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Under our form of government, the President occupies a place that has no exact parallel in the government of any other important country. In the last analysis we are governed by public opinion, of which the President is chief exponent. He is the country's spokesman, not merely by custom but by express Constitutional provision and mandate. He is directed to inform Congress from time to time concerning the vital interests of the United States. He is also made the spokesman of the country in its dealings with foreign governments.
The President's Messages to Congress are not merely a form of communication between the executive and the lawmaking authority, but they are intended to give information and guidance to the citizenship. Thus we have a surprising quantity of important historical and governmental material of an authoritative kind in the unbroken series of Presidential messages and addresses, beginning with the first inaugural of George Washington and coming down to the latest official utterance of Woodrow Wilson.
All of our Presidents have been fully responsive to the duty of giving information to Congress and the country concerning the carrying-on of the government and the public concerns of the nation. Not one of them in the list has come seriously short in this regard, although some of them have been more conspicuous than others in point of literary or oratorical ability.
Perhaps no other President has, relatively speaking, accomplished as much of his work through the successful