The Pledge of Allegiance was first published for Columbus Day, on September
8, 1892, in the Boston magazine The Youth's Companion. It was written
by a member of the magazine's staff, Francis Bellamy. The publication of the
Pledge, and its wide redistribution to schools in pamphlet form later that year
lead to a recitation by millions of school children, starting a tradition that
The original text is: "I pledge of allegiance to my flag and the Republic
for which it stands - One nation indivisible - with liberty and justice for
Several minor changes to the text, including changing "my flag" to
"to the Flag of the United States of America," were made over time, some
"official" and some less so.
In its 1940 Gobitis decision (310 US 586), the Supreme Court ruled
that schools can compel students to recite the Pledge. The U.S. Congress
recognized the Pledge officially in 1942, and in 1954 added the phrase "under
God" to the text. In 1943, the Supreme Court overturned Gobitis and ruled
in its Barnette decision (319 US 624) that school children could not be
forced to recite the Pledge as a part of their school day routine.
Today, the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance is set in the US Code,
at 4 USC 4. The text of that section is below.
If you would like more information on the U.S. flag, I suggest that you
visit USFlag.org, an excellent site with
lots of resources concerning the flag and its evolution.
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, "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.",
should be rendered by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand
over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their headdress with
their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the
heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the