream to serve the charity and the business of the world. The requirements of existence have passed beyond the standard of necessity into the region of luxury. Enlarging production is consumed by an increasing demand at home and ail expanding commerce abroad. The country can regard the present with satisfaction and anticipate the future with optimism.
Anchor this speech to a large event What comes next? Examine the events during the Coolidge Administration that caused the Great Depression? –It is a human gateway into history.
The Stock Market Crash O October, 1929 O What do we know? O What were the causes? O What were the immediate effects of the crash? O I would ask my students some basic leading questions: O Around when did it occur? O Were there significant events before and after that we can easily identify? O Who was the President OR are there any Presidents that you associate with this event?
Herbert Hoover State of the Union December 3, 1929 Fortunately, the Federal reserve system had taken measures to strengthen the position against the day when speculation would break, which together with the strong position of the banks has carried the whole credit system through the crisis without impairment. The capital which has been hitherto absorbed in stock-market loans for speculative purposes is now returning to the normal channels of business. There has been no inflation in the prices of commodities; there has been no undue accumulation of goods, and foreign trade has expanded to a magnitude which exerts a steadying influence upon activity in industry and employment.
Well – If my students did some digging... –In fact – the Dow Jones Industrial Average did see partial improvement in November and December; possibly accounting for a rosier outlook than we would have imagined with the gift of knowing what comes next!
Give FDR Goalpoasts: Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1 st Inaugural Address: 3/4/33 Franklin Delano Roosevelt 2 nd Inaugural Address: 1/20/37 O Finally, in our progress, toward a resumption of work we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be a provision for an adequate but sound currency. O To hold to progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already rests the persistence of our progressive purpose. Let us ask again: Have we reached the goal of our vision of that fourth day of March 1933? Have we found our happy valley?
Just a quick note about his first administration: The State of the Union in 1935 is very short and concentrates almost solely on domestic issues. 1936 begins with a rather lengthy assessment of international affairs and then delves into domestic economic and employment policy. –Even without knowing the specifics – students can figure out shifting priorities.
The “Spiral” of Uncertain Times Franklin D. Roosevelt 3 - Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union January 6, 1941 George Bush, Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on Administration Goals February 27, 2001 The first phase of the invasion of this Hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and their dupes- and great numbers of them are already here, and in Latin America. As long as the aggressor nations maintain the offensive, they-not we—will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack. That is why the future of all the American Republics is today in serious danger. That is why this Annual Message to the Congress is unique in our history. O Our Nation also needs a clear strategy to confront the threats of the 21st century, threats that are more widespread and less certain. They range from terrorists who threaten with bombs to tyrants in rogue nations intent upon developing weapons of mass destruction. To protect our own people, our allies, and friends, we must develop and we must deploy effective missile defenses. O A strong America is the world's best hope for peace and freedom.
Listen closely and pay attention to the date it was recorded!!! HMMMM – Multimedia Addition
You can even compare a president within the term of office. Franklin D. Roosevelt, State of the Union Address. January 6, 1942 Exactly one year ago today I said to this Congress: "When the dictators... are ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war on our part.... They—not we—will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack." We now know their choice of the time: a peaceful Sunday morning— December 7, 1941. We know their choice of the place: an American outpost in the Pacific. We know their choice of the method: the method of Hitler himself.
Harry S. Truman State of the Union January 21,1946 O “In his last Message on the State of the Union, delivered one year ago, President Roosevelt said: O “This new year of 1945 can be the greatest year of achievement in human history. O 1945 can see the final ending of the Nazi-Fascist reign of terror in Europe. O 1945 can see the closing in of the forces of retribution about the center of the malignant power of imperialist Japan. O Most important of all – 1945 can and must see the substantial beginning of the organization of world peace.
Harry S. Truman State of the Union: January 21, 1946 O I believe it possible that effective means can be developed through the United Nations Organization to prohibit, outlaw, and prevent the use of atomic energy for destructive purposes. O The power which the United States demonstrated during the war is the fact that underlies every phase of our relations with other countries. We cannot escape the responsibility which it thrusts What we think, plan, say, and do is of profound significance to the future of every corner of the world.
Continued: O Our Nation has always been a land of great opportunities for those people of the world who sought to become part of us. Now we have become a land of great responsibilities to all the people of all the world. We must squarely recognize and face the fact of those responsibilities. Advances in science, in communication, in transportation, have compressed the world into a community. The economic and political health of each member of the world community bears directly on the economic and political health of each other member.
No More Tears? Andrew Johnson First Annual Message December 4, 1865 Lyndon B. Johnson Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union. January 8, 1964 O It is one of the greatest acts on record to have brought 4,000,000 people into freedom. The career of free industry must be fairly opened to them, and then their future prosperity and condition must, after all, rest mainly on themselves. If they fail, and so perish away, let us be careful that the failure shall not be attributable to any denial of justice. In all that relates to the destiny of the freedmen we need not be too anxious to read the future; many incidents which, from a speculative point of view, might raise alarm will quietly settle themselves. Now that slavery is at an end, or near its end, the greatness of its evil in the point of view of public economy becomes more and more apparent. Slavery was essentially a monopoly of labor, and as such locked the States where it prevailed against the incoming of free industry. Let me make one principle of this administration abundantly clear: All of these increased opportunities--in employment, in education, in housing, and in every field-must be open to Americans of every color. As far as the writ of Federal law will run, we must abolish not some, but all racial discrimination. For this is not merely an economic issue, or a social, political, or international issue. It is a moral issue, and it must be met by the passage this session of the bill now pending in the House.
What about tracing Civil Rights chronologically? Truman Eisenhower Kennedy Johnson Use the Inaugurals and State of the Unions around the passing of key legislation or events to get a sense of how things play out.
What about a non-textual way? Cartoon from December 19, 1929
Find a cartoon just before or after these speeches are given How are people reacting to the President and his policies? What are the pitfalls of using the cartoons? –(not to say don’t use them – but make sure the students get the bias and all that good rich information fit for a top-notch discussion) –You’ve seen examples of this subtly throughout the presentation.
Yes Virginia, there are videos! The Miller Center for Public Affairs (located at the University of Virginia) has amassed a TON of video and audio files of these speeches. Some with that neat bouncing ball technology –Inaugurals, State of the Unions, White House Tapes, policy speeches, etc. –http://millercenter.org/scrippshttp://millercenter.org/scripps –Credit to Dr. Marc Selverstone for this incredible resource.
What about Extension activites? The American Presidency Project also contains the Party Platforms: –Has the President remained true to the Party Platform? –What is the position of the opposite party? Is there compromise in the actual politics? Who, What, When, Where, Why? (How)
FURTHER EXTENSION How about matching a President’s Speeches to their Vetoes to see if they have held to their beliefs? Social History through Speeches: In contemporary speeches, guests have been highlighted. Ask students to find out about these people and do research into their S.P.E.C.ifics and link them to the trending American values.
How can we alter this strategy to fit our classrooms? O Modifications are where it’s at!!! O A Textbook Scavenger Hunt O Elementary teachers? O Handing your students a lengthy speech probably isn’t something that you’re going to do... O Based on the Presidents you teach: O stick to the inaugurals. O Use excerpts and link them to the big-ticket events of the presidency O What type of activities can we develop????
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