New Kentucky Governor Takes Oath, Swears He’s Never Fought a Duel

Andy Beshear in Kentucky’s new governor. Photo: Timothy D Easley/AP/Shutterstock

When Andy Beshear was sworn in as Kentucky’s new governor shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning, he swore to support the U.S. and Kentucky Constitutions, to “faithfully execute” the office of governor, and that he has never fought a duel with deadly weapons, sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, or aided or assisted any person who has done so.

Public officials in the commonwealth have been taking that same oath since 1849, when the language was added to the Kentucky Constitution in an attempt to dissuade aspiring officeholders from settling disputes with gunfire. In recent years, it’s become a source of embarrassment for some, including one lawmaker who argued for the section’s removal because it perpetuates an “image of Kentucky as being backward.” The last known duel in Kentucky was in the 1860s.

In a speech following his swearing-in, Beshear alluded to the anachronistic portion of the oath, saying “Kentucky’s oath of office may sound a little outdated to some, but speaking it’s words created in me a sense of gratefulness, humility, excitement.”

New Kentucky Gov Takes Oath, Swears He’s Never Fought a Duel