The Pledge of Allegiance
This page is dedicated to that thing that so many take for granted and so few understand.
Francis Bellamy (1855 – 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).
Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex.
The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth’s Companion, the leading family magazine and the Reader’s Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford had enjoyed Francis’s sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford Hall Forum, located in downtown Boston. (Source.)
“Under God” added1954
(Note: it was a democrat that originally brought the bill to congress to add ‘Under God’ to the pledge)
The phrase “under God” was officially added to the Pledge of Allegiance by act of Congress in 1954, though it had been used by some groups prior to that time.
The Movement to Add “Under God” to the “Pledge of Allegiance”
Louis Bowman of Illinois added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1948, and convinced the Sons of the American Revolution (of which he was a member) and the Daughters of the American Revolution toadopt the new language. [Source: Religion and the Law in America, p. 110-12].
The Knights of Columbus are also frequently credited with adding “under God” to the pledge. In 1951 and 1952, the Knights of Columbus adopted resolutions incorporating the new “under God” language into the recitation of the pledge at their various meetings. [Source: Wikipedia entry for “Pledge of Allegiance”].
Congressional Action to Amend the Pledge
In 1953, Representative Louis Rabaut(D), a Democrat from Michigan, introduced the first bill in the U.S. Congress that would officially add “under God” to the Pledge. Rabaut’s effort was not immediately successful. It was, however, passed by Congress the following year, 1954. The Presbyterian Reverend George M. Docherty, who counted then-President Eisenhower among his congregation, was seen as influential in pushing the change. [Source: Slate.com]
In 1954, there were actually two bills introduced into Congress seeking to modify the Pledge of Allegiance by adding “under God.” The Senate passed one such bill. Congressman Rabaut, however, blocked efforts to pass that bill in the Congress, insisting that his bill be passed instead. On June 7, 1954, Congress did pass the Rabaut version, and the Senate passed the same bill on June 8, 1954. [Source: With Honor, p. 29].
The Pledge of Allegiance – Under God Explained, Red Skelton
“I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge Of Allegiance and he walked over. Mr. Lasswell was his name… He said”: “I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge Of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word:
Me; an individual; a committee of one.
Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
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.
Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.
And to the Republic
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.
For which it stands
One Nation — meaning, so blessed by God.
Incapable of being divided.
Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one’s own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.
The principle, or quality, of dealing fairly with others.
For All — which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine. And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:
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.
Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?”