EL Civics for ESL Students

Presidential Inauguration Lesson

EL Civics, History and Government
Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with then President George Bush

Oath of Office


1. President-elects say their name after the first "I".

2. Presidents raise their right hand and put their left hand on the Bible while swearing in.

3. It is not mandatory for presidents to swear on a Bible, but it is mandatory for them to take the oath.

4. It is not mandatory that the Chief Justice swear in presidents.

5. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on Air Force One with a Catholic missal instead of a Bible.

  • Presidents are elected in November, but they don't take office until January.
  • The president and vice-president take office on January 20 at noon.
  • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court swears in the President of the United States.
  • The Oath of Office is specified in the U.S. Constitution in Article II, Section 1.
  • Here is a copy of the oath:

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
  • It is customary for presidents to add the words "So help me God" to the end of the oath.
  • The swearing in ceremony is at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
  • Presidents give an inaugural speech after they are sworn in.
  • There are many parties and balls around Washington, D.C. in the evening of Inauguration Day.
  • Inauguration Day is on January 20 every fourth year.
  • President Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States.
  • President Obama took the Oath of Office in front of the Capitol Building at noon on January 20, 2009. He was re-elected in 2012 for a second term.
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