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The Question:

Who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag?

The Answer:

The original pledge was written by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It first appeared in the Sept. 8, 1892, issue of The Youth's Companion in Boston for use in celebrating Columbus Day. It was worded as follows:

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

Bellamy added the word "to" before "the Republic" shortly after that. In 1924, the National Flag Conference changed "my Flag" to "the Flag of the United States of America," over Bellamy's protests. The pledge was recognized by Congress in 1942.

In 1954, during the height of the McCarthy era's "Red Scare," Congress voted to add the phrase "under God." The legislative history of the act explains that the change served "to deny the atheistic and materialistic concepts of communism with its attendant subservience of the individual." This resulted in the current wording:

"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."

—The Editors


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