Pledge of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance is an expression of loyalty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892 and formally adopted by Congress as the pledge in 1942. The Pledge has been modified four times since its composition.
- I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
- Original language of the pledge as first used at the dedication of the World's Fair Grounds in Chicago, Illinois (October 21, 1892), the four hundredth anniversary of the Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas and the first celebration of Columbus Day, which had been proclaimed by the U.S. president and made a national holiday by the U.S. Congress; published in The Youth's Companion (September 8, 1892), p. 446. No individual author was named; the program bore the names of the executive committee, including the chairman, Francis Bellamy. A story in The Youth's Companion (December 20, 1917, p. 722), credits the authorship of the pledge to James B. Upham with the assistance of the 1892 committee, but in 1939 a scholarly committee of the United States Flag Association studied the question of authorship and "decided that to Francis Bellamy unquestionably belongs the honor and distinction of being the author of the original Pledge to the Flag". Margarette S. Miller, I Pledge Allegiance (1946), p. 162–69. Also, Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag (1955), p. 4, House Doc. 84–225. The wording of the 1892 pledge was originally the twenty-two words above, but the word "to" preceding "the Republic" was added immediately after the first celebration. The First National Flag Conference, 1923, altered the wording from "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States," and the following year the Second National Flag Conference added "of America" to that phrase.—Miller, op. cit., p. 156–58. Public Law 79–287, December 28, 1945, made this officially the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Public Law 83–396, signed on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, added the phrase "under God".
- 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.
- Pledge of allegiance to the flag, 36 United States Code 172 (1982 ed.).
- [T]he pledge of allegiance to the flag, 'I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all', is rendered by standing with the right hand over the heart. However, civilians will always show full respect to the flag when the pledge is given by merely standing at attention, men removing the headdress.
- § 7 of House Joint Resolution 359, approved December 22, 1942, 56 Stat. 1074, 36 U.S.C. (1942 Supp.) § 172, 36 U.S.C.A. § 172.
- But the public display of religion is not God. We do not put God in our nation's life by placing the Ten Commandments in courthouses, nor do we evict God by removing the Ten Commandments from public property. God is not portable. Bland prayers, offered as noncontroversial formalities after the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance do little to honor God.
- John Danforth, Faith and Politics (2006), p. 66.
- We think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.
- Robert H. Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943).
- In Barnette, we held that a public school student could not be compelled to recite the Pledge; we did not even hint that she could not be compelled to observe respectful silence. . . . Logically, that ought to be the next target for the Court's bulldozer.
- If I may I would like to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and give you a definition for each word.
I—me, an individual, a committee of one.
Pledge—dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
Allegiance—my love and my devotion.
To the Flag—our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.
Of the United—that means that we have all come together. States—individual communities that have united into 48 great states, 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.
And to the Republic—a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
which it stands.
One nation—meaning, so blessed by God.
Indivisible—incapable of being divided.
With liberty—which is freedom and the right of power to live one's own life without threats or fear or some sort of retaliation.
And justice—The principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
For all—which means "it's as much your country as it is mine".
- Red Skelton, remarks in the House, Flag Day (June 14, 1972), Congressional Record, vol. 118, p. 20859.
- There is much more to being a patriot and a citizen than reciting the pledge or raising a flag. Patriots serve. Patriots vote. Patriots attend meetings in their community. Patriots pay attention to the actions of government and speak out when needed. Patriots teach their children about our history, our precious democracy and about citizenship. Being an active, engaged citizen means being a patriotic American every day. No law will make a citizen a patriot.