In a recent op-ed for political magazine The Hill, Professor Glenn Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and Dean of Continuing Education and Summer Session, discusses the historical tranistion of the political use of the State of the Union address.
"Abraham Lincoln’s SOTU addresses are a model of the now endangered genre," Altschuler writes. "Delivered during the Civil War, his SOTU reports to Congress provided a reflection on values; an assessment of past accomplishments; an articulation of policy goals for the future; and call for deliberation between the legislative and executive branches of government.
"In December 1861, Lincoln took note of 'a disloyal portion of the American people,' but did not indict pro-secessionist Democrats in the north or the south. Three years later, Lincoln referred to the 'impugning of motives and much heated controversy' in the recent election, but declared that 'a great majority of the opposing party' were actuated by a desire 'to maintain the integrity of the Union.” He made no other references to Democrats."
Read the full article on The Hill's website.