Oath of office of the President of the United States
The oath of office of the President of the United States is an oath or affirmation required by the United States Constitution before the President begins the execution of the office. The wording is specified in Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:— “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Administrator of the oath
While the Constitution does not mandate that anyone in particular should administer the oath, the oath is typically administered by the Chief Justice, but sometimes by another federal or state judge (George Washington was first sworn in by Robert Livingston, the chancellor of the State of New York in 1789, while Calvin Coolidge was first sworn in by his father, a Justice of the Peace and a Vermont notary public in 1923). By convention, incoming Presidents raise their right hand and place the left on a Bible or other book while taking the oath of office.
William R. King is the only executive official sworn into office on foreign soil. By special act of Congress, he was allowed to take his oath of the office of the Vice President on March 24, 1853 in Cuba, where he had gone because of his poor health. He died 25 days later.
From 1789 through 2013, the swearing-in has been administered by 15 Chief Justices, one Associate Justice, three federal judges, two New York state judges, and one notary public. To date the only person to swear in a president who was not a judge was John Calvin Coolidge, Sr., Calvin Coolidge's father, a notary whose home the then-Vice President was visiting in 1923 when he learned of the death of President Warren G. Harding.
Option of taking an oath or an affirmation
The Constitutional language gives the option to "affirm" instead of "swear". While the reasons for this are not documented, it may relate to certain Christians, including Quakers, who apply this scripture literally: "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (James 5:12, KJV). Franklin Pierce was the only president known to use the word "affirm" rather than "swear." Herbert Hoover is often listed to have used "affirm" as well, owing to his being a Quaker, but a newsreel taken of the ceremony indicates that the words used were "solemnly swear." Richard Nixon, who was also a Quaker, also swore, rather than affirm.
Forms of administering the oath
There have been two forms of administering, and taking, the oath of office.
Under the first form, now in disuse, the administrator articulated the constitutional oath in the form of a question, and modifying the wording from the first to the second person, as in, "Do you George Washington solemnly swear ..." and then requested an affirmation. At that point a response of "I do" or "I swear" completed the oath.
It is believed that this was the common procedure at least until the early 20th century. In 1881, the New York Times article covering the swearing in of Chester A. Arthur, reported that he responded to the question of accepting the oath with the words, "I will, so help me God." In 1929, Time magazine reported that the Chief Justice began the oath uttering, "You, Herbert Hoover, do you solemnly swear ...", Hoover replied with a simple "I do".
Under the second, and current form, the administrator articulates the oath in the affirmative, and in the first person, so that the President takes the oath by repeating it verbatim.
Many times the President-elect's name is added after the "I"; for example, "I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, do ... " Lyndon B. Johnson did not add his name when swearing his first oath of office after Kennedy's death since he was never asked to say his name; there is evidence that in all other inaugurations since Franklin D. Roosevelt's first, the name of the president was added to the oath.
Use of Bibles
Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901. Barack Obama, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, and Richard Nixon (also a Quaker) swore the oath on two Bibles. John Quincy Adams swore on a book of law, with the intention that he was swearing on the constitution. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on a Roman Catholic missal on Air Force One. Washington kissed the Bible afterwards, and subsequent presidents followed suit, up to and including Harry Truman, but Dwight D. Eisenhower broke that tradition by saying his own prayer instead of kissing the Bible.
- In 1909, when President William Howard Taft was sworn in, Chief Justice Melville Fuller misquoted the oath, but the error was not publicized at the time. The mistake was similar to the one Taft himself would make twenty years later when swearing in President Hoover. Recalling the incident, Taft wrote, "When I was sworn in as President by Chief Justice Fuller, he made a similar slip," and added, "but in those days when there was no radio, it was observed only in the Senate chamber where I took the oath."
- In 1929, Taft, later the Chief Justice, garbled the oath when he swore in President Herbert Hoover using the words "preserve, maintain, and defend the Constitution", instead of "preserve, protect, and defend". The error was picked up by schoolgirl Helen Terwilliger on the radio. Taft eventually acknowledged his error, but did not think it was important, and Hoover did not retake the oath. In Taft's view, his departure from the text did not invalidate the oath.
