On What Did They Solemnly Swear?

The father of our country opened his inaugural Bible at random. More recently, Nixon swore on what may be the Bible's most pacifist verse, and Clinton swore on a passage from Galatians noting that "flesh reap[s] corruption." While most other biblical quotes used at presidential inaugurations weren't quite so ironic, some provide insights into the presidential mind. How will George W. Bush use the Bible to guide his presidency?


President, Inauguration Year Bible & Passage Quote
George Washington
1789
Genesis 49:13
Masonic Bible

(opened at random due to haste)
"Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon."
Martin Van Buren
1837
Proverbs 3:17 "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
Franklin Pierce
1853
Affirmed instead of swearing the oath; did not kiss Bible. No quote
Abraham Lincoln
1861
Opened at random Unknown quote
Abraham Lincoln
1865
Matthew 7:1, 18:7; Revelations 16:7 "Judge not, that ye be not judged."; "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!"
complete passage
Andrew Johnson
1865
Proverbs 21 "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will..."
complete passage
Ulysses S. Grant
1873
Isaiah 11:1-3 "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots..."
complete passage
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