Julian Zelizer: Obama, Think Big for State of the UnionRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Julian Zelizer, CNN, Barack Obama, State of the Union, presidential speeches
Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and of "Governing America."
(CNN) -- President Obama is set to deliver the first State of the Union Address of his new term. On Tuesday evening, he will step before a joint session of Congress and a nation in difficult times.
Unemployment rose in January to 7.9%. There are signs of economic progress, but millions of Americans are struggling to find a job while others are desperate to keep the one they have.
Other kinds of economic challenges face many people. The Pew Research Center recently released a study showing the growing number of adults who are struggling to support grown children and their parents, the "Sandwich Generation" as they are called....
It may be tempting to list a series of measures Obama wants Congress to pass, but the president should use this speech to do something more than provide a laundry list, and the historical record offers some guidance about how.
The speech can offer a vision. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt gave one of the most historic State of the Union addresses when he outlined the Four Freedoms. He delivered his speech on the brink of America becoming involved in World War II. With Europe and Asia in the middle of a major military crisis, FDR defined the four freedoms that he believed should be the foundation of the international system: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God, the freedom from want and, finally, the freedom from fear....
comments powered by Disqus
- ‘Lock me up’: The last man to be arrested for defying Congress during an investigation
- Faith made Harriet Tubman fearless as she rescued slaves
- A Turkish dam is about to flood one of the oldest continuously settled places on Earth
- Soldiers got Medals of Honor for massacring Native Americans. This bill would take them away.
- UNC Will Give Silent Sam to a Confederate Group — Along With a $2.5-Million Trust