1942 December 28

Congress Officially Adopts Pledge of Allegiance


Most people are surprised to learn that the Pledge of Allegiance did not have status as the official American pledge until this day. Also, the commonly used salute until then was the “Bellamy Salute” (after the author of the pledge, Francis Bellamy), which was essentially the same as — are you ready for this? — the notorious Nazi salute. Here’s a question: Why did the salute last until 1942, nine years after Hitler came to power in Germany?

Francis Bellamy, who was a Christian Socialist (a fact that Americans generally do not know) wrote the pledge on October 8, 1892, and the words “under God” were not added until June 14, 1954.

Read: Richard Ellis, To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance (2007)

Watch newsreel footage of the Bellamy Salute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zweCm7smxY

Learn more about the history of the Pledge of Allegiance: Joel Westheimer, Pledging Allegiance: The Politics of Patriotism in America’s Schools (2007)

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