The Oath of Office
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Each President then delivers an inaugural address, which sets the course for their term in office. Perhaps the most memorable addresses are two given by President Abraham Lincoln.
In his first address, he assured the South that he had no intention "to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."
By the time of his second address, the nation had just ended a bloody civil war over that very issue. In his second address, Lincoln spoke of the battle to free the slaves and ended with a plea for the nation's citizens to come together and heal the wounds of the Civil War.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan; to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
President George W. Bush will deliver the nation's 55th inaugural address when he is sworn in as the 43rd President at noon Eastern Time on Thursday, January 20. The event will be televised live on most major TV networks.