- In 1941, Charles Elmore Cropley, the clerk of the Supreme Court who held the Bible for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third inauguration dropped the Bible after the oath was given. Photos detailing the mishap filled a full page of Life magazine the next week.
- In 1945, President Harry S Truman's bare initial caused an unusual slip when he first became president and took the oath. At a meeting in the Cabinet Room, Chief Justice Harlan Stone, apparently mistaken about the meaning of Truman's middle initial (which is not an abbreviation but rather the whole middle name in itself), began reading the oath by saying "I, Harry Shipp Truman...", Truman responded: "I, Harry S Truman,..."
- In 1965, Chief Justice Earl Warren prompted Lyndon Johnson to say, "the Office of the Presidency of the United States".
- In 2009, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, while administering the oath to Barack Obama, incorrectly recited part of the oath. Roberts prompted, "That I will execute the Office of President to the United States faithfully." Obama stopped at "execute," and waited for Roberts to correct himself. Roberts, after a false start, then followed Obama's "execute" with "faithfully", which results in "execute faithfully," which is also incorrect. Obama then repeated Roberts' initial, incorrect prompt, with the word "faithfully" after "United States." The oath was re-administered the next day by Roberts at the White House.
Retaking the oath of office
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Obama retakes the Oath of office of the President of the United States at 19:35 EST, January 21, 2009 (00:35 UTC, January 22, 2009) (Duration: 54 seconds).
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Seven presidents have repeated their oath of office, for different reasons:
- Presidents Chester A. Arthur (1881) and Calvin Coolidge (1923) took their first oath in a private venue (their residences), in the middle of the night, immediately after being notified of the death of a predecessor (James A. Garfield and Warren G. Harding, respectively). They later retook the oath after returning to Washington. In the case of Coolidge, there was an additional doubt whether an oath administered by a public notary (Coolidge's father) was valid.
- Five presidents took a private oath when Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday, and then a second oath in a scheduled public ceremony on the next day (Monday): Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877 (who actually took the private oath on March 3, a Saturday, one day before his term started), Woodrow Wilson in 1917, Dwight Eisenhower in 1957, Ronald Reagan in 1985, and Barack Obama in 2013.
- On January 21, 2009, Chief Justice Roberts administered the presidential oath a second time to Barack Obama "out of an abundance of caution," according to the White House, because, when the oath was administered to President Obama the first time in the public inauguration ceremony, the word "faithfully" was misplaced. The second oath was administered in a simple, private ceremony in the Map Room of the White House. Obama's oath-retaking differed from all his predecessors' in that the private ceremony happened after the public one. Obama's two oaths in 2009 and his two oaths in 2013 tie him with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, each taking the oath four times, the most ever recorded.
"So help me God"
It is uncertain how many Presidents used a Bible or added the words "So help me God" at the end of the oath, or in their acceptance of the oath, as neither is required by law; unlike many other federal oaths which do include the phrase "So help me God." There is currently debate as to whether or not George Washington, the first president, added the phrase to his acceptance of the oath. No contemporary sources mention Washington as adding a religious codicil to his acceptance.
The historical debate over who first used "So help me God," is marred by ignoring the two forms of giving the oath. The first, now in disuse, is when the administrator articulates the constitutional oath in the form of a question, as in, "Do you George Washington solemnly swear...", requesting an affirmation. At that point a response of "I do" or "I swear" completes the oath. Without verbatim transcripts, the scant existing evidence shows this was the common procedure at least until the early 20th century. In 1865 the Sacramento Daily Union covered the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln finished his oath with "So help me God," and he kissed the bible. In 1881, the New York Times article covering the swearing in of Chester A. Arthur, reported that he responded to the question of accepting the oath with the words, "I will, so help me God". In 1929, Time magazine reported that the Chief Justice began the oath uttering, "You, Herbert Hoover, do you solemnly swear..." Hoover replied with a simple "I do".
A Federal lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia by Michael Newdow on December 30, 2008 contended the second, current form of administration, where both the Chief Justice and the President articulate the oath, appending "So help me God", to be a breach of the Constitutional instructions. The suit distinguishes between the words spoken by the administrator, which must conform to the exact 35 words of the Constitution, and the President, who has a right to add a personal prayer, such as "So help me God."
