Beltway Happenings  
Dec. 10, 2008--These documents from the National Archives, which will be on display from January 12-25, 2009 in the Rotunda, show that the presidential oath of office underwent several revisions before arriving at the prescribed 37 words.   (Above) An Aug. 6, 1787 printed copy of the draft Constitution from the Constitutional Convention shows the initial wording of the presidential oath of office.  George Washington wrote in, among other annotations, a new clause adopted by the Convention, "and will to the best of my judgment and power preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."  (Below) The Official Journal of the Constitutional Convention covering the discussion of Aug. 27, 1787 shows the new language was moved, seconded and passed in the affirmative.
In this Feb. 27, 1793 "transcript of draft of note," President George Washington sought input from the Secretaries of Treasury and War "as to time, place and manner" of the oath of qualification.  There were two lines of thought: that the oath should be administered to the President at his own house, either with a few invited officers and others, or that it should be done in public.

Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action