Since today is the Fourth of July—Independence Day—I figured I would write a post about the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by a socialist minister named Francis Bellamy. It is important to note that the original was quite different than what is recited today and historically underwent two critical changes.
Here is the original version:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923, “the United States of America” was added and “my” was changed to “the”:
“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.”
Finally, in 1954, the phrase “under God” was added, particularly in response to fears over Communist threats.
“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.”
I found it interesting that the Pledge of Allegiance in its current state is essentially a 20th century construct. It makes sense, though. This was a period that saw the rise of nationalism throughout the world, as well as McCarthyism in the US, requiring citizens to demonstrate their loyalty to country. But I think what is most fascinating is that it was a socialist who composed the original words, and that as a minister Bellamy did not include any reference to God. The fact that the mention of God is a fairly recent addition says a lot. Also, it should be noted that Francis Bellamy’s daughter opposed the mention of God in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Anyway, here is the link to the source material I read.