Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance?

According to a 2013 telephone survey of 1,000 adults, 68% of respondents said they believed that American schoolchildren should say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. But how did the pledge first come to be recited in schools? The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, the son of a Baptist minister. Bellamy worked in the promotions department of a family magazine called Youth's Companion. One of his duties was to prepare a patriotic program to help schools celebrate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. This went along with a marketing campaign in which readers who sold subscriptions to the magazine would receive an American flag. Youth’s Companion decided to include a "salute to the flag" as part of the Columbus Day celebrations. Francis Bellamy took up the task and his efforts resulted in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Francis Bellamy’s original 1892 pledge was as follows: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The pledge was recited for the very first time by schoolchildren at the Columbus Day ceremonies in 1892. After some lobbying and endorsement, the pledge began to be regularly recited in schools, and by 1942, some public schools had made it obligatory. The pledge’s present form is the result of several changes that took place over many decades. Although the wording of the pledge and the obligation to recite it continue to be controversial topics, the pledge has maintained its popularity over the years. As of 2015, 46 U.S. states require their public schools to make time for the recitation of the pledge.

More about the Pledge of Allegiance:

  • In the 1920s, the phrase “the flag of the United States of America" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • The words “under God" were added to the pledge in 1954 in response to the perceived threat of Communism during the Cold War.

  • Initially, children recited the Pledge of Allegiance with a military salute to the flag. However, during World War II, saluting the flag was likened to performing the Nazi salute and this was removed entirely. Instead, students recited the pledge with their right hands over their hearts.

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More Info: Smithsonian Magazine

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