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Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?

We are all well acquainted with the pledge of allegiance. What a lot of people don't know is the interesting bit of history that goes along with it. Take a peek into the life of Francis Bellamy and the controversies surrounding the creation of the Pledge.
What is the Pledge of Allegiance? The Pledge of Allegiance is a small text in which the person taking it swears his/her allegiance to the country. It is like a promise to the nation to honor the nation, its flag and its people. It is truly among the most patriotic texts, and the whole point of it has been to instill the love for the country in the person.

Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance and Why

The pledge of allegiance was first written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. Francis Bellamy was a Baptist minister and a Christian socialist who believed that the pledge was necessary to instill the feeling of patriotism and love for the country from a very young age. Although the original text has seen quite a few changes over the years, the underlying meaning remains the same: to pledge allegiance to the United States of America, its flag and its people.

The pledge, despite its several changes over the years, still remains one of the major fixtures in public schools. Taking the pledge of allegiance is mandatory in public schools under the laws of the country. The pledge is also taken at other events of national importance, such as Congressional sessions and other meetings of lower governments as well. The meetings of several other organizations too start by taking the Pledge of Allegiance before commencing with their set agenda.

Changes in the Pledge of Allegiance

The words of the Pledge of Allegiance have been changed several times over the past 118 years. The words have been altered a few times over the years. Here are the different texts for the Pledge of Allegiance. The changes have been underlined.

1892: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

1892 - 1923: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."

1923 - 1924: "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 - 1954: ""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"

Controversies

The Pledge of Allegiance has been dogged with controversies for pretty much all its existence. People have debated for years whether it is really logical to make the children at an age where they don't really understand or appreciate the Pledge, to take it. The Pledge is supposed to proclaim the love for the country, but do the small children really understand the underlying meaning and importance of the Pledge? Another point of debate is if the Pledge is indeed a good way of instilling the love for one's country in a person. The love for the country cannot be instilled by forcibly making people take the pledge, but can be instilled instead by highlighting the glory of the nation through its history and achievements. The most recent debate that the Pledge has sparked is about the addition of the words 'under God'. some communities feel that it encroaches upon their fundamental right of practicing any religion of their choice. The words 'under God' were added due to pressure from groups-Jehovah's Witnesses spearheading the lot-who refused to pledge allegiance to anything or anyone apart from God.

So now I believe you have your answer to the question: The Pledge was originally written by Francis Bellamy, and despite all the changes in the words, the Pledge will always be credited to him.
By Arjun Kulkarni
Published: 2/3/2010
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