Why Doesn't Every President Use the Lincoln Bible?





Bill Clinton is sworn in for his second term as president of the United StatesBarack Obama will be sworn in as president Tuesday with the same Bible that Abraham Lincoln used for his first inauguration. As his transition team noted in its press release, "President-elect Obama will be the first President sworn in using the Lincoln Bible since its initial use in 1861." Why haven't other presidents used the historic artifact?

Because the Library of Congress didn't offer it up. The Bible, which was given to Lincoln by the clerk of the Supreme Court, is part of the permanent rare-books collection of the library. Other presidents probably could have used the Lincoln Bible if they'd asked for it, but LoC staffers proposed the idea themselves shortly after Obama's election. The library already has plans to mount an exhibition of its vast cache of Lincolniana to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, Feb. 12. The newly famous inauguration Bible will go on display directly following its use by Obama.



comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Randll Reese Besch - 1/24/2009

We are not a theocracy. Swearing on the Constitution/Bill of Rights is apropos not on a Bible. Just as the addition of "so help me God," has no business in the official oath. You won't find it in the Constitution, only 35 words not 39.

Subscribe to our mailing list