United States Presidential State of the Union Addresses, 1913-2008 (ICPSR 24301)

Published: Dec 24, 2008 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Kenneth Janda, Northwestern University; Ronald D. Brunner, University of Colorado


Version V1

This data collection contains all State of the Union addresses from Woodrow Wilson in 1913 to George W. Bush in 2008. Article II, Section 3, of the United States Constitution states that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both House, or either of them . . ." That brief passage has provided the authority for presidents to deliver annual reports to the United States Congress. From the beginning, these reports were known as "Annual Messages." In the first quarter of the twentieth century, they began to be called "State of the Union addresses." George Washington decided to deliver his messages as speeches before a joint session of Congress. His successor, Thomas Jefferson, chose to send written reports. All subsequent presidents sent written messages until, during his first term, Woodrow Wilson convened Congress in 1913 to hear his address. Wilson continued to deliver his addresses in person until 1919, when he became severely ill for the rest of his second term. President Harding resumed the speaking tradition. It remains today and accounts for calling these reports to Congress "addresses" rather than "messages".

Janda, Kenneth, and Brunner, Ronald D. United States Presidential State of the Union Addresses, 1913-2008. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-12-24. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24301.v1

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National Science Foundation (SES82-18813)
Bush Administration (1989-1993)   Bush Administration (George W., 2001-2009)   Bush, George H.W.   Bush, George W.   Carter Administration (1977-1981)   Carter, Jimmy   Clinton Administration (1993-2001)   Clinton, Bill   Eisenhower Administration (1953-1961)   Eisenhower, Dwight D.   Ford Administration (1974-1977)   Ford, Gerald   Harding Administration (1921-1923)   Harding, Warren G.   Hoover Administration (1929-1933)   Hoover, Herbert   Johnson Administration (1963-1969)   Johnson, Lyndon   Kennedy Administration (1961-1963)   Kennedy, John F.   Nixon Administration (1969-1974)   Nixon, Richard   political speeches   presidents   Reagan Administration (1981-1989)   Reagan, Ronald   Roosevelt Administration (1933-1945)   Roosevelt, Franklin D.   State of the Union Address   Truman Administration (1945-1953)   Truman, Harry S.   Wilson Administration (1913-1921)   Wilson, Woodrow
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1913 -- 2008

All State of the Union addresses from 1945 to 1984 were recorded in machine-readable form for processing on a mainframe computer by Ronald D. Brunner of the University of Colorado. He supplied Kenneth Janda with his text files on a computer tape generated from the medium of punchcards, which were used then to enter information into a computer. Because early mainframe computers were designed to compute numbers, not to process written material, natural language text was typically recorded only in uppercase letters, which were simpler to encode, and a limited character set for punctuation. Kenneth Janda supervised the conversion of the speeches from all uppercase to conventional uppercase and lowercase letters, introducing "?" and ";" in the process. Addresses given after 1984 were scanned from news sources and later downloaded from the Internet. The addresses from Wilson to Roosevelt were scanned by Brian Oberhauser as an undergraduate and prepared for inclusion in this data collection.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Janda, Kenneth, and Ronald D. Brunner. United States Presidential State of the Union Addresses, 1913-2008. ICPSR24301-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-12-24. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24301.v1


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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