2 mins read

I Pledge Allegiance . . .

We say the Pledge of Allegiance a lot.  My 4 year old even knows it.  However, how many of us really know the background and history behind the Pledge?

First, the Pledge Of Allegiance was written Francis Bellamy.  He was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and a extreme nationalist.  In 1892, he landed a job at the Youth's Companion.  This magazine also sold American flags.  Their sales were low, so they came up with the best marketing gimmick yet.

He worked out a deal with the National Education Association to celebrate the 400th annual anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing here.  All the schools in the country were to have flag ceremonies  which meant they all needed flags.  Bellamy then wrote the saying that all the kids would have to say:

I pedge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands:  one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Hmmm, that doesn't sound right, does it?  That isn't how I learned it either.  Where's the under god?  Well, that change came in 1954.  In response to the McCarthy era, the words “under god” were added to show that we were not Communists.  Obviously, the patriotic atheists and agnostics weren't asked their opinion on that one.  There is also a jab at the South with the line “one nation indivisible”.  This was written shortly after the Civil War, and it was to make sure that that South knew that succession wasn't ever going to happen.  At one point, “equality for all” was also to be included.  However, the states' superintendents of education generally did not support equality for women or African Americans, so he did not include it for fear of rejection.

I was surprised to see that Pledge of Allegiance was just a marketing ploy, so a company could make a few extra bucks.  All I can say is only in America.

19 thoughts on “I Pledge Allegiance . . .

  1. In response to the McCarthy era, the words “under god” were added to show that we were Communists.

    It was added to show we were NOT communists.

    If someone said it and omitted the under god part, it was assumed they were a communist.

    I love telling people the true history of the pledge.

    It was never meant to be a national patriotic oath AND a public prayer, but it is, and people just accept it.

    The majority of Americans don't even know the truth about the pledge.

  2. Wow, you learn something new every day!

    This reminds me of the Santa Claus and Coca-Cola story.


  3. Lisa, good to know I'm not alone. Thank you for leaving a comment. If it weren't for blogging I don't know what I'd do. I've met so many great women and feel supported. My friends also live far away so I understand I really do. Men just don't get it.

  4. Interesting post. That would be "secession" not "succession," btw. The South did not succeed in their attempt to secede. Sorry the Rev. Bellamy didn't opt for the "equality for all," would have been a nice touch.

  5. On a slightly different note, one problem with teaching young kids the Pledge of Allegiance is that they have any idea of what it means to pledge their allegiance to something. Just another example of society brainwashing our youth…

  6. You might want to be a little credulous. A lot of the Internet buzz about Bellamy comes from Rex Curry. While I am no fan of the Pledge, I find I am not able to take Rex Curry's scholarship for granted. I share a great deal of ideological overlap with Rex Curry, but I do not trust his voluminous word on this matter. Note, for example, the Wikipedia articles on Bellamy and the Pledge, and Rex Curry's contributions to the articles and discussion pages.

    I, for one, would consider it appropriate to discover that the Pledge was written by a proto-Nazi ("national socialist" with emphasis on the "socialist", as Curry would have me write it), but Curry's agenda-driven rhetoric has clouded the matter.

  7. hmmmm, well the small "g" in God was an indication of your bias, whether you believe or not, that is spelled incorrectly on purpose with a bias. The Knights of Columbus lobbied the congress to add "Under God" not a Communist rebuttal.

    The irony is that the writer was a socialist which is exactly what the communist manifesto wants. He also left the Baptist Church

    1892 was 30 years after the Civil War and that is a huge assumption, but of course you assume a lot in this article.

    I especially like Javex and his comment that society is brainwashing the yout by teaching them the pledge? using that train of though, perhaps we should not teach anyone anything?

  8. There's a problem with "the pledge of allegiance" which has nothing to do with whether or not one includes "under God." And that is, that no one in the US owes "allegiance" to the country, a flag, or anyone.

    "Allegiance" is a relic of the feudal system, a medieval political arrangement in which people have "liege-lords" or "lieges" to whom they owe fealty and service. It's a vast societal pyramid in which the peasantry or serfs are at the bottom, owing their "allegiance" to the lowest level of nobility (knights or seigneurs, mostly), up through various ranks (e.g. counts on the continent or earls in Britain, then dukes, etc.), up to the monarch (who owes allegiance to no one in a strict sense, but must contend with other monarchs and the papacy). The notion of "allegiance" is the glue that holds all the layers of feudalism together. One's place in the state and society was defined by the person to whom one owed allegiance; one's allegiances defined one's rights and powers.

