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The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and magazine writer for The Youth's Companion. The Pledge was first published in 1892 in The Youth's Companion. It was included in an ad for the "Official Programme for the National Columbia Public School Celebration of October 12, 1892," a celebration of the 400 year anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. On this day in New York City, the pledge was first recited. The rest of the nation participated in the ceremony on Oct. 21, where millions of schoolchildren recited the Pledge.

In writing the Pledge, Bellamy was inspired by the great speeches of Lincoln and Webster and also by the Civil War and the slogan of the French Revolution, "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." The wording of the Pledge has been changed several times since its birth. Most of these changes were made so the Pledge would be specific and more unique to the United States.

Evolution of the Pledge of Allegiance

 1892

"I pledge allegiance to my flag
and the Republic for which it stands,
one nation, indivisible,
with liberty and Justice for all"

   

1892  

"I pledge allegiance to my flag
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation indivisible,
with liberty and Justice for all"

   

1923

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States

and to the Republic for which it stands,
one Nation indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all"
   

1924  

"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"
   

1954  

"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"


Proper Procedure During the Pledge: The Pledge of Allegiance was added to the U.S. Flag Code in 1942. The code also abolished the popular "Belamy salute" to the flag because it resembled a salute done by Nazis. The code specifies appropriate behavior of the public and the military during the recital of the Pledge.

  • Only recite or read the Pledge of Allegiance in the presence of a flag
  • Before the Pledge is recited, stand and face the flag. If something is blocking your view, face the general direction of the flag.
  • Place your right hand over your heart during the Pledge. Men wearing hats or head coverings should remove them.
  • Men and women in uniform should stand silently, facing the flag and render the military salute.

References Online Stores’ external links disclaimer. U.S. Code, Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 4. The Care and Display of the American Flag by the Editors of SharpMan.com 2004. Flag: An American Biography by Marc Leepson 2004.