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The Pledge

There has been a lot written and said recently about the Pledge of Allegiance. It's interesting to note that a history of the Pledge of Allegiance was written by Dr. John W. Baer in a 1992 article. Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) was a Baptist Minister and he wrote the original Pledge in August of 1892. Bellamy was a Christian Socialist. He indicated in his Pledge that he was expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, who authored several American socialists utopian novels. Because Bellamy was a socialist and preached socialist ideas, he was pressured into leaving the Baptist Church in Boston. Bellamy was also the chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As chairman, he prepared for a program celebrating the Quadricentennial Celebration of Columbus Day in 1892. 

As a part of the public school program, there was a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute which was his 'Pledge of Allegiance'. The original Pledge read as follows: 'I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.' At that time, Bellamy wanted to add the word equality to the Pledge but he knew the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and for African Americans. In 1923 and 1924, the National Flag Conference under the leadership of the American Legion and the daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, 'my flag' to' the flag of the United States of America.' Bellamy protested this change but his protest was ignored. Then in 1954, Congress, after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus added the words, 'under God' to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and public prayer. According to Bellamy's granddaughter, he would have also resented this second change. The Pledge then came into existence 400 years after Columbus discovered America and 116 years after the Declaration of Independence.

The Supreme Court of the United States has indicated it is not a litmus test of citizenship and no one is required to repeat it or in fact, make the Pledge, especially in a public setting.

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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law