    But the US is not a feudal realm. It is, rather, a representative republic. We are defined as citizens by the constitutions (federal and state), and by the rule of law; "allegiance" plays absolutely no role in our lives. Our position in society and our legal rights are not defined by our allegiances.

    I object to the idea that we ought to be making school children "swear allegiance" to a flag or anything else. We are citizens of a representative republic in the 21st century, not subjects of a liege-lord in medieval Europe; raising kids to think of themselves as subjects rather than citizens doesn't help them.

    The bottom line is that "the pledge of allegiance" is inappropriate in the US in any form.

  9. wow, didn't know this. interesting read. it's funny how people are willing to die for something or say how great their country is and not know the history behind something so simple or that they have been worshiping for years. interesting.

  10. Please tell that to the people who have bled and died for this country and its people!

    A country is defined by the culture,traditions,and experiences of all who live there. Teaching our young to be proud of thier country ,and their civic duty to it is not medieval,and we are not europe either.

    we who love the U.S.A.,are people groups from all over the world,ragtags,who came here for a new start,because of what America represented!-Freedom,land of opportunity,decency,Laws!-here they were not hunted down,for a wide variety of reasons!

    The people who came here,recognised a new life,new chance and greatly appreciated it,and for awhile,there was apperciation,later generations tho,did not see it that way,we were spoiled,and have no appreciation for this country-the people now are selfish,and thier motto is "what's in it for me?"-who cares how the allegiance got started?-it was and is greatly beloved of this country,at least for awhile longer,until there is no longer a united states!

  11. Spare me the righteous indignation for those who "fought and died." I know of NO ONE who fought, let alone died, so that America's schoolchildren could be forced to say a pledge of allegiance.

    If you're so hot on "tradition" and the things that make the US great, cherry, remember that the American Revolution was all about establishing a republic in which no one owed allegiance to anyone! The very goal of the independence movement was to ensure that NO American would ever have to swear allegiance to anyone, ever, for any reason!

    Everything stated in my earlier comment is factual. The notion of "allegiance" is, in fact, medieval, and owes its origins to the feudal system. It is also a fact that the US is not a feudal state. I dare you, cherry, to show that either of these things is not true. Go ahead … I'll wait.

    Anyone who TRULY "loves" this country, must appreciate the fact that the US is beyond medieval notions like allegiance. They must be gratified that we are not serfs swearing fealty to liege-lords, we are instead citizens of a representative republic. We owe it to the people who established this country, and to everyone who "fought and died" for it since its inception, to actually put our words into action. We can start by NEVER AGAIN swearing allegiance to a flag.

  12. So what if the word allegiance has it origins in medieval times? Many of the words we use have origins that no longer apply to the usage of today. Take the word "gay" for example. It usage started in the 1200's to mean merry and lively. By the 1700s it took on a sexual connotation meaning promiscuous. By the mid 1900s the usage took on the meaning of homosexual.

    Allegiance today means loyalty. Loyalty to one's country is not wrong and our Founding Fathers were big on being loyal to their new ideals and form of government.

  13. For better or worse, words mean things. So the meaning of "allegiance" — a term which makes sense only in a feudal context — is important.

    If one wants to take a "loyalty" oath, that's certainly possible, but in the US this is done only in specific contexts … such as when joining the military. In a representative republic populated by free citizens, not everyone is forced to submit to a loyalty oath, nor should they be.

    Again, you appear to have trouble with the concept of "citizenship in a representative republic." In such a system, one's rights and responsibilities are inherent, specified by law. They are not given in exchange for an oath, or anything else. And the state is not owed loyalty by the people. The state is "owed" NOTHING by the people.

    Yes, indeed, this does in fact mean that the people are free to let the state go to pot if they choose to. That is their right under a representative republic. That is what makes it "representative"; it's an organ of the people, not the other way around. The very notion of a state being owed "allegiance" — or loyalty, or whatever name you want to slap on it — is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the US was founded on. Forcing people to say a "pledge of allegiance" is the worst kind of betrayal of the Founding Fathers that I can think of.

  14. I know of no instance where anyone has been forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I agree, no one should be forced to say it. However, if one wishes to say it, they also have that right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.