"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government;... whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights." --Thomas Jefferson, 1789
This is from the The American Presidency Project:
State of the Union Messages to the Congress are mandated by Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution which states,"He 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;"The American Presidency Project website offers all of the State of the Union addresses given.. and it's interesting reading for sure.
Among the many precedents established by George Washington was clarification of the phrase "from time to time." Since 1790 State of the Union messages have been delivered regularly at approximately 1 year intervals.
Like him or not: Tune in tonight - 9:00 PM - by TV or radio and hear what President Bush has to say. It'll be his last one. The next president to give this speech will be up to you and me.