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Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Pledge Allegiance To The Flag, Part 2

Modern Americans associate the Pledge of Allegiance with patriotism. If one refuses to say the pledge, they are looked down upon as being at the least, unpatriotic, and at most, a communist. If the Pledge is your standard of patriotism, how were men judged to be patriots before the Pledge was even in existence? George Washington, John Tyler, Patrick Henry, along with all the rest of the Founding Fathers never said the Pledge. As of this year, America and the Philippines are the only two countries that have a Pledge.

So let's take a look at the author of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Francis Bellamy was born in 1855, in New York, six years before the War for Southern Independence. His Socialist attitude was obvious early on, as he gave a lecture lauding the ideals of the French Revolution at his commencement ceremony. As he became older, he became more and more radical. As a Baptist pastor, he was even kicked out of his own church because of his communistic philosophies. He became a member of the American Socialist party, and was one of the first to promote the idea of National Socialism (Nazism). It was during this time he came up with the idea for a Pledge of Allegiance. The original Pledge, written in 1892, 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.

Bellamy was a big fan of Lincoln's war goal, which was: to revolutionize government into a centralized bureaucracy from a constitutional republic. The phrasing, of the original pledge, was drawn from the oath of allegiance that former Confederate veterans were forced to swear, or be shot. Bellamy commented on his choice of words and the reason for a pledge:

It began as an intensive communing with the salient points of our national history; from the Declaration of Independence onward, with the making of the Constitution, with the meaning of the Civil War, with the aspiration of the people....The true reason for allegiance to the flag is the republic for which it stands. And what does that vast thing "the republic" mean? It is the concise political word for the nation, the one nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make the "one nation" idea clear, we must say that it is indivisible as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches.

On the prerogative of children's education.

It belongs irrevocably to the state.


The Pledge went through two more revisions. The phrase "under God" was the last revision, added in 1954.
Although Bellamy died in 1931, he had made a large impact on the American philosophy of patriotism.

Next time, we will look at the implications of the pledge.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Ana Smith said...

Another example of how long Socialism has had hold on our country.

July 4, 2008 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Gravelbelly said...

Insightful. It took me many years to realize that the the pledge to the flag is a form of oath. Just what do we bind ourselves to by that oath?

Moreover, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Mormons and Hindus all take that oath with the words "under God." In the name of whose god do we make this pledge? Is it a god supposedly common to all religions? Or is the pledge meant as a meeting place for the gods of all religions?

Either way, I can no longer say the pledge in good conscience. (Can you say syncretism?)

July 5, 2008 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger Stephen Boyd said...

Great comments, everyone!

July 5, 2008 at 10:11 AM  

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