Chief Justice Roberts' reply was that his "prompting" for these four extra-constitutional words were to be recited "after" the oath of office, and not as a part of the oath as claimed in the suit. After rendering the oath to President Barack Obama, Roberts prompted with a question "So help you God?", to which the President responded, "So help me God."
The first Congress explicitly prescribed the phrase "So help me God" in oaths under the Judiciary Act of 1789 for all U.S. judges and officers other than the President. It was prescribed even earlier under the various first state constitutions as well as by the Second Continental Congress in 1776. Although the phrase is mandatory in these oaths, the said Act also allows for the option that the phrase be omitted by the officer, in which case it would be called an affirmation instead of an oath: "Which words, so help me God, shall be omitted in all cases where an affirmation is admitted instead of an oath." In contrast, the oath of the President is the only oath specified in the Constitution. It does not include the closing phrase "So help me God", and it also allows for the optional form of an affirmation which is not considered an oath. In practice, however, most Presidents, at least during the last century, have opted to take the oath (rather than an affirmation), to use a Bible to do so, and also to close the oath with the customary phrase.
The earliest known source indicating Washington added "So help me God" to his acceptance, not to the oath, is attributed to Washington Irving, aged six at the time of the inauguration, and first appears 65 years after the event.
The only contemporary account that repeats the oath in full, a report from the French consul, Comte de Moustier, states only the constitutional oath, without reference to Washington's adding "So Help Me God" to his acceptance.
Evidence is lacking to support the claim that Presidents between Washington and Abraham Lincoln used the phrase "So help me God." A contemporaneous newspaper account of Lincoln's 1865 inauguration states that Lincoln appended the phrase "So help me God" to the oath. This newspaper report is followed by another account, provided later in the same year after Lincoln's death (April 15, 1865), that Lincoln said "So help me God" during his oath. The evidence pertaining to the 1865 inauguration is much stronger than that pertaining to Lincoln's 1861 use of the phrase. Several sources claim that Lincoln said "So help me God" at his 1861 inauguration, yet these sources were not contemporaneous to the event. During the speech, Lincoln stated that his oath was "registered in Heaven", something some have taken as indicating he likely uttered the phrase "So help me God." Conversely, there was a claim made by A.M. Milligan (a Presbyterian minister who advocated for an official Christian U.S. government) that letters were sent to Abraham Lincoln asking him to swear to God during his inaugurations, and Lincoln allegedly wrote back saying that God's name was not in the Constitution, and he could not depart from the letter of that instrument.
Other than the president of the U.S., many politicians (including Jefferson Davis, sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in 1861) used the phrase "So help me God" when taking their oaths. Likewise, all federal judges and executive officers were required as early as 1789 by statute to include the phrase unless they affirmed, in which case the phrase must be omitted.
Given that nearly every President-elect since President Franklin D. Roosevelt has recited the codicil, it is likely that the majority of presidents-elect have uttered the phrase (as well as some vice presidents, while taking their oaths). However, as President Theodore Roosevelt chose to conclude his oath with the phrase "And thus I swear," it seems that this current of tradition was not overwhelmingly strong even as recently as the turn of the twentieth century. Only Franklin Pierce has chosen to affirm rather than swear. It is often asserted that Herbert Hoover also affirmed, because he was a Quaker, but newspaper reports before his inauguration state his intention to swear rather than affirm.
List of oath takings
The oath of office of the President of the United States has been taken on 73 occasions by 43 people.
|Thursday, April 30, 1789||George Washington||Public||Balcony of Federal Hall
New York, New York
Chancellor of New York
|Monday, March 4, 1793||George Washington||Public||Senate Chamber, Congress Hall
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
|Saturday, March 4, 1797||John Adams||Public||House Chamber, Congress Hall
|Wednesday, March 4, 1801||Thomas Jefferson||Public||Senate Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Monday, March 4, 1805||Thomas Jefferson||Public||Senate Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Saturday, March 4, 1809||James Madison||Public||House Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Thursday, March 4, 1813||James Madison||Public||House Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Tuesday, March 4, 1817||James Monroe||Public||In front of Old Brick Capitol
(1st & A Sts., N.E.)
