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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1363
AUTHOR: Pledge of Allegiance
QUOTATION: 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.
ATTRIBUTION: Pledge of allegiance to the flag.—36 United States Code 172 (1982 ed.).

This pledge was first used at the dedication of the World’s Fair Grounds in Chicago, Illinois, on October 21, 1892, the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America and the first celebration of Columbus Day, which had been proclaimed by the president and made a national holiday by Congress. It was published in The Youth’s Companion, September 8, 1892, p. 446, with this wording: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

No single author was named; the program bore the names of the executive committee, including the chairman, Francis Bellamy. A story in The Youth’s Companion, December 20, 1917, p. 722, credits the authorship of the pledge to James B. Upham with the assistance of the 1892 committee, but in 1939 a scholarly committee of the United States Flag Association studied the question of authorship and “decided that to Francis Bellamy unquestionably belongs the honor and distinction of being the author of the original Pledge to the Flag.”—Margarette S. Miller, I Pledge Allegiance, pp. 162–69 (1946). Also Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, p. 4 (1955). House Doc. 84–225.

The wording of the 1892 pledge was originally the twenty-two words above, but the word “to” preceding “the Republic” was added immediately after the first celebration. The First National Flag Conference, 1923, altered the wording from “my Flag” to “the Flag of the United States,” and the following year the Second National Flag Conference added “of America” to that phrase.—Miller, op. cit., pp. 156–58.

Public Law 79–287, December 28, 1945, made this officially the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. Public Law 83–396, signed on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, added the phrase “under God.”
SUBJECTS: Pledge of Allegiance