The History of the Pledge of Allegiance
Written by Jacob C. Herman
The Pledge of Allegiance is one of the oldest and most recognized symbols of patriotic expression in the United States. It is a statement of commitment and honor to the country, and the Pledge itself has a very interesting history.
The Pledge was originally written in 1892 by a Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy. First published in a children magazine called The Youth’s Companion, it was meant to be quick and to the point so it could be recited in about fifteen seconds. Originally, Bellamy wanted to include words like “fraternity” and “equality” but since many people at the time were opposed to black and women’s rights, he decided to forgo those phrases even though he himself was not trying to propagate racism and segregation.
There have been many changes to the pledge over the years. It started out simply as: "I Pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
In October 1892, the phrase was changed to “I pledge Allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. In 1923, the National Flag Conference changed the words “my flag” to “the flag of the United States” and a year later the phrase became “the flag of the United States of America.” In 1954, the words “under God” were added to the Pledge by Louis A. Bowman, who said that the phrase came from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and when the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization, pushed for it, the US Congress officially accepted it. This phrase in particular has caused a lot of controversy and courts are still arguing over whether or not the phrase should be included at all and whether or not the Pledge should be said in schools.
Now, the Pledge reads:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for all.”
The Pledge was first used in schools as a way to celebrate Columbus Day and the first time it was used was in October of 1892. This day was important because it was also the very first day of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and Bellamy saw it as the perfect way to get children involved in a show of national solidarity, which was important at the time.
- The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History: A short history of the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Pledge of Allegiance Resources: A dialogue on the inclusion of "under God" in the Pledge.
- Historic Documents: Short history with explanations of some of the passages from the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Answering service: Information on live answering services and voicemail
- The Pledge of Allegiance in Schools: Articles and insight into how the Allegiance is seen in public schools.
- History of the Pledge: Devoted entirely to the history of the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Forgotten History of the Pledge: Discusses some lesser-known facts about the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Original Pledge of Allegiance: Discusses differing versions of the Pledge of Allegiance.