“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.”
These words were adopted by Congress on June 22, 1942. It was the final evolution of the original pledge written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. (The words “under God” were added in 1954.)
Bellamy was a Baptist minister and Christian socialist, and he was the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. He wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance for publication in a children’s magazine as part of a national public school celebration of Columbus Day. The event was conceived by James B. Upham, a marketer for the magazine, as a campaign to instill the idea of American nationalism by selling flags to public schools and magazines to students.
I don’t know if it’s still done; but for many years, schoolchildren across the South recited the pledge each morning. Political rallies and government meetings are often begun with a recitation of the pledge.
People say it with patriotic fervor, with their hands placed dutifully on their hearts. They don’t realize its value as a propaganda tool. The Nation was not conceived as “indivisible,” though the War of Northern Aggression made it so.
Now, thousands of people who have dutifully and with patriotic spirit recited that pledge are signing online petitions to secede peacefully from the union. What will they say next time they recite the pledge?