Classic Works of Apologetics - America's Christian Heritage - Presidents Classic Works of Apologetics Online


America's Christian Heritage
U.S. Presidents

For over two centuries, America's presidents have acknowledged a belief in God, looked to Him for guidance and credited Him for His blessings. These acknowledgements are presented here.

Further information can be found at

"The Christian religion, as I understand it, is the brightness of the glory and the express portrait of the character of the eternal, self-existent, independent, benevolent, all powerful and all merciful creator, preserver, and father of the universe, the first good, first perfect, and first fair. It will last as long as the world. Neither savage nor civilized man, without a revelation, could ever have discovered or invented it. Ask me not, then, whether I am a Catholic or Protestant, Calvinist or Arminian. As far as they are Christians, I wish to be a fellow-disciple with them all."
-- President John Adams, from A Letter to Benjamin Rush. Quincy, 21 January, 1810, published in The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations. Boston, 1850-1856. 659 pp. Volume 9 of 10.


Historical Overview

  • The American's Own Book, containing the Declaration of Independence, with the Lives of the Signers: The Constitution of the United States, The inaugural addresses and first annual messages of all the presidents from Washington to Pierce, the farewell addresses of George Washington and Andrew Jackson, with a portrait and life of each president of the United States, to the present time. New York, 1855. 495 pp.
  • John Reynolds Bigelow. The American's Own Book, or, The Constitutions of the several states in the Union: embellished with the seals of the different states. New-York, 1849. 566 pp.
  • Barton, David / Charles David, b. 1954. Was George Washington a Christian?
  • Barton, David / Charles David. Christmas With the Presidents. Posted December 2008.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. Christmas -- as Celebrated by the Presidents. Posted December 2010.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. Letters Between the Danbury Baptists and Thomas Jefferson.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Founders as Christians.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Founders on Gambling.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Founders and Public Religious Expressions.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Founders on Public Religious Expression.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Founding Fathers and Slavery.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson & Slavery in Virginia.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. The Importance of Voting and Christian Involvement in the Political Arena.
  • Barton, David / Charles David. Did George Washington Actually Say 'So Help Me God' During His Inauguration?. Posted December 2011.
  • Brown, A. P., Fl. 19th-20th Century. Says Executive Should Shine as at [sic] Example; Rev. A. P. Brown Points Out Elevating Influence of Citizenship and Religious Convictions of the Presidents. Fresno Morning Republican, November 5, 1908, p. 2.
  • Edward Currier, fl. 19th Century. The Political Textbook: containing the Declaration of Independence, with the lives of the signers; the Constitution of the United States; the inaugural addresses and first annual messages of all the Presidents, from Washington to Tyler; the farewell addresses of George Washington and Andrew Jackson; and a variety of useful tables, etc. Worcester, Mass, W. Blake, 1842. 512 pp. tables. 19 cm.
  • Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891. Martha Washington . New York, 1861. 24 pp.
  • Lossing, Benson John. Eminent Americans comprising brief biographies of three hundred and thirty distinguished persons. New York, Mason Bros., 1857. viii, [9]-416 pp. front. illus. (ports.) Also here.
  • Lossing, Benson John. The National History of the United States, from the period of the union of the colonies against the French, to the inauguration of Washington: Together with historical sketches of the continental presidents and an account of the public property of the United States. New York: Edward Walker, 1855. 2 vol.: ill., facsims., ports.; 26 cm. Volume 1. Volume 2.
  • Lossing, Benson John. Lives of celebrated Americans: comprising biographies of three hundred and forty eminent persons. Hartford, Conn., 1869. 437 pp.
  • Lossing, Benson John. Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of American Independence; the declaration historically considered, and a sketch of the leading events. Philadelphia, 1870. 382 pp.
  • Lossing, Benson John. Life and Times of Washington, Volume 2, Revised, Enlarged, and Enriched.
  • Marshall, James V., c. 1856The United States manual of biography and history: comprising lives of the presidents and vice presidents of the United States, and the cabinet officers, from the adoption of the Constitution to the present day. Also, lives of the signers of the Declaration of independence, and of the old Articles of confederation, of the framers of the Constitution of the United States, and of the chief justices of the Supreme court of the United States. With authentic copies of the Declaration of independence, the Articles of confederation, and the Constitution of the United States. To which is prefixed an introductory history of the United States. . Philadelphia, 1856. 727 pp.

    United States Presidents


    Washington, George
    (1732-1799)

    First President of the United States. Read more about Washington here.

    WORKS

    Adams, John
    (1735-1826)

    Second President of the United States. Read more about John Adams here. Note: Adams shifted from Congregationalist to Unitarian.

