John Quincy Adams: State of the Union Addresses of John Quincy Adams

3. State of the Union Address: December 4, 1827

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

A revolution of the seasons has nearly been completed since the representatives of the people and States of this Union were last assembled at this place to deliberate and to act upon the common important interests of their constituents. In that interval the never slumbering eye of a wise and beneficent Providence has continued its guardian care over the welfare of our beloved country; the blessing of health has continued generally to prevail throughout the land; the blessing of peace with our brethren of the human race has been enjoyed without interruption; internal quiet has left our fellow citizens in the full enjoyment of all their rights and in the free exercise of all their faculties, to pursue the impulse of their nature and the obligation of their duty in the improvement of their own condition; the productions of the soil, the exchanges of commerce, the vivifying labors of human industry, have combined to mingle in our cup a portion of enjoyment as large and liberal as the indulgence of Heaven has perhaps ever granted to the imperfect state of man upon earth; and as the purest of human felicity consists in its participation with others, it is no small addition to the sum of our national happiness at this time that peace and prosperity prevail to a degree seldom experienced over the whole habitable globe, presenting, though as yet with painful exceptions, a foretaste of that blessed period of promise when the lion shall lie down with the lamb and wars shall be no more.

To preserve, to improve, and to perpetuate the sources and to direct in their most effective channels the streams which contribute to the public weal is the purpose for which Government was instituted. Objects of deep importance to the welfare of the Union are constantly recurring to demand the attention of the Federal Legislature, and they call with accumulated interest at the first meeting of the two Houses after their periodical renovation. To present to their consideration from time to time subjects in which the interests of the nation are most deeply involved, and for the regulation of which the legislative will is alone competent, is a duty prescribed by the Constitution, to the performance of which the first meeting of the new Congress is a period eminently appropriate, and which it is now my purpose to discharge.

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