Research paper topic: State of the Union Address

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union Address. In the speech the president listed the accomplishments of his presidency so far and outlined his agenda for the next two years. According to the president, the nation had overcome years of war and economic crisis and is now ready to “turn the page.”

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address. (Credit: Larry Downing, Reuters)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) watch as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address. (Credit: Larry Downing, Reuters)

Future endeavors aimed at reviving the middle class include continuing efforts to raise the minimum wage, achieving gender pay equity, and closing the income inequality gap. Political history and strategy are always evolving, making them good research paper topics.

Key points

According to the president, the state of the union is strong. Mashable.com recapped the speech in a January 21, 2015, article, “#SOTU 2015.”

The article included a word count of mentions relating to topics of interest. Key topics covered by the president were:

  • Economy and jobs
  • Families
  • College
  • Women
  • Pay

The president proposed that taxes be increased for the richest Americans by raising the tax on capital gains. This would mean taxing investments and large inheritances. In an effort to ease the tax burden on the middle class, the president proposed an increase in the $500 annual tax credit for workers and an increase in the childcare tax credit.

Other topics that deserve attention according to President Obama included:

  • Cyber security: a law requiring companies to share more information about cyber attacks including when they themselves have been hacked
  • Climate change: the president urged regulation of greenhouse gases to protect the environment
  • Terrorism: the president wants coordinated efforts to fight groups such as ISIS

The president is likely to encounter much opposition from the Republican controlled Congress. However, he spoke with an energy and determination that indicated he is ready to stand up for his ideas.

State of the Union Address

Since 1913 there have been 93 State of the Union speeches delivered by U.S. presidents. The basis for the speech was established in Article II, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

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.”

More State of the Union facts can be found at History.House.gov, “State of the Union Address.” For example, the address has gone through several name changes since its inception. Originally referred to as the “Annual Message,” it became known as the “state of the union” in 1942. Since 1947 it has been officially referred to as the State of the Union Address.

Originally the speech was written and delivered to Congress. Over the years technological advances have made it possible for the president to personally speak and reach a larger audience. Calvin Coolidge delivered the first radio address in 1923. President Harry Truman was first to address the nation on television in 1947. President George W. Bush delivered the first live webcast of the State of the Union Address in 2002.

Research paper topics on politics

A good place to go when researching politics and government issues is Questia. You’ll find millions of full-text books, articles, academic journals, newspapers, magazines and encyclopedias to help you research and write your term papers.

One example of a resource at Questia is the article, “State of the Union: The Crafting of a Speech,” published in The Christian Science Monitor, January 24, 2011.

This article was written by Robert A. Lehrman, former chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore in anticipation of President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address. In the article Lehrman provides tidbits of history behind the State of the Union Address and how it is created.

In 1913, after winning the Presidency in a race against Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson decided to deliver the Annual Message in person with movie cameras on hand to record the event. It was a strategy designed to overcome the impression that Wilson had only won against Roosevelt because William Howard Taft had split the Republican vote.

“He not only spoke; he started with a joke. ‘I am very glad…,’ he said, ‘to verify for myself the impression that the President of the United States is a person.’ The next day’s Post headline made it clear he’d made the right decision,” Lehrman said.

The speech was such a hit that ever since presidents have sought to include some humor in their address.

You can read more about politics and government on Questia.

Did you watch the State of the Union Address? What did you think of it? Tell us in the comments.

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