    WORKS

    Jefferson, Thomas
    (1743-1826)

    Third President of the United States. Principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Horticulturist, statesman, architect, archaeologist, inventor, and founder of the University of Virginia. Unitarian. Read about Jefferson here.

    WORKS

    Madison, James
    (1751-1836)

    Fourth President of the United States. Read more about Madison here.

    WORKS

    Monroe, James
    (1758-1831)

    Fifth President of the United States. Read more about Monroe here, here and here.

    WORKS

    Adams, John Quincy
    (1767-1848)

    Sixth President of the United States. Note: Bill Haymin, "Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son." American Chronicle, January 12, 2008. "In his later years Adams was associated with the Unitarian Church, yet, Unitarianism at this time was much different than it is today. For one, it was firmly rooted in the Bible. Adams believed in the divine nature of the Holy Scriptures and the assertion that Christ was God. Unitarians were described in the Theological Dictionary of 1823 in these words:
    "In common with other Christians, they confess that He [Jesus] is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; and in one word, they believe all that the writers of the New Testament, particularly the four Evangelists, have stated concerning him." Entry by Rev. Charles Buck, A Theological Dictionary Containing Definitions of All Religious Terms. Philadelphia: Edwin T. Scott, 1823, p. 582. See here for more about Adams's faith. Read more about John Quincy Adams here, here and here.


    Jackson, Andrew
    (1767-1845)

    Seventh President of the United States. Read more about Andrew Jackson here and here.

    WORKS

    Van Buren, Martin
    (1782-1862)

    Eighth President of the United States. Read more about Van Buren here.

    WORKS

    Harrison, William Henry
    (1773-1841)

    Ninth President of the United States. Read more about William Henry Harrison here, here, and here.


    Tyler, John
    (1790-1862)

    Tenth president of the United States. Read about Tyler here.

    WORKS

    Polk, James K.
    (1795-1849)

    11th President of the United States. Read more about Polkhere and here.

    WORKS

    Taylor, Zachary
    (1784-1850)

    12th President of the United States. Read more about Taylor here.

    WORKS

    Fillmore, Millard
    (1800-1874)

    13th President of the United States. Read about Fillmore here and here.

    WORKS

    Pierce, Franklin
    (1804-1869)

    14th President of the United States. Read about Pierce here and here.

    WORKS

    Buchanan, James
    (1791-1868)

    15th President of the United States. Read about Buchanan here and here. Note: Buchanan was a Grand Master in the Freemasons.

    WORKS

    Lincoln, Abraham
    (1809-1865)

    16th President of the United States. Read about Lincoln here and at the Library of Congress and here -- Gilbert Clarke profile -- if you want to disagree with it, read it FIRST!

    WORKS

    Johnson, Andrew
    (1808-1875)

    17th President of the United States. Read about Andrew Johnson here, here, here, here, here, and here.

    WORKS

    Grant, Ulysses S.
    (1822-1855)

    18th President of the United States. Read about Grant here and here.

    WORKS

    Hayes, Rutherford B.
    (1822-1893)

    19th President of the United States. Read more about Hayes here, here and here.

    WORKS

    Garfield, James
    (1831-1881)

    20th President of the United States. Attorney, minister, educator, soldier. Read about Garfield here, here and here.

    WORKS

    Arthur, Chester Alan
    (1830-1886)

    21st President of the United States. Episcopalian. Read about Arthur here, here, here, here, and here.

    WORKS

    Cleveland, Stephen Grover
    (1837-1908)

    22nd and 24th President of the United States. The First Democrat elected after the Civil War. Read about Grover Cleveland here, here, and here.

    WORKS

    Harrison, Benjamin
    (1833-1901)

    23rd President of the United States. Read about Benjamin Harrison here, here, here, and here.


    McKinley, William
    (1843-1901)

    25th President of the United States. Read about McKinley here, here, and here . William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.

    WORKS

    Roosevelt, Theodore
    (1858-1919)

    26th President of the United States. Read more about Theodore Roosevelt here.

    WORKS

    Taft, William H.
    (1857-1930)

    27th President of the United States. 10th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Unitarian. Read more about Taft here, here and here.

    WORKS

    Wilson, Woodrow
    (1856-1924)

    28th President of the United States. Read more about Woodrow Wilson here, here and here.

    WORKS

    Harding, Warren G.
    (1865-1923)

    29th President of the United States. Baptist. Read about Harding here, here, and here.


    Coolidge, Calvin
    (1872-1933)

    30th President of the United States. Read more about Coolidge here and here.

