"I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA..."
Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) The Pledge of Allegiance was published here in Boston 121 years ago today, September 8, 1892, in "The Youth's Companion."
The pledge was written earlier in the same year by Edward Bellamy,* future author of "Looking Backward, 2000-1887,"** to be included as part of the 400th anniversary of the landing in America of Christopher Columbus.
Students Recite Pledge of Allegiance
Photo by Benjamin Johnston (1889)
Library of Congress Image
James Upham "conceived and promoted" the national public school celebration of Columbus Day as a means of "instilling a love (of) country...and (to) create...an ambition to carry on...the ideals of...the...founders."
Upham, who believed an American Flag should be raised over every public school building in the United States and planned to sell flags to public schools "at cost," sold 25,000 flags the very 1st year.
Mr. Upham, a promoter for "The Youth's Companion," also expected to sell more magazines in the process.
January 5, 1831
Willis and Rand
Bellamy and Upham were supported by the National Education Association in this enterprise and President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation making the public school flag ceremony the center of the Columbus Day celebration.
The Pledge of Allegiance was first used on Columbus Day, October 12, 1892.
The original 1892 Pledge was as follows...
"I pledge allegiance to my my Flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all."
The Pledge was revised as follows from 1924-1954...
"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."
In 1954, the Pledge was revised once again and has remained in this format to this day...
"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."
*Edward Bellamy (1850-1898), American author and socialist, was born in Chicopee, MA. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother was daughter of Baptist minister Benjamin Putnum who was forced to withdraw from the ministry in Salem, MA.
Bellamy worked at the NY Post and Springfield Union before becoming an author. His book, Looking Backward, sold more copies than every other book that had been published in America except "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ."
Looking Backward produced "legions of readers" who formed 162 National Clubs calling for the nationalization of private property.
Bellamy founded The New Nation magazine. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 48.
Library of Congress Photo (1889)
**"Looking Backward, 2000-1887," is a utopian sci fi novel. The main character, Julian West of Boston, falls into a deep sleep in the year 1887 and wakes up in the year 2000.
West finds himself in a nation totally transformed into a socialist utopia. The major themes of the book include problems created under a capitalist system and nationalization of all industry.
Following is a quotation from the book...
"With a tear for the dark past, turn we then to the dazzling future, and veiling our eyes, press forward. The long and weary winter of the race is ended. Its summer has begun. Humanity has burst the chrysalis. The heavens are before it."
Looking Backward Dust Jacket
Houghton Mifflin Publishers (1888)