The Nationalist Pledge… was Written By a Socialist, and Was Meant to Be Paired With the “Bellamy Salute”
The U.S. Pledge of Allegiance is an oath of allegiance written by Christian socialist minister Francis Bellamy in August 1892. It was meant to be paired with a salute. The salute, called the “Bellamy salute,” notably looks a lot like “the Roman salute”. These facts together make the whole history of the Pledge a little odd.
NOTE: This story isn’t a statement on politics. It is just a quick recap of the odd history of the Pledge. Nothing less, nothing more. Liberty, equality, [fraternity,] and justice for all. Amen.
The Evolution of the Pledge of Allegiance
Bellamy based his pledge on that of officer of the U.S. Army George Thatcher Balch, his version read:
“I give my heart and my hand to my country—one country, one language, one flag.”
Bellamy’s original version read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
FACT: The Pledge was meant for citizens of all countries when it was written. Originally the passage was going to denote liberty, equality, and fraternity (the Jacobin revolutionary saying of the French Revolution often embraced by socialists).
In 1923, after being adopted by the U.S., it was changed to:
“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.”
FACT: The Pledge was used since its creation, adopted unofficially in the 20s, and formally adopted by Congress in 1942. Congress gave it the name the Pledge of Allegiance in 1945. One has to assume the concept was to make official a pledge allegiance to the U.S. to build nationalist sentiment during wartime.
Then, in response to the growing fear of Communism (which often is atheist) in the 1950s, it was changed to:
“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.”
“Fun” Facts About the Pledge of Allegiance
Consider the following facts about the Pledge:
- Although we think of the pledge as American, Bellamy’s version was written for all people of all nations.
- Although the word God wasn’t originally in Pledge, it was written by a Christian.
- Although the Pledge is a nationalist thing, it was written by a socialist.
- Part of the original idea of the Pledge was essential to give the Roman salute to the flag (it was called the Bellamy Salute). That would be essentially the same salute the fascists used in WWII.
Put it all together and it is an odd story that is likely not exactly what anyone would think.
LOL. This article was obviously written by a typical ignorant Anti-american leftist trying to portray the pledge and traditional American ideals as something bad. Sad.
…also no doubt the person who wrote this article voted for the criminal Hillary and is still bitter over fact that we now have a true patriotic and God-fearing President in Donald J. Trump.
Recanting the odd history of the pledge is not a statement against the pledge.
If anything, if I identified as “a leftist – period” I would probably be proud that a socialist wrote the pledge.
Liberty, equality, and fraternity amen.
nice idpol. now go back to /pol/
You support Trump’s white supremacist anti-Semitic xenophobic mysogenist corrupt phony Christian campaign then you are all of the above.
See my other comment.
I don’t see how offering a quick recap of our odd history makes me ignorant.
Also, nowhere here do I say anything negative about our American ideals. In fact, if you read the site, it doubles as a giant patriotic essay on the perks of liberalism and republicanism and Americanism. Sure, I’m not an America first guy, but I mean, I am a liberal republican, so how could you expect me to appreciate a know-nothing campaign of bigotry.?
Now those recent Bush and McCain speeches though, that is something I can stand for. Just like, I’ll stick with the hand over my heart and avoid the old salute.
There is absolutely nothing political in this article. You should just delete this idiot’s comments. They contain no sound or objective feedback, and only serve to proselytize his clearly delusional political beliefs.
We generally post all comments that are on topic and not overly offensive. It might not always be a benefit to the article, but it keeps things honest.
Good grief you goosesteppers are pathetic. Anything you don’t like is a lie. You are sad.
The one thing I most admire about The Pledge is the word “INDIVISIBLE.” Which of course means cannot be divided. But the nation IS divided in several ways. Perhaps there’s some esoteric symbolism to that word. It sounds very similar to INDIVIDUAL. Could there be a correlation with the kind of people who are not divided against themselves? Are these the kind of patriots who make up the best aggregate of our National soul? Words are as mysterious as numbers. They have secret meanings.
I agree. Here is an article on language as symbolism: http://factmyth.com/factoids/language-is-a-system-of-communication-that-uses-symbolism/
“Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Those are powerful words that set a very important tone.
Further “the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” That is perhaps even better.
A little identity confusion here: George Thatcher Balch graduated from West Point and was therefore an officer of the U.S. Army and wrote the pledge mentioned here. George Beall Balch was “an Admiral of Mexican American War” and had nothing to do with the pledge.
Thank you for pointing that out. That would have been hard to catch without someone mentioning it. Cheers!
I have read that claim, but I have yet to find any evidence to support it. I have not found a transcription of the version claimed to be his either.
Let me rephrase that. I’ve not found one unbiased, independent source to support it.
Regardless, Bellamy wrote the pledge and designed the salute that was marketed to American children, American educators, and to the United States government.
