Saturday, June 28, 2008

Newdow's Musical on GW & SHMG:

Ray Soller has shared with us much of his meticulous research casting doubt on the notion that George Washington added "So Help Me God" to his oath of office. Check out Michael Newdow's musical telling of the story. It reminds me of the "School House Rock" specials I saw, as a member of Generation X, when watching cartoons growing up.


Brad Hart said...

Entertaining video, but I am afraid that this guy has WAY too much free time on his hands!

Brad Hart said...

Just FYI, I checked the online database of the Library of Congress, which has a section on Inaugural addresses (here is the link:

Anyway, the site affirms the belief that Washington stated, "So help me God" at the conclusion of his oath of office. However, I cannot find any sources that were used to affirm this claim. I wonder what source the LOC used to justify this claim? That would be valuable information to have!

Jonathan Rowe said...

Heh. As to your last comment Brad, that's the subject of another Ray Soller post I predict.

Brad Hart said...

I can only hope that you are right, Jon. If you are reading this, Ray, then get to work!

Ray Soller said...

Brad, the LOC webpage to which you refer cites Architects of the Capitol as their source: "The information below is courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol. It has been compiled by the Office of the Curator from contemporary accounts and other sources in the files of the Architect of the Capitol." The AOC website repeats the same citation with no further assistance.

LOC does have a set of references for George Washington's Inauguration here. Despite this list, LOC has not come up with a firsthand account to support their claim.

My last communication (4/29/08) from LOC reads:

Dear Ray Soller:

After consulting with two experts in 18th Century American history, I feel that I must correct my earlier answer regarding the addition to the presidential oath of office. I had assumed that Paul F. Boller's account of George Washington's first inauguration, which follows Douglas Southall Freeman's description in volume 6 of his classic biography, was correct. It appears, however, that this version is disputed by some historians, and that Washington may not have added the words, "So help me God" to the oath.

Daun van Ee
Historical Specialist, Manuscript Division

Lindsey Shuman said...

It has a very catchy jingle to it!