Oath of Office

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The Oath of Office (which may be either an actual oath or an affirmation) is the phrase which must be recited by presidents-elect in the United States in order for them to ascend to the Office of the Presidency. This powerful phrase is required specifically by the Constitution of the United States (Article II Section 1) and reads
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.

The oath is customarily followed by the phrase "so help me God," and is usually recited with one hand on the Bible. When office assumed at the time prescribed by the 20th Amendment, January 20 of the year following the election, the oath is traditionally given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In times when office has been assumed by the Vice President on the event of the prior President's death or resignation, the oath has been given by various people; for example, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his father, a public notary.

See also