Not sure yet about your statement the that “The Pledge of Allegiance was Written By a Socialist” , however I do feel that everyone who wants to be an American should understand and want to pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. I notice that most students today are being taught that our form of government is a democracy. The United States is a Republic using Democratic principles. I feel ashamed that we’ve gotten to the point that we no longer have prayer in our schools, we no longer have the pledge of Allegiance to our Flag and Country in many locations, that we have terrorists teaching our youth in many locations, that we have decided to promote socialism, I guess Russia was correct, when years ago they said the “United States would fall like an overripe fruit from within” . .I guess Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the gang are really proud of themselves. I’m sure Russia is proud of them. When you have Bernie and Alexandria Ocasio-Corttez leading the parade, what else could you expect. The government that many of us grew up with, fought for, believed in and followed, I believe is gone forever. The pledge says one nation INDIVISIBLE. Since the last administration (Obama) this country has been more divided, than at any other time. Our children are no longer being taught the true values that made this country great. IT’s become a dog eat dog, who can score the best ratings so they cay keep their jobs, it doesn’t matter if the reports are true or false. It’s get President Trump out of office, so I don’t lose my perks and position. If American found out what I was really getting making on the side and how it was being done, I would lose all that. Sorry for all that, I just feel we had better values YEARS AGO THAN WHAT WE ARE SEEING TODAY. You might agree, you might not, lET ME KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE PAGES TO WRITE!
I appreciate your insight and your opinion, but I don’t think you are giving enough credit to the right for their role in this and maybe are being slightly over dramatic about the role of the left.
Obama may have divided a nation in some ways, but Trump magnified that divide taking it further than Obama ever did.
Bernie and the gang might be for social democracy, pushing Medicare for all and such, but people on the right are pushing for things like citizens united to give corporations political power.
I think we can easily point at both sides and questions if those are the best choices.
Right-wing media and left-wing media will both sometimes present a narrative or opinions over fact, even when we know they have the facts because they report it on their other shows or articles. Sometimes politicians on both sides play politics.
As for the pledge, it was written by a socialist. As for saying it, I do think it is a good way to up national pride.
I think a lot of ideas we have aren’t fully right though. I don’t think schools are as corrupting as some on the right think, and I don’t think favoring the old ways does harm to new ways the way some on the left think.
We could both go on I guess, and that is good, it is healthy to care. I don’t however think it is healthy to only understand one side of the debate.
Terrorists teaching children? Extremist McCarthyist much?
Typical of a reich winger to ignore how you treated Obama while in office. Calling the President a traitor, a Muslim, even saying he is not a citizen, or arguing about where he was born. But you claim Obama was the one dividing us? Now that Trump is getting similar treatment all you do is cry and cry and cry about it.
All of you say the exact same things over and over. Where did all of you get the idea Obama was a divider? Millions of you are proud ditto heads. Who on Earth would be proud to call themselves a repeating head? Right wingers is who. Hate the D and Obama first, America second.
Obama hate owns so much space in your head it is sad.
Truth is treason in a nation of lies. Fact is the “pledge” is definitely at least STATIST at its roots. Anything that puts children into the mindset supporting the most dangerous superstition of “authority” is not good. And for all you flag lovers out there…get a life.
Well for sure, the flag is very statist. It is the emblem of our Civil Religion and is in a sense a thing of worship. http://factmyth.com/civil-religion/
Fact. Bellamy though the head of any government should be God.
Fact. He though homosexuality was an abomination.
Fact. Bellamy though all high office leaders should be Christians with high morals.
His socialism was based on the bible, which isn’t socialism. But it was copied by socialists, and that is why it doesn’t work. It requires a servants attitude. How many people have that attitude.
“(The Pledge was) born out of my own love of the flag and for all the lofty Americanism it represented”—-He was a Nationalist like his first cousin Edward Bellamy. WHy doesn’t anyone remember his other anthem, “We give our heads and our hearts to God and our country: one country, one language, one flag.”. Maybe because it goes against his so called misunderstood socialist label.
Really interesting stuff. I have to verify, but appreciate the insight for sure! Any good sources you can share?
“One head heart and god” doesn’t exclude someone from being a socialist. Being a nationalist doesn’t preclude one from being socialist. Your whole ramble is nonsense. You dcry being a servant but have no problem pledging allegiance. Hilarious!
Socialism was not a dirty word in the 1800s, nor the early 1900s. Socialists were common and they were routinely elected to public office and placed in positions of authority in academia and social movements. Thus, except to those fed propaganda all of their lives and still remain ignorant about political and American history despite reading the works of “Christian historians” (“Christian historian” should be an immediate red flag regarding accuracy and objectivity for Christ’s sake), Bellamy being a Socialist was not and is not controversial.
The American Pledge of Allegiance was intended to promote unity and loyalty to the US Constitution, its foundational promises and protections, and the nation governed by it. Its purpose, aside from James B. Upham selling flags to every school and government office in a country that until then did not salute any flag, and flew flags only on military grounds, was to foster citizens’ unity in a nation of immigrants; unity as one regardless of country of origin, ethnicity, race, or culture. It was an inclusionary symbol and pledge, not exclusionary. Reference to God was intentionally left out for that reason.
James B. Upham also sold portraits of George Washington to every school, which is why since his successful marketing strategy, American children grew up with a portrait of George Washington in every public school classroom and principals’ office in the country. Like so many others in the private sector, he used the instruments of government to enrich himself.
