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More Michele Bachmann History Lies: George Washington Said “So Help Me God”

by David Badash on November 19, 2011

in History,News,Politics

Post image for More Michele Bachmann History Lies: George Washington Said “So Help Me God”

Michele Bachmann, purveyor of lies, gaffes, and a rewriting of American history, moments ago during a GOP family values presidential debate claimed that all presidents since George Washington have added “so help me God” (shmG) to the end of their presidential oath of office. Not true. A lie, like so many other comments Michele Bachmann has stated time and time again.

READ: Bachmann Slams Same-Sex Marriage, But Her Latest Gaffe Is Criminal

“Claims that every president has appended ‘so help me God’ to his presidential oath office can be found in various publications and on the Internet,” writes Mathew Goldstein.

“Prior to 1854 there appears to be no record of any assertions that any president appended the phrase “so help me God” to their inaugural oath of office.  None, zip, nil, zero.  You heard me right, the evidence that this occurred is an empty void, it doesn’t exist.”

“There is one contemporaneous, first hand, eyewitness account of George Washington’s first inauguration that quotes the entire oath recitation and describes what happened immediately thereafter. It is the letter of the French consul, Comte de Moustier, April 30, 1789, written in french to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France. No shmG. So the overall weight of the overall available evidence favors the conclusion that George Washington did not say shmG. Washington Irving’s more than six decades after the fact, and non-sourced, assertion otherwise in his book is counter-evidenced by this letter.

“Other books and articles subsequent to 1854 continue to not depict George Washington appending so help me God. Examples include  Abridgment of the Debates of Congress from 1789 to 1856, Volume I, by Thomas Hart Benton, and Joseph Gales and William Winston Seaton and John C Rives.   Memoir of the life of Eliza S. M. Quincy, ed. E S Quincy 1861. Reminiscences of an Old New Yorker, by William A. Duer, 1867.”

So, there you have it. go read Goldstein’s piece if you want more details and proof. Proof that Bachmann, once again, is either a liar, or a really bad researcher, or both.

(Oh, for the record, Barack Obama did say, “So help me God.”)

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wyocowboy62 November 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I think Michele Bachmann just pulls shit right out of her ass…its funny how you show physical proof that what they say is wrong and then they tell you that you are a "libdem" and "re-write history"…lmfkingao

raysoller November 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

Michelle Bachman needs to know that "all presidents" have not inflated their oath of office by adding "So help me God." She's been duped. The fact is that starting with George Washington most presidents are not known to have added those words. It's only since FDR's 1933 inaugural ceremony that all presidents have concluded their oath with "So help me God." The notion that "all presidents" have done so made its "dupe d'état" on Sunday, January 20, 1957, on the eve of President Eisenhower's official inauguration when Pulitzer-prize, Civil War author, Bruce Catton wrote a Los Angeles Times article, " … So help me God,' in which he spun this whopper: "After reciting the formal oath, he [George Washington] put in a short sentence of his own: 'So help me God.' Every President since has added those words." Popular historical authors like David McCullough, and Kenneth C. Davis have all been duped and blindly follow this absolutely erroneous claim.

jp21770 November 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Again, Bachmann is being punished by hate and Bigotry. You all lie.

"So help me God"

Further information: So help me God#United States and Oath
It is uncertain how many Presidents used a Bible or added the words "So help me God" at the end of the oath, or in their acceptance of the oath, as neither is required by law; unlike many other federal oaths which do include the phrase "So help me God."[27] There is currently debate as to whether or not George Washington, the first president, added the phrase to his acceptance of the oath. All contemporary sources fail to mention Washington as adding a religious codicil to his acceptance.[28]
The historical debate over who first used "So help me God," is marred by ignoring the two forms of giving the oath. The first, now in disuse, is when the administrator articulates the constitutional oath in the form of a question, as in, "Do you George Washington solemnly swear…", requesting an affirmation. At that point a response of "I do" or "I swear" completes the oath. Without verbatim transcripts, the scant existing evidence shows this was the common procedure at least until the early 20th century. In 1881, the New York Times article covering the swearing in of Chester A. Arthur, reported that he responded to the question of accepting the oath with the words, "I will, so help me God".[6] In 1929, Time magazine reported that the Chief Justice began the oath uttering, "You, Herbert Hoover, do you solemnly swear…"[7] Hoover replied with a simple "I do".

The earliest known source indicating Washington added "So help me God" to his acceptance, not to the oath, is attributed to Washington Irving, aged six at the time of the inauguration, and first appears 65 years after the event.[35]
The only contemporary account that repeats the oath in full, a report from the French consul, Comte de Moustier, states only the constitutional oath,[36] without reference to Washington's adding "So Help Me God" to his acceptance.
Evidence is lacking to support the claim that Presidents between Washington and Abraham Lincoln used the phrase "So help me God." A contemporaneous newspaper account of Lincoln's 1865 inauguration states that Lincoln appended the phrase "So help me God" to the oath.[37] This newspaper report is followed by another account, provided later in the same year after Lincoln's death (April 15, 1865), that Lincoln said "So help me God" during his oath.[38] The evidence pertaining to the 1865 inauguration is much stronger than that pertaining to Lincoln's 1861 use of the phrase. Several sources claim that Lincoln said "So help me God" at his 1861 inauguration, yet these sources were not contemporaneous to the event.[39][40] During the speech, Lincoln stated that his oath was "registered in Heaven",[41] something some have taken as indicating he likely uttered the phrase "So help me God." Conversely, there was a claim made by A.M. Milligan (a Presbyterian minister who advocated for an official Christian U.S. government) that letters were sent to Abraham Lincoln asking him to swear to God during his inaugurations, and Lincoln allegedly wrote back saying that God's name was not in the Constitution, and he could not depart from the letter of that instrument.[42][43]
Other than the president of the U.S., many politicians (including Jefferson Davis, sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in 1861) used the phrase "So help me God" when taking their oaths.[44] Likewise, all federal judges and executive officers were required as early as 1789 by statute to include the phrase unless they affirmed, in which case the phrase must be omitted.[45]
Given that nearly every President-elect since President Franklin D. Roosevelt has recited the codicil, it is likely that the majority of presidents-elect have uttered the phrase[46] (as well as some vice presidents, while taking their oaths). However, as President Theodore Roosevelt chose to conclude his oath with the phrase "And thus I swear," it seems that this current of tradition was not overwhelmingly strong even as recently as the turn of the twentieth century. Only Franklin Pierce has chosen to affirm rather than swear.[47] It is often asserted that Herbert Hoover also affirmed, because he was a Quaker, but newspaper reports before his inauguration state his intention to swear rather than affirm.[48]

conservativeBC November 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Bahahaha Nice try — Washington didn't say in God we trust — bahahaha

That is one of the most well documented facts in history…

I sure you can find someone who thinks the world is flat to quote next time

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