Due to a special Joint Meeting of Congress taking place in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, the U.S. Capitol will be closed to tours until approximately 12:30 p.m. on that day. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open throughout the day, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and guided tours of the Capitol Visitor Center will be available while the Capitol is closed.
The president is obliged by the Constitution to report to Congress on the state of the Union. In his 1862 message, President Lincoln aimed to rouse and re-inspire Congress after the terrible battle at Antietam in Maryland, the bloodiest conflict of the Civil War. He urged congress to ensure emancipation through a constitutional amendment. In the tradition of the time, this annual message was not read aloud by Lincoln but rather to the Senate by its Secretary and to the House by its Clerk.