    WORKS

    Hoover, Herbert
    (1874-1964)

    31st President of the United States. Read more about Hoover here and here.

    WORKS

    Roosevelt, Franklin D.
    (1882-1945)

    32nd President of the United States. Read more about Franklin Roosevelt here, here and here.

    WORKS

    Truman, Harry S.
    (1884-1972)

    33rd President of the United States. Read more about Truman here and here.

    WORKS

    Eisenhower, Dwight D.
    (1890-1969)

    34th President of the United States. Read more about Eisenhower here and here and at The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage.

    WORKS

    Kennedy, John Fitzgerald
    (1917-1963)

    35th President of the United States. Read about Kennedy here, here and John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

    WORKS

    Johnson, Lyndon B.
    (1908-1973)

    36th President of the United States. Read about Johnson here.

    WORKS

    Nixon, Richard M.
    (1913-1994)

    37th President of the United States. Read more about Nixon here.

    WORKS

    Ford, Gerald R.
    (1913-2006)

    38th President of the United States. Read more about Ford here. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

    WORKS

    Carter, James Earl (Jimmy)
    (1924- )

    39th President of the United States. Read more about Carter here and here. The Carter Center. The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum.

    WORKS

    Reagan, Ronald
    (1911-2004)

    40th President of the United States. Read more about Reagan here and here.

    WORKS

    Bush, George (Herbert Walker)
    (1924- )

    41st President of the United States. Read more about President Bush here.

    WORKS

    Clinton, Bill (William Jefferson)
    (1946- )

    42nd President of the United States. Read more about President Clinton here and here. William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum.

    WORKS

    Bush, George W.
    (1946- )

    43rd President of the United States. Read more about President Bush here and here.

    WORKS

    Obama II, Barack Hussein
    (1961- )

    44th President of the United States. Read more about President Obama here and here.

    WORKS

    Other useful works related to this:

  • The Founders' Constitution
  • Edward Currier. The Political Textbook: containing the Declaration of Independence, with the lives of the signers; the Constitution of the United States; the inaugural addresses and first annual messages of all the Presidents, from Washington to Tyler; the farewell addresses of George Washington and Andrew Jackson; and a variety of useful tables, etc.
  • Classic Christian works on slavery
  • Holy Trinity Church v. U.S. -- Full text here. Commentary here.
  • Dallas County v. Commercial Union Assurance Co. 286 F.2d 388 (5th Cir. 1961) A modern application of the Ancient Documents Rule.
  • General Principles of Constitutional Law by Thomas Cooley.
  • Christian Law Library: Belcher Foundation.
  • Christian History Library: Belcher Foundation.
  • Historical Biographies: Belcher Foundation.
  • Library of Congress. American Memory
  • Fourth of July Celebrations Database.
  • A Collection of Fourth of July Speeches from the Special Collections of Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia.
  • State Constitutions.
  • The Willison Politics and Philosophy Resource Center. R. E. Creech, Director.
  • Canada's Christian Heritage.
  • Laing, John, 1828-1902. Religious instruction in our public schools, being a number of letters published in the Toronto 'Mail'.. Toronto Mail Printg. Co. 1883. 46 pp.
    INTRODUCTION. That religion and morals form an important part of education all will admit. Those also who know God's Book are unanimous in affirming that even for literary purposes there is no book like the Bible. Its elevated, pure, unselfish tone; its rich, but chaste imagery; its peerless parables and allegories; its sublime, grand poetry; its history, so ancient, life-like and instructive-all combine with the transcendent and eternal import- ance of its chief themes, and its power to affect the life of man, to save and raise him morally and intellectually, to make the Bible the best of school-books. If the development of noble, pure, intelligent, robust manhood is the end of education, then the Bible is worth more than any other text-book in the wide world.



    Appendix One:
    Presidential Acknowledgements of God

    Presented by the Legal Brief of Liberty Counsel, Wallbuilders and William J. Federer as Amicus Curiae in Support of ELK GROVE UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT and DAVID W. GORDEN, Petitioners, v. MICHAEL A. NEWDOW, Respondent. On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    Every President of the United States, since Washington, has taken the Oath of Office with his hand placed upon the Bible. Engle v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 436 (1962). Every President has ended his Oath with, 'So help me, God.' Id. At 436. Every President, without exception, has acknowledged God upon entering office:

    George Washington, 1st, '... that Almighty Being who rules over the universe...' Paul M. Angle, ed., By These Words, Washington's First Inaugural Address, April 30. 1789, p.185. (1954), citing James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 (Washington, 1899), VI, pp. 445-59;

    John Adams, 2nd, '... that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice...' Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States (1989);

