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The Oath

CapitolToday Barack Obama becomes the first African American president of the United States.  Standing before the U.S. Capitol building – which was built by black slaves – he will swear an oath (make a promise) that is given in the U.S. Constitution.  It is this:

I do solemnly swear 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.

To do something solemnly means to do it seriously, to do it intentionally.  To faithfully execute something means to do it exactly as one is supposed to do it.  The office here means the job of president.  The phrase to the best of my ability means as best as I can.  The president promises to preserve (keep safe), protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, which is the main legal document for our national government.

Most presidents, beginning with our first president, George Washington, add the words “so help me God” (may God help me) at the end of the oath, although it is not part of the official oath in the Constitution.

Congratulations to President Obama!

~Jeff

15 Responses to “The Oath”

  1. emiliano Says:

    Never a man has so much weight over his shoulder than President Obamas has now, and it’s the hope of millions
    of people all over the world that see him as a new leader
    who has the power of changing our own life to be better than it has been the last years.
    Congratulations to all you people of America that have done this day has been possible.
    I hope the best to this man also all of us who are asking him to do a better world.

    — emiliano, Madrid. Spain

  2. emiliano Says:

    Resigned to having to miss Obama’s speech because I had to work, I went to teach my English class at the Spanish Ombudsman’s Office in Madrid. When I got there, I was ushered into a palatial office by my students (all Spanish lawyers) who insisted on skipping class to watch Obama’s inauguration on a huge television. I was taken aback.

    This unique moment in our country’s history is already reverberating around the globe. My experience with my students today reminded me of the unprecedented sense of foreign goodwill toward America just after the September 11th terrorist attacks. My hope and belief is that this time around, that goodwill will not be squandered.

    — John T., Madrid, Spain

    This note is from N.Y.T. readers opinion (same as mine above).

  3. Hyunjung Says:

    Thank you for explaining the meaing of the oath.
    I watched the whole inauguration with my friends having pizza today, which is a good chance to know what an American inauguration looks like.

    I’m quite moved when Mr.president Obama started to swear the oath.

    Thank you, Jeff !!!

  4. Julio Says:

    It has been very impressive for me to watch the Obama’s oath, so many people waiting for his words, so many people expecting a real changes and hoping a better future.
    In a sense, I envy to American people because of the strength of its democracy, the loyalty between the different candidates and the real union of American people behind a new President. I believe that a country is a great as long as the vast majority of its people want to become a great country, and I think that is the America’s case.
    I wish the best for American people and, of course, the new President.
    Best regards from Spain, Julio.-

  5. Jose Says:

    I want to congratule to people from US for being able to break the topics that always has remained over their political institutions, and give this “one step ahead”. I think you are the way that we (from Europe) must follow in the future, and borrow a little of “Change”

  6. Antonio Says:

    Thank you 4 ur explanation
    Hope changes will come

  7. Rodrigo Says:

    This is the beginning of a goal that civil right activists in the States looked for many years and it´s an example of the evolution of the Unided States´s society, something that many countries specially in Latin American must follow….

    Regards,
    Rodrigo from Venezuela

  8. Elisângelo Says:

    The time has come, where every single coin has been bet on Obma’s leadership. that coin which one represent the King’s dream embreced by the ordinary american’s dream itself. those dream that carry every single hope, willing, strenght, soffering, etc., in fact the one that gatheres the ordinary american’s beliefs meanly including those who saw and heard Lurther King’s speeches that would told it about the promessed land. As a matter a fact, Obama now really got a extra weight over his shoulder and these sometimes give me goose bumps for his greater task.

    But pull over the fear apart, the true is that Obama has his time and even though the scenario become dark day after day, he has to keep his head up and take support on the strenght which led him by this point. It has come the time to make do with what was left. Obama is the translation of the american people’s will to be “the children who gonna make a brigther day for the future”.
    So let’s start together this figth and trust on his confidence of ” yes we can”.

    This moment really move tears from my eyes and I cannot express by words what I really fell about. So let’s see and be witnessess to the History.

    best regards to all you.

  9. emiliano Says:

    Good for you Jeff, as you have told us something that has been on the top news in the world as the Oath has been done twice by President Obama. First without the word “faithfully” as the Judge didn’t said it on the first (Mr. Obama stoped..) neither on the second temp.
    Today I have read on the N.Y.T., that the President Obama has made the Oath again in The White House because this “little mistake of missing one word” of the Oath, but it seems not so little as the Oath has to swear propperly as it is in Constitution.
    By the way “faithfully” is a very important word in an Oath, I think.

    How much I like these things that I may know better now, thanks a lot.

  10. elcomandant Says:

    At last!. I’m glad that this moment has come.

    This that have already happened, it show all people of the world that democracy and freedom are in the U.S.

    A few years ago a black person wasn’t able to travel in the bus sat, either wasn’t able to go to the same school than a white people. However today one black man, Mr. Obama, is already President of the first country of the world.

    I’m glad for that. Now, just I wish he govern of the best way possible.

    As far as I’m concerned, I hope very much of the new President, for better of America and the whole world.

    Bye

  11. daniele Says:

    I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully follow E.S.L podcast, and will to the best of my ability,download and listen to Dr. Jeff McQuillan.;-)

  12. Elisângelo Says:

    hehehe…. very nice daniele, I as well hold up my hand e take the same oath to the ESL podcast too, side by side you. (:)

  13. emiliano Says:

    mine too, Daniele an Elisangelo……..

  14. musa Says:

    congratulation for Obama,yeah the speach was very nice, ueas we can yeas we can yeas we can!!!
    THANKS MR JEFF

  15. Anatol Says:

    Quote I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, Unquote etc. ….

    Dear Mr Jeff,

    could you please explain if it is correct to say in english “and will TO the best of my ability”…

    May be “I will DO or BE” instead of “I will TO” ? Or it is a kind of a slang ?

    Thank You