The original Pledge of Allegiance
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands- one nation indivisible-with liberty and justice for all.”
On September 8,1892, the Boston based “The Youth’s Companion” magazine published a few words for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. Written by Francis Bellamy,the circulation manager and native of Rome, New York, and reprinted on thousands of leaflets, was sent out to public schools across the country. On October 12, 1892, the quadricentennial of Columbus’ arrival, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, thus beginning a required school-day ritual.
At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words “the Flag of the United States” replaced “my flag”. In the following years various other changes were suggested but were never formally adopted.
It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. In fact,today only half of our fifty states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom!
In June of 1954 an amendment was made to add the words “under God”. Then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower said “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”
The American’s Creed:
The American’s Creed was written in 1917 by William Tyler Page and adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives the next year (much like the Pledge of Allegiance, the American’s Creed reflects the American nationalism that became popular after the Civil War):
“I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principals of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.”
“I there fore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”