Inaugerations and Bibles in the American Tradition

September 18, 2013 — Print this Page

As well thought out and planned as George Washington’s first inauguration appeared to be, no one thought to bring a Bible. It was Washington who felt a Bible should be used upon which to swear his oath, so one was quickly found in a nearby Masonic lodge. And like much of what Washington did during his lifetime, taking the oath of office on the Bible became American tradition at presidential inaugurations. And When he volunteered “…so help me God.” at the oath’s conclusion, a tradition was twice born, and an idiom added to the American lexicon.
Michael Costanzo’s forthcoming book “So Help Me God,” due on October 26, 2013 by History Publishing Company, tells the stories of the Bibles that made it to the inauguration offering insight into a time in America not remembered so readily today, as it brings the reader into the mechanics of presidential inaugurations past and present.

It also provides an in-depth view of inauguration ceremonies from George Washington to Barack Obama, as well as individual Bible histories. Provided too are scenarios of Bibles usage by other political bodies such as The Republic of Texas, The Republic of Hawaii and The Confederate States of America. Also reflected is a view of changing American cultural attitudes as inaugurations, once the simple affairs of a newly born country, are now the momentous productions of a powerful nation.

So Help Me God is an important book”, said Publisher Don Bracken , “it brings into focus a tradition that stems from the very beginning of constitutional government to the present. In this time of secular change, consistency of tradition, and the awareness of that tradition, has become an important factor in the national culture. Michael Costanzo has made a significant contribution to that end.”
So Help Me God 97819339099950 will be available in bookstore chains, independent bookstores nationally, and on, and in e-book format..

Review copies and author interviews Carolyn Doyle Winter, cdw$ 845-365-0088.
Sales: Martin Flanagan,, 615-2542405

Printed from the History Publishing Company website, visit .

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