Merkel accepts 'rare honor' to address Congress

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When German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week accepted an invitation to address a joint session of the Senate and U.S. House on Nov. 3. Her spokesman, Thomas Steg, called it a "rare honor for foreign guests of state to be able to speak before the Senate and the House of Representatives.”

He added, "Of Germany's chancellors only Konrad Adenauer, who spoke to both houses in May 1957, has had this privilege."

That got us thinking: how many heads of state addressed a joint session of Congress? Is it that rare?

The Office of the House Historian provided On Politics with a list of foreign heads of state that have addressed Congress in the past. The total number: 180.

It all began in 1824. According to the House historian's office: “The first notable address was by Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de LaFayette in 1824. LaFayette served in the Continental Army under General Washington during the American Revolution and was credited for helping to train the Continentals in European war fighting and strategy. In 1824, President James Monroe invited Lafayette to the United States as the ‘nation's guest.’ During the trip, he visited all of the then twenty-four states. Although the Senate had held a formal reception for him 9 December 1824, he addressed Congress on 10 December 1824.”

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