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.
- The Pledge of Allegiance
- Francis Bellamy
- George Thatcher Balch
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist… and one was supposed to give a version of the Roman salute called the Bellamy salute to the flag.
It is rather strange back story given the events of the 20th century. That is, the nationalist Pledge, was written by a socialist, and involved giving a Roman salute. That is all a little national socialist-y.