In the 1800s, lack of belief in any kind of God at all was not a common topic because almost no one or their societies around the world had yet evolved to that point in their thinking. Therefore, Bellamy’s faith is irrelevant to this topic.
Further, the current application of fundamentalist-Christian moral positions and theologies onto historical figures who were Christian is misrepresentation of Christianity in its various forms historically. Belief in God or a god, or even being a self-proclaimed Christian, does not inherently mean being on the same page about morality, theology, and/or social issues. That means those doing it routinely misrepresent historical figures.
The same projection of American-created Christian fundamentalism doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of current varieties of Christianity, not only around the world, but in their own country the United States.
In summary, you are making erroneous leaps of logic and your facts about Bellamy are entirely irrelevant to this topic.
I am of one accord with Larry. I would love to see the county once again embrace good old Republican values. Under Eisenhower, this county enjoyed economic growth and prosperity. The tax base was well supported by a structure that could afford to build highways, bridges, schools before trickle-down economics robbed the middle class and the supreme court gave corporations the same rights as individuals that has evolved into political power and corruption. The environmentalism of Roosevelt and Nixon (I know, he is not a popular president but he saw the benefits of protecting our resources) that preserved land for our National Park system and protected clean air and water has been tossed aside for corporate profits. The caution of one of this country’s greatest generals against privatization of the military complex is being ignored and sinking us into debt. I don’t recognize my party any longer but instead of throwing stones at the other party I would like to see my party recapture its bearings and find a way to lead the country back from the brink.
But as a Christian I also believe for everything there is a season and perhaps capitalism has grown beyond our capacity to align it with individuals’ right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I know it in no way supports the Sermon on the Mount to feed the hungry or heal the sick. So if we are entering a new season we need to take three steps back or one giant leap forward. Either way, if we stay in this quagmire we (both parties) are going to drown in our own self righteous and indignation.
Trump is a liar [edited].
List the lie. I think if Trump lied–we have the right to know. Keyboard it in if you discover one.
There are several errors–even who wrote the Pledge–go back and read an old History book and then try again.
It is so interesting that I just read this! I would have to say that “the more I think I know, after much research, the less I really know”, because there is so much that we haven’t been told, so much that goes on behind the scenes, and so much “religious” philosophy, including errant “religious” philosophy…I have had to unlearn almost everything I have ever known to be true, and start over again, because, previously, I just opened my head and let others pour information in, and I jumped on band wagons, because I was searching for “something”, but YHVH, the Creator of the Universe, got hold of me, and has been leading me into ALL TRUTH, and Truth is true, with or without our consent, as a born again believer, I give consent to the Truth! Never knew that before, in spite of church, state, and “education”. I don’t know as I was actually rebelling against anything, just drifting! Sad to say. For instance, I did NOT know that even the modern calendar is a LIE! Sep doesn’t mean 9, in Latin, it means 7, Oct is 8, (an octagon has 8 sides, NOT 10), Nov is 9, NOT 11, and a Decimeter is 1/10th of a meter, NOT 1/12th. Also, the moonths, are supposed to be determined by the phases of the moon, but they are not.And the Biblically, Agriculturally, and Astronomically correct calendar requires the “beginning of moonts”, to start in the moonth of the Aviv, in the Spring, NOT in the middle of the year, at the winter solstice. There is so much more, but maybe this will make you think. I”m not telling you what to think, but just to think. Baruch B’Shem Yeshua, P.S. BTW, although some say that the Advanced Courses in the schools are NOT elitist, bigotted, and racist”, I beg to differ, and I was monitoring this and doing research on it 30 years ago. The Advanced courses are where the “educationists” put all of the dark stuff, like “choosing your own poltergeist”, “automatic writing”, and required reading of “stories” like “Waiting for Godot”, where a young man, waiting for his friend, “hangs himself to get an erection”. Then they tell everyone, “this is what the really smart kids believe”. Yikes! I”m NOT making this up!
“one Nation under God”
— see the difference?
I think the term “nationalist” is incorrectly used, whether in this article or in the citations. “Nationalistic” is the word you are looking for. But the Pledge was adopted to promote “nationalism” during the war. The old, original definition concerned a “sense of national unity and identity”, while the current definition makes nationalism sinister.
The pledge of allegiance was expected from from members of the Red civil states that lost the war by the confederacy and the simple bastards flipped the story, lol NO!
That was a different oath. The confederate states would not have suffered it, which they did, if Lincoln had not been assassinated, and by one of their own to boot.
I forgot to add another reason I find the George Thacher Balch pledge story suspect. His pledge supposedly was, “I give my heart and my hand to my country—one country, one language, one flag.” That’s mighty convenient given the long period between his supposedly creating that pledge and Americans holding their hands over their hearts during the Pledge of Allegiance. Americans did not start saluting the flag that way until the 1920s and it didn’t become official for all Americans to do it that way until 1942.
I suspect exaggerated family myth has made its way into contemporary publishing by less-than fastidious historians and amateur historians. Unfortunately, that is more common than not.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.