|Monday, March 5, 1821||James Monroe||Public||House Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Friday, March 4, 1825||John Quincy Adams||Public||House Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Wednesday, March 4, 1829||Andrew Jackson||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Monday, March 4, 1833||Andrew Jackson||Public||House Chamber, United States Capitol||John Marshall|
|Saturday, March 4, 1837||Martin Van Buren||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney|
|Thursday, March 4, 1841||William H. Harrison||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney|
|Tuesday, April 6, 1841||John Tyler||Private||Brown's Hotel
6th St. & Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Chief Judge, U.S. Circuit Court of the District of Columbia
|Tuesday, March 4, 1845||James K. Polk||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney|
|Monday, March 5, 1849||Zachary Taylor||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney|
|Wednesday, July 10, 1850||Millard Fillmore||Public||House Chamber, United States Capitol||William Cranch
Chief Judge, U.S. Circuit Court of the District of Columbia
|Friday, March 4, 1853||Franklin Pierce||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney||Only person known to have used "Affirm" rather than "Swear"|
|Wednesday, March 4, 1857||James Buchanan||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney|
|Monday, March 4, 1861||Abraham Lincoln||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Roger B. Taney|
|Saturday, March 4, 1865||Abraham Lincoln||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Salmon P. Chase|
|Saturday, April 15, 1865||Andrew Johnson||Private||Kirkwood Hotel, 12th St. & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.||Salmon P. Chase|
|Thursday, March 4, 1869||Ulysses S. Grant||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Salmon P. Chase|
|Tuesday, March 4, 1873||Ulysses S. Grant||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Salmon P. Chase|
|Saturday, March 3, 1877||Rutherford B. Hayes||Private||Red Room, White House||Morrison R. Waite|
|Monday, March 5, 1877||Rutherford B. Hayes||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Morrison R. Waite|
|Friday, March 4, 1881||James A. Garfield||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Morrison R. Waite|
|Tuesday, September 20, 1881||Chester A. Arthur||Private||Front Parlor, Arthur Residence, 123 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York
|John R. Brady
Judge, New York Supreme Court
|Thursday, September 22, 1881||Chester A. Arthur||Public||The Vice President's Room, United States Capitol||Morrison R. Waite|
|Wednesday, March 4, 1885||Grover Cleveland||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Morrison R. Waite|
|Monday, March 4, 1889||Benjamin Harrison||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Melville W. Fuller|
|Saturday, March 4, 1893||Grover Cleveland||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Melville W. Fuller|
|Thursday, March 4, 1897||William McKinley||Public||Front of Original Senate Wing, United States Capitol||Melville W. Fuller|
|Monday, March 4, 1901||William McKinley||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Melville W. Fuller|
|Saturday, September 14, 1901||Theodore Roosevelt||Private||Front Library, Ansley Wilcox House
Buffalo, New York
|John R. Hazel
Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of New York
|Saturday, March 4, 1905||Theodore Roosevelt||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Melville W. Fuller|
|Thursday, March 4, 1909||William Howard Taft||Public||Senate Chamber, United States Capitol||Melville W. Fuller|
|Tuesday, March 4, 1913||Woodrow Wilson||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Edward D. White|
|Sunday, March 4, 1917||Woodrow Wilson||Private||The President's Room, United States Capitol||Edward D. White||First oath taken on a Sunday|
|Monday, March 5, 1917||Woodrow Wilson||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Edward D. White|
|Friday, March 4, 1921||Warren G. Harding||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Edward D. White|
|Friday, August 3, 1923||Calvin Coolidge||Private||Parlor, John Coolidge Residence
|John C. Coolidge
Notary Public (his father)
|Tuesday, August 21, 1923||Calvin Coolidge||Private||Willard Hotel,
|Adolph A. Hoehling, Jr.
Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 
|Wednesday, March 4, 1925||Calvin Coolidge||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||William H. Taft||First oath to be nationally broadcast via radio|
|Monday, March 4, 1929||Herbert Hoover||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||William H. Taft|
|Saturday, March 4, 1933||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Charles E. Hughes|
|Wednesday, January 20, 1937||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Charles E. Hughes|
|Monday, January 20, 1941||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Charles E. Hughes|
|Saturday, January 20, 1945||Franklin D. Roosevelt||Public||South Portico, White House||Harlan F. Stone|
|Thursday, April 12, 1945||Harry S. Truman||Private||Cabinet Room, White House||Harlan F. Stone|
|Thursday, January 20, 1949||Harry S. Truman||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Frederick M. Vinson||First oath to be televised|
|Tuesday, January 20, 1953||Dwight D. Eisenhower||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Frederick M. Vinson|
|Sunday, January 20, 1957||Dwight D. Eisenhower||Private||East Room, White House||Earl Warren|
|Monday, January 21, 1957||Dwight D. Eisenhower||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Earl Warren|
|Friday, January 20, 1961||John F. Kennedy||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Earl Warren||First oath to be televised in color |
|Friday, November 22, 1963||Lyndon B. Johnson||Private||Conference Room, Air Force One
Love Field, Dallas, Texas
|Sarah T. Hughes
Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
|Photographed and audio recorded
First time the oath is administered by a woman
|Wednesday, January 20, 1965||Lyndon B. Johnson||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Earl Warren|
|Monday, January 20, 1969||Richard Nixon||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Earl Warren|
|Saturday, January 20, 1973||Richard Nixon||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Warren E. Burger|
|Friday, August 9, 1974||Gerald Ford||Private||East Room, White House||Warren E. Burger|
|Thursday, January 20, 1977||Jimmy Carter||Public||East Portico, United States Capitol||Warren E. Burger|
|Tuesday, January 20, 1981||Ronald Reagan||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||Warren E. Burger|
|Sunday, January 20, 1985||Ronald Reagan||Private||North Entrance Hall, White House||Warren E. Burger||Televised|
|Monday, January 21, 1985||Ronald Reagan||Public||Rotunda, United States Capitol||Warren E. Burger||Held inside due to severe cold|
|Friday, January 20, 1989||George H. W. Bush||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||William Rehnquist|
|Wednesday, January 20, 1993||Bill Clinton||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||William Rehnquist|
|Monday, January 20, 1997||Bill Clinton||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||William Rehnquist|
|Saturday, January 20, 2001||George W. Bush||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||William Rehnquist|
|Thursday, January 20, 2005||George W. Bush||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||William Rehnquist|
|Tuesday, January 20, 2009||Barack Obama||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||John G. Roberts|
|Wednesday, January 21, 2009||Barack Obama||Private||Map Room, White House||John G. Roberts||Photographed and audio recorded|
|Sunday, January 20, 2013||Barack Obama||Private||Blue Room, White House||John G. Roberts||Televised and live-streamed|
|Monday, January 21, 2013||Barack Obama||Public||West Front, United States Capitol||John G. Roberts||Televised and live-streamed|
- Unless otherwise indicated, individual named is the Chief Justice of the United States.
- List of United States presidential inaugurations
- Presidential Succession Act
- United States presidential line of succession
- A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875
- Bendat, Jim (2012). Democracy's Big Day: The Inauguration of Our President, 1789-2013. iUniverse. pp. xi, 28, 36. ISBN 978-1-935278-47-4.
- "The New Administration; President Arthur Formally Inaugurated". The New York Times. September 23, 1881.
- Time Magazine, Mar. 25, 1929]. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- Kennon, Donald (2005). "Presidential Inaugurations Past and Present". Retrieved 2006-12-06.
- Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies website: "Inauguration of President George Washington, 1789". Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- McCullough, David (1992). Truman. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 347, p. 729. ISBN 0-671-86920-5. Harry Truman is a notable example, as he bent and kissed the Bible upon taking the oath for the first time, on April 12, 1945, as well as at his second inauguration.