    Thomas Jefferson, 3rd, 'And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.' Angle, Jefferson's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801, p.226 (1954); Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 634 (1992), citing Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents, S. Doc. 101-10, p. 17;

    James Madison, 4th, '... that Almighty Being whose power regulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising Republic, and to whom we are bound to address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as our fervent supplications and best hopes for the future.' Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. at 634, citing Inaugural Addresses at p. 28;

    James Monroe, 5th, '... with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God...' Inaugural Addresses;

    John Quincy Adams, 6th, '... knowing that 'Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain'...' Id.;

    Andrew Jackson, 7th, '... my fervent prayer to that Almighty Being before whom I now stand...' Id.;

    Martin Van Buren, 8th, '... that Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit...' Id.;

    William Henry Harrison, 9th, '... the Beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men...' Id.;

    John Tyler, 10th, '... the all-wise and all-powerful Being who made me...' Id.;

    James Polk, 11th, '... in their worship of the Almighty according to the dictates of their own conscience...' Id.;

    Zachary Taylor, 12th, '... to which the goodness of Divine Providence has conducted our common country...' Id.;

    Millard Fillmore, 13th, '... it has pleased Almighty God to remove from this life Zachary Taylor...' Id.;

    Franklin Pierce, 14th, '... humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence...' Id.;

    James Buchanan, 15th, 'In entering upon this great office I must humbly invoke the God of our fathers...' Id.;

    Abraham Lincoln, 16th, 'Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.' Angle, By These Words, Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861 at 305.

    Andrew Johnson, 17th, '... grief on earth which can only be assuaged by communion with the Father in heaven...' Inaugural Addresses;

    Ulysses S. Grant, 18th, 'I do believe that our Great Maker is preparing the world, in His own good time...' Id.;

    Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th, '... guidance of that Divine Hand by which the destinies of nations and individuals are shaped...'Id.;

    James Garfield, 20th, '... their fathers' God that the Union was preserved, that slavery was overthrown...' Id.;

    Chester Arthur, 21st, 'I assume the trust imposed by the Constitution, relying for aid on Divine Guidance...' Id.;

    Grover Cleveland, 22nd, '... the power and goodness of Almighty God who presides over the destiny of nations...' Id.;

    Benjamin Harrison, 23rd, '... invoke and confidently extend the favor and help of Almighty God - that He will give me wisdom...' Id.;

    Grover Cleveland, 24th, 'I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have...'

    William McKinley, 25th, 'Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers...' Id.;

    Theodore Roosevelt, 26th, '... with gratitude to the Giver of Good who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us...' Id.;

    Howard Taft, 27th, '... support of my fellow-citizens and the aid of the Almighty God in the discharge of my responsible duties...' Id.;

    Woodrow Wilson, 28th, 'I summon all honest men, all patriotic men, all froward-looking men, to my side. God helping me, I will not fail them, if they will but counsel and sustain me!' Angle, By These Words, Wilson's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1913 at 423.

    Warren G. Harding, 29th, '... that passage of Holy Writ wherein it is asked: 'What doth the Lord require of thee...' Inaugural Addresses;

    Calvin Coolidge, 30th, '[America] cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God...' Id.;

    Herbert Hoover, 31st, 'I beg your tolerance, your aid, and your cooperation. I ask the help of Almighty God...' Id.;

    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd, 'In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God...' Id.;

    Harry S. Truman, 33rd, '... all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God...' Id.;

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th, 'At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws. This faith defines our fill view of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man's inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight ... The enemies of this faith know no god but force, no devotion but its use... Whatever defies them, they torture, especially the truth. Here, then, is no argument between slightly differing philosophies. This conflict strikes directly at the faith of our fathers and the lives of our sons... This is the work that awaits us all, to be done with bravery, with charity, and with prayer to Almighty God.' Angle, By These Words, Eisenhower's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1953 at 532.

    John F. Kennedy, 35th, '... the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God...' Engle v. Vitale, 370 U.S. at 448.

    Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th, '... the judgement of God is harshest on those who are most favored...' Inaugural Addresses;

    Richard M. Nixon, 37th, '... as all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man...'Id.;

    Gerald Ford, 38th, '... to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right...' Id.;

    Jimmy Carter, 39th, '...what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God...' Id.;

    Ronald Reagan, 40th, '... one people under God, dedicated to the dream of freedom that He has placed in the human heart...'Id.;

    George Bush, 41st, 'Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love...' Id.;

    Bill Clinton, 42nd, '... with God's help, we must answer the call...' Id.;

    George W. Bush, 43rd, '... this story's Author, Who fills time and eternity with His purpose...' Id.


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