As President Obama delivers his State of the Union Address this Tuesday, January 20, it is a good time to remember something about how the State of the Union Address came to be. It is derived from a constitutional requirement found in Article 2, Section 3, Clause 1:
He [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 [the President] shall judge necessary and expedient. 
Interestingly, only since 1947 has this address been officially called the State of the Union.  Across the years, its general form has varied greatly, with some addresses being delivered orally and some in written form.
The short video below reviews some highlights of the two-century-old history of the State of the Union Address, focusing particularly on the one delivered in 1942 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You will find this earlier one to be a marked contrast both in spirit and tone to the one delivered by President Obama this year. Enjoy!
*See some of the government-issued posters mentioned in this video here.