What in the world is happening? Part 1 of 3


… These, fellow citizens, are the principal matters which I have thought it necessary at this time to communicate for your consideration & attention. some others will be laid before you in the course of the session.

Source: Thomas Jefferson “State of the Union Address” (delivered in writing) to the United States Congress, 8 November 1804 

Patrick Lee’s Explanation

The Constitution (Art. II, Sect. 3) requires the President to report to Congress from “time to time” on the “State of the Union.” It never was a yearly requirement but has evolved into what we know as the annual “State of the Union Address,” when the President makes a report to the opening session of Congress. In the early 1800s, Congress traditionally convened in late fall for four to five months.

Jefferson delivered his reports in writing. This lengthy account included his thoughts on these subjects:

  1. War in Europe and its affect on America
  2. Private U.S. citizens preying on the shipping of other nations
  3. Misunderstanding with Spain regarding the Bay of Mobile
  4. Satisfying France on terms of U.S. purchase of Louisiana
  5. Diplomatic relations with European nations
  6. Success against the Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean
  7. Establishing the new government in Louisiana
  8. Relations with the Indians
  9. Expanding the navy
  10. Federal receipts, expenses & debt (Part 2 of 3)
  11. Actions Congress might take on its own (Part 3 of 3)

On only #2 and #7 did the President invite Congress’ action. All the rest fell within his Constitutional duty, either in foreign affairs or executing the law already established by the Congress.

“It was impressive to notice the entire banquet hall silent with everyone,
including the hotel banquet staff,
paying rapt attention to your portrayal.”
IT Administrative Coordinator, Missouri Department of Conservation
Mr. Jefferson will hold your audience spell-bound.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

Self-Educated American, ‘Thomas Jefferson Editor,’ Patrick Lee is a professional speaker, actor and writer. Since 1990, he has inspired, entertained and educated audiences from Maine to Hawaii with his authentic, first person leadership presentations as President Thomas Jefferson, Frontiersman Daniel Boone, and Lewis & Clark Co-Leader William Clark. He also appears as himself, The Hopeful Humorist™, with a program of motivational humor, patriotism and inspiration.

His business address is ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com.