Saturday, November 12, 2011
Did Washington add the words, under God, to his oath of office?
Philander D. Chase, Senior Editor, The Papers of George Washington, University of Virginia , wrote in a November 17, 2005 email "... Washington as president was a remarkably strict constructionist of the Constitution, and it seems to me very unlikely that he would have altered or amended the constitutional oath regardless of whatever views he may have had on the subject, and his personal views as far as they are known seem to have been pretty comfortable with the oath as it appears in the Constitution." Charlene Bickford, Director, First Federal Congress Project, George Washington University , also confirms that there is no contemporaneous account of George Washington saying those words. In a November 29, 2004 email she wrote "In fact, the only contemporaneous account that repeats the oath, a letter of the French consul, Comte de Moustier, April 30, 1789 (PDF), states only the constitutional oath. We now believe that Washington consciously (he rarely did something that wasn't very calculated) repeated only the prescribed oath with no reference to God to show strict adherence to the Constitution."
Posted by jwdixon at 10:36 AM