“President-elect Obama is deeply honored that the Library the Congress has made the Lincoln Bible available for use during his swearing-in,” claimed Emmett Beliveau, inaugural committee executive, management director. “The President-elect is committed to stop an inauguration the celebrates American’s unity, and also the usage of the historic holy bible will provide a powerful connection to our typical past and common heritage.”


Left: Barack Obama takes the oath the office from Chief Justice man Roberts top top Jan. 20, 2009, together his wife Michelle stop the Lincoln Bible. - Architect the the Capitol Right: information view that the Lincoln Bible. - Michaela McNichol

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A small Bible, the velvet cover fading native age and also its pages yellowing, arised from its defended place in the rare Book and Special Collections division of the Library of conference to end up being one nexus in background on Inauguration Day, Tuesday, Jan. 20.

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On march 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln, a tall, lanky male from Springfield, Ill., rest one hand upon this holy bible while taking his oath to end up being the 16th chairman of the united States. One year later, as the civil War endangered to destroy the union and also the constitution he had sworn to protect, Lincoln issued the an initial of two Emancipation Proclamations that started the process, finishing with the 13th Amendment, of releasing blacks from bondage in America.

When Barack Obama, likewise from Illinois, ended up being the very first person that African family tree in American history to take it the presidential oath of office, he placed his hand upon the very same Bible, in a ceremony prior to millions gathered below the West prior of the Capitol.

Lincoln’s Oath of Office

Standing prior to crowds assembled on the eastern Front of the Capitol 148 years ago, Lincoln to be sworn right into office by supreme Court Justice i get it Brooke Taney, climate 84 years old.

No friend of emancipation, Taney had written the majority opinion in the Dred Scott v. Sandford situation in 1857, in i beg your pardon he stated Scott “was a slave and also not a citizen” of either the state that Missouri or the joined States and therefore had actually no standing to sue his owner for freedom in one of two people a state or commonwealth court. Taney defined Scott together “mere chattel” that could be treated as any other building by his owner. In this case, the can be fried Court ruled that Congress did not have authority to prohibit enslavement in territories, and that those provisions of the Missouri weaken of 1820 were unconstitutional.

That irony, of being sworn in through Taney, was not shed on Lincoln, who devoted one long paragraph in his inaugural deal with to a discussion of the can be fried Court and also whether “the plan of the federal government upon crucial questions, affecting the totality people, is to be irrevocably resolved by decision of the supreme Court.”

President Lincoln assured dissidents ~ above the brink the seceding the he had actually neither the power nor inclination to change or override the constitution or state laws.

“In your hands, mine dissatisfied other countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The federal government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without gift yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to damage the government, while i shall have actually the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.’”

A rare Bible


A U.S. Can be fried Court seal on a bright blue document wafer is affixed to a web page in Lincoln’s Inaugural Bible, and also the opposite page bears the engraving of William cutting board Carroll, salesman of the supreme Court, that attested that the scriptures was the upon i m sorry Abraham Lincoln took his presidential oath of office on march 4, 1861, administered by chief Justice R.B. Taney. - Michaela McNichol

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The 1,280-page “Lincoln Bible,” which got special conservation treatment in the Library’s preservation Directorate prior to its 2009 appearance, is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white steel rim approximately the three exterior edges of both covers. All its edge are heavily gilt. In the facility of the top cover is a shield the gold wash over white steel with the indigenous “Holy Bible” chased right into it. The book is 15 cm long, 10 centimeter wide, and 4.5 centimeter deep when closed.

Lincoln’s inaugural bible is the same to a bible that James Buchanan offered for his inauguration 4 years earlier, on march 4, 1857. It stays at the Smithsonian Institution.

According to Clark Evans, a Lincoln professional who top the recommendation Services ar of the rarely Book and also Special collections Division, both the the King James translations were printed by Oxford University push in 1853 and also appear to have actually been bespeak by supreme Court salesperson William cutting board Carroll for justices officiating at such events.

In both the Lincoln Bible and also the Buchanan Bible, Carroll certified that each was the scriptures upon i m sorry Taney had actually administered the oaths of presidential office, first to Buchanan in 1857 and also then come Lincoln in 1861. In every he additionally penned this inscription to his wife: “to Mrs. Sally Carroll indigenous her devoted husband Wm. Thos. Carroll.”


The new president, vice president and their spouses stop on the measures of the Capitol to salary respect to the flag and also the color guard. - Architect of the Capitol

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If the Lincoln Inaugural bible did in reality then belong come Sally Carroll, at some suggest in its background it was moved to Lincoln’s family. In 1928 mary Harlan Lincoln, the widow the Lincoln’s an initial son, Robert Todd (1843–1926), provided to the Library of conference both the scriptures from his first inauguration and also the household Bible, which has the Lincoln family members record, component of that in Lincoln’s hand.

Evans stated Lincoln probably had asked come borrow the holy bible from the supreme Court for his first inauguration. “In all probability, the family scriptures was in transit native Springfield v the remainder of Lincoln’s possessions,” Evans said.

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Carroll and his wife, Sally, had another poignant link with Abraham and also Mary Lincoln. Once the Lincolns’ boy Willie, 11, passed away on Feb. 20, 1862, the Carrolls readily available the usage of a family crypt in ~ Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown till the body can be moved to Springfield. The funeral train traveling to Springfield in might 1865 through the human body of the slain president additionally carried Willie’s coffin.