State of the Union: Selected Annual Presidential Addresses to Congress, from George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Barack Obama, and Others

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Red and Black Publishers, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
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Selected State of the Union speeches from George Washington to Barack Obama. The War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War, Vietnam and Civil Rights, the end of the Cold War, the First Persian Gulf War, 9-11 and the Second Persian Gulf War, and the 2008 Economic Meltdown.

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About the author (2009)

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader and a state legislator in the 1830s. After a series of highly publicized debates in 1858, during which Lincoln spoke out against the expansion of slavery, he lost the U.S. Senate race to his archrival, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. In 1860, Lincoln secured a Republican Party presidential nomination. His presidential election resulted in seven southern slave states to form the Confederacy before he took the office on March 4, 1861. Lincoln is regarded by historians as one of the greatest United States presidents. During his term, he created the system of national banks with the National Banking Act. This provided a strong financial network in the country. It also established a national currency. In 1862, Congress created, with Lincoln's approval, the Department of Agriculture. Lincoln was able to appoint five Supreme Court justices during his time as president. He is largely responsible for instituting the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of 1863 became an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction. On April 15, 1865, six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding General Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated at the Ford Theater by John Wilkes Booth, a noted actor and Confederate spy from Maryland. Lincoln was married to Mary Todd Lincoln on November 4, 1842. They had four children, all boys. Only the oldest, Robert, survived to adulthood. After Lincoln's death, Robert committed his mother, Mary, for a short time. The death of their children had a profound effect on the mental health of both Lincoln and his wife.

Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois on February 6, 1911. He worked his way through Eureka College, where he studied economics and sociology. After graduation, he became a radio sports announcer for WOC, a small radio station in Davenport, Iowa. Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserve. An agent for Warner Brothers "discovered" him in Los Angeles in 1937 and offered him a seven-year contract. He played George Gipp in his most acclaimed film, "Knute Rockne -- All American" in 1940. In 1942, the Army Air Force called him to active duty and assigned him to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California, where he made over 400 training films. On December 9, 1945, he was discharged. During the next two decades he appeared in 53 films. As president of the Screen Actors Guild, he became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry and his political views shifted from liberal to conservative. He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism. In 1966, he was elected Governor of California and was re-elected in 1970. For several months after his gubernatorial term ended in 1974, he wrote a syndicated newspaper column and provided commentaries on radio stations across the country. On November 20, 1975, Reagan announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. He lost the party's nomination, but his showing laid the groundwork for the 1980 election. After winning the party's nomination in 1980, he chose George Bush as his running mate. Reagan won the election and was President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression. In 1994, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died on June 5, 2004.

President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He graduated with a degree in political science from Columbia University in 1983. Before moving to Chicago in 1985, he worked at Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group. In Chicago, he worked as a community organizer with low-income residents. He entered Harvard Law School in 1988, was elected editor of the Harvard Law Review in 1990, and graduated in 1991. After graduating law school, he returned to Chicago and became a civil rights lawyer. He also taught at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. In 1997, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate and served until 2004. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2005, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2007, he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. On November 4, 2008, Obama defeated John McCain in the general election and became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. He wrote Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance in 1995 and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream in 2006. He won Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards in 2006 and 2008 for abridged audiobook versions of both books. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. His book Of Thee I Sing came out in 2010.

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