Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union --1881

A link to Chester Arthur's State of the Union report in December of 1881 was put on Twitter by someone.  It is pretty interesting in a compare and contrast way to say Obama's address last night.  I don't think you need to read it--I haven't--but rather skim through it to get its flavor.  Most noteably it isn't an especially political document but rather a report on the current state of the union (I know, how shocking! It seems that there was at least the possibility then that something in politics would actually conform to what it was reputed to be.  What primitives.)

Arthur's State of the Union is extraordinarily expansive in reporting on foreign affairs when of course America's position wasn't nearly as central as it is today, and the ending where he details the government's revenues and expenses for the fiscal year made me smile as I've thought something like this should be on the front page of every newspaper once a year.  Note, the calamity that opens the report is the assassination of James Garfield.  You probably knew that, but I had to look it up.

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