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What Does The Pledge of Allegiance REALLY Mean?

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  1. Our founding fathers did not write the pledge of alliegiance. So how could they be charged knowing it meaning? But I do believe you are right about know about its meaning.Francis Bellamy (1855 – 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).

    Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex.

    The Pledge was published in the September 8th issue of The Youth’s Companion, the leading family magazine and the Reader’s Digest of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Francis in 1891 as his assistant when Francis was pressured into leaving his baptist church in Boston because of his socialist sermons. As a member of his congregation, Ford had enjoyed Francis’s sermons. Ford later founded the liberal and often controversial Ford Hall Forum, located in downtown Boston.

    In 1892 Francis Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools’ quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute – his ‘Pledge of Allegiance.’

    His original Pledge read as follows: ‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag and (to*) the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ He considered placing the word, ‘equality,’ in his Pledge, but knew that the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans. [ * ‘to’ added in October, 1892. ]

    Dr. Mortimer Adler, American philosopher and last living founder of the Great Books program at Saint John’s College, has analyzed these ideas in his book, The Six Great Ideas. He argues that the three great ideas of the American political tradition are ‘equality, liberty and justice for all.’ ‘Justice’ mediates between the often conflicting goals of ‘liberty’ and ‘equality.’

    In 1923 and 1924 the National Flag Conference, under the ‘leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge’s words, ‘my Flag,’ to ‘the Flag of the United States of America.’ Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored.

    In 1954, Congress after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, added the words, ‘under God,’ to the Pledge. The Pledge was now both a patriotic oath and a public prayer.

    Bellamy’s granddaughter said he also would have resented this second change. He had been pressured into leaving his church in 1891 because of his socialist sermons. In his retirement in Florida, he stopped attending church because he disliked the racial bigotry he found there.

    What follows is Bellamy’s own account of some of the thoughts that went through his mind in August, 1892, as he picked the words of his Pledge:

    It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution…with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…

    The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands.’ …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?

    Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity.’ No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all…

    If the Pledge’s historical pattern repeats, its words will be modified during this decade. Below are two possible changes.

    Some prolife advocates recite the following slightly revised Pledge: ‘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, born and unborn.’

    A few liberals recite a slightly revised version of Bellamy’s original Pledge: ‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with equality, liberty and justice for all.’

    Good Day

  2. I appreciate this explanation of the meaning of our Pledge of Allegiance. As a child in school during the sixties and early seventies, I was taught tolerance, respect, and the meaning of hard work. These three attributes, along with many others, help to build good people who know the importance of being kind, charitable, and having an understanding heart. These attributes are no longer taught in school, nor is the pledge recited in most schools to help teach the importance of a free society, and one that holds personal liberties as a standard. I currently teach a den of Cub Scouts and at the beginning of each meeting we hold a flag ceremony and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. We have studied the meaning of the pledge and the flag and the respect that is due to such a standard. Many wars have been fought where this flag was flown as a sign of hope and endurance to those around. I have had relatives who fought in the Civil War, Korean, Vietnam, and Afghanistan wars and they each wore on their uniforms this great flag. Many countries around the world, and many churches have flags that represent their beliefs and values. When individuals become a Citizen of this country, they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I will always stand, place my hand over my heart and Pledge Allegiance to a flag that represents this great nation, and for the principles for which the colors represent: White – Purity and Courage; Red – Valor, Heartiness and Bravery; and Blue – Justice, Freedom and Perseverance. May we all never forget the many sacrifices it has taken to keep those colors flying!

  3. “Indivisible”- Impenetrable, inseparable, joined, permanent,unbreakable, unified indissoluble

    Which founding father would have gone for this? Well, maybe a couple of the Federalist who also wanted the president to be more like a kingship. Lincoln wouldn’t have been all that popular with most of the Founders either.

  4. this is so not true

  5. Essentially when we pledge the flag we do not automatically promote what is disclosed in it. In simple terms, just because we pledge to a “flag” doeasn’t mean we are fullfing a man made law of obedience to a country. If we are to truely fullfil the law of this very country we are to abide by the laws that have been established, not merely recite a pledge that means nothing. Actions speak louder than words. So to those who believe not reciting the plege is a bad thing, you are fools! You have become a slave to a “man made law”! This is why jehovah’s witnesses don’t pledge as they feel they are idolizing a mere flag when it is intructed in the Bible that all worship belongs to the God Almighty. Our nation has been brain washed into a systematic way of living and few people know what they are doing when they recite the “pledge of alligience”.

    • When we recite the pledge of allegiance we are not reciting it to a flag or a man made law we are basically thanking God for the wonderful land he has given us because this is the new Zion and holy land.

    • We say the pledge in the direction of the flag, but we do not say the pledge for the flag. We say the pledge to our country. God helped our founding fathers to shape our country. So when we say the pledge we are not pledging our allegiance (loyalty) to our flag, we are pledging our allegiance to our country.