The Pledge of Allegiance is not Patriotic.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy (1855), a Baptist minister. Not only was he a socialist, but he also felt that Christ himself was a socialist to the point that he did a series of sermons entitled “The Socialism of the Primitive Church,” specially a sermon named “Jesus the Socialist,” and was subsequently pressured to resign.[1] In “The Pledge of Allegiance, a Centennial History,” John Baer explains this in more detail:

“Francis Bellamy’s cousin, Edward Bellamy, was then famous as the author of the best-sellers ‘Looking Backward’ and ‘Equality’ and was leader of a socialist movement called ‘Nationalism.’ Both books advocated a socialist utopian state with political, social and economic equality for all, operated by the federal government. Francis Bellamy was a vice-president of the Christian Society of Socialists, an auxiliary of his cousin’s ‘Nationalism’ movement. In 1891, Bellamy was forced to resign from his Boston Pastorate because the conservative businessmen of the ‘Committee on Christian Work of the Baptist Social Union’ withheld additional funds for his work. The Committee complained of Bellamy’s increased socialist sermons and activities.”[2]

Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward” was a book that “describes the future United States as a regimented worker’s paradise where everyone has equal incomes, and men are drafted into the country’s ‘industrial army’ at the age of 21, serving in the jobs assigned them by the state.”[3]

Meanwhile, the former minister Francis Bellamy was hired by “Youth’s Companion”, a family magazine owned by fellow socialist Daniel Ford. He wrote the Pledge to accompany the magazine’s campaign to sell magazine subscriptions by rewarding schoolchildren with an American flag for every one hundred sales. Incidentally, schools rarely displayed the flag prior to this campaign. This was all done in partnership with the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair) to be done on the 400th anniversary of Columbus Day. As it happens, “[t]he entire Columbus Day celebration was calculated, as Theodore Roosevelt approvingly observed, to inculcate a ‘fervent loyalty to the flag,’ and Bellamy himself viewed his Pledge as an ‘inoculation’ that would protect immigrants and native-born but insufficiently patriotic Americans from the ‘virus’ of radicalism and subversion.”[4]

The original Pledge of Allegiance was published September 8, 1892 and read:

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

It wasn’t until decades later that changes like “to the flag of the United States of America” (1923-24) and the addition of “Under God” (1954) took place. Fear of change has been at the heart of much of this history, though the Pledge was a change in and of itself. Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Students_pledging_allegiance_to_the_American_flag_with_the_Bellamy_saluteAllegiance when there were concerns about mass immigration, the word “Indivisible” was a reference to secession and the word “Allegiance” was inspired by the Oath of Allegiance that Lincoln required of the Confederacy, and the later addition of “Under God” was done in response to fears regarding communism. Also, originally the Pledge was performed with a military salute similar to that used by the Nazis, so in 1942 it was changed to the right hand over the heart in an attempt to break from that image. This was after the Parent and Teachers Association, the Boy and Girl Scots, the Red Cross, and the Federation of Women’s Clubs had all objected because of that similarity.

However, all of this aside, there is the question of whether the Founding Fathers would actually have supported such a pledge to begin with.  We are teaching the Pledge of Allegiance, which in essence is a loyalty oath, to children too young to comprehend the words they are saying. What use is an oath that is not understood by those speaking it but indoctrination? Early loyalty oaths in the United States said nothing of the flag or of nationalism, merely requiring that those taking the oath support the *principles* of the Constitution and protect this country against all enemies. This country is not the federal government, but rather the people, and to promise to protect against all enemies *includes* against the United States government when it is overstepping its Constitutional role. Even oaths of that nature were debated by the Founding Fathers who had varying opinions on taking a loyalty oath at all. Among some of the objections from that time was that of Constitutional Convention Delegate James Wilson who said that “a good government did not need them and a bad one could not or ought not to be supported” and Noah Webster who called them “instruments of slavery.”[5]

Maybe keep all this in mind the next time you see someone rant about the principles of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution while also citing the patriotism of things like the Pledge of Allegiance.


 

[1] Toulouse, Mark G. God in Public: Four Ways American Christianity and Public Life Relate. P. 69

[2] http://truthinhistory.org/to-pledge-or-not-to-pledge.html

[3] http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/whats-conservative-about-pledge-allegiance

[4] http://reason.com/archives/2010/12/16/face-the-flag

[5] http://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Oath-of-Office/

2 thoughts on “The Pledge of Allegiance is not Patriotic.

  1. ! Some of you people are so brain waeshd that words automatically go in your ears and get twisted up before they make it to your brain. READ about your country, Read about the banking industry. Assuming you can comprehend it, you might feel like he does. This is also NOT a Color issue. We AMERICANS or I should say you U.S. Citizens are all in the same boat. Unfortunately for Lupe, he is awake. He see’s shit for what it really is, and its lonely when you’re awake while everyone is sleeping and/or sleep walking while talking in their sleep making no fucking sense and believing their dream is real. Ugh I just pray that when the planets align it will shake folks awake and we can start over in this country, cuz everybody is a slave at this point.

    • I’m vaguely aware of what I think (?) you are referring to, which is Lupe Fiasco’s statements about not feeling comfortable pledging allegiance. My own opinions are not connected to the statements he has made or for necessarily the same reasons he feels that way, but I think the key is that people definitely DO need to think about the words. If someone wants to pledge, that’s their choice, but I hate seeing people being essentially zombies who just recite it as they learned it and have never given it a second thought.

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