History of the Pledge of Allegiance
Most of us grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school, but the version we know has changed over the years.
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by minister Francis Bellamy in August 1892. It was first published in The Youth’s Companion on 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.”
The words, “of the United States of America” were added in 1923. The pledge now read:
“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.”
The phrase “under God” was the last addition to the Pledge in 1954. President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words in response to the Communist threat of the times. This brings us to the current version that we recite today:
“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.”
Initially, the original Pledge of Allegiance was accompanied by the Bellamy Salute, which was described in the 1892 Youth Companion as:
At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.
This was later dropped during World War II due to the similarity to the Nazi salute. Instead, we now place our hand over our heart.