- "Inaugural fun facts - WTOL.com - Toledo's News Leader |". WTOL.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Agence France-Presse (2009-01-21). "Chief justice leads Obama to stumble presidential oath | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "No Problems With Today's Oath at the Supreme Court - The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times". Legaltimes.typepad.com. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- McCullough, p. 347
- "Lyndon B. Johnson Oath of Office, January 20, 1965". Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- Williams, Pete (January 20, 2009). "About That Oath Flub". MSNBC. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- "Barack Obama Oath of Office (Wikimedia Commons transcript)". Retrieved 2009-01-31.
- "Obama retakes oath of office after Roberts' mistake". CNN. January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- Obama is sworn in for second time, BBC News. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- Chester A. Arthur House
- Inauguration of Chester Arthur
- Calvin Coolidge
- Fuess, Claude M., Calvin Coolidge: The Man from Vermont (1940), pgs. 310-315, ISBN 0-8371-9320-6.
- Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
- New York Times
- The Presidential Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower
- Ronald Reagan: Second Inaugural Address
- CNN: Audio of Obama's do-over.
- "Obama retakes oath of office after Roberts' mistake". CNN. January 21, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- "Obama Takes His Oath of Office Again". Washington Post. January 21, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- "Barack Obama joins FDR in 'four oath club'". The Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2013.
- "United States Code: Title 28,453. Oaths of justices and judges | LII / Legal Information Institute". Law.cornell.edu. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Peter R. Henriques, “So Help Me God”: A George Washington Myth that Should Be Discarded, hnn.us (1-12-2009).
- Sacramento Daily Union, April 10, 1865; page 8, column 6
- "Case 1:08-cv-02248-RBW Document 1" (PDF). www.restorethepledge.com. 2008-12-30. p. 25. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Case 1:08-cv-02248-RBW Document 13-9" (PDF). www.restorethepledge.com. 2009-01-08. p. 25. Retrieved 2009-02-04. "Before the commencement of this lawsuit, the Chief Justice instructed me to ascertain from President-Elect Obama's representatives the President-Elect's wishes concerning the administration of the oath of office at the inauguration~including his wishes concerning the inclusion of the phrase "So help me God" after the conclusion of the constitutional oath"
- Judiciary Act of 1789, Sec. 7. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Griswold, Rufus W (1855) . The Republican court, or, American society in the days of Washington. New York: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 141–142.
- Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, Vol. 15, pages 404-405
- Sacramento Daily Union, April 10, 1865; page 8, column 6.
- Memorial record of the nation's ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1865. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Recollections of President Lincoln ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Anecdotal Lincoln - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- The Avalon Project : First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln
- Foster, James Mitchell (1894) . Christ the King. Boston: James H. Earle. p. 277. In fact, Milligan did write to Lincoln, but his request was not that Lincoln add "so help me God" to the Oath, but rather that the name of Jesus Christ be added to the U.S. Constitution 
- Foster, James Mitchell (1890). Reformation Principles Stated and Applied. Chicago and New York: F.H Revell. pp. 234–5.
- Official State Bible of Alabama
- A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875
- "Inauguration of the President: Facts & Firsts". U.S. Senate. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
- "President Franklin Pierce, 1853". Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Archived from the original on January 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
- "Hoover Plans to Swear on Bible, Taking Oath". Washington Post. February 27, 1929. p. 5.
- The National Archives, Prologue Magazine Vol. 32 No. 4 (Winter 2000). Article "Abrupt Transition", by C.L. Arbelbide. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Wolly, Brian (17 December 2008). "History & Archaeology: Inaugural Firsts - When was the first inaugural parade? Who had the longest inaugural address? A look at presidential inaugurations through time". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- SAM 26000, this airplane's proper designation, is now at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Officially, "Air Force One" is an air traffic control call sign for any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President, though it has informally been extended to the aircraft maintained for that purpose including SAM 26000.
- The oath was retaken on January 21, 2009 due to a flaw in its recitation during the previous day's inaugural ceremonies. See: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/21/obama.oath/index.html
- Forrest Church, Ph.D., "Did George Washington Say 'So Help Me God'?"
- Peter R. Henriques, "'So Help Me God': A George Washington Myth that Should Be Discarded", History News Network, online, January 12, 2009
- Media related to United States presidential inaugurations at Wikimedia Commons
- Video on YouTube Video of inaugurations from Franklin D. Roosevelt - Barack H. Obama