Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Pledge Allegiance?

An interesting discussion started in the office this morning: how did the "Pledge of Allegiance" get started? When did its recitation in public schools become commonplace? Was this phase of American history ushered in with the renewed patriotism of the early 20th century (when American flags started being displayed in schools)? Or did it start with our 19th century ancestors?

While the phrase, "under God" has certainly been contentious in recent years, apparently the Pledge has faced controversy throughout its entire history! As I was scouring the internet for information, one fact became crystal clear: no one can exactly agree and most accounts are incredibly biased one way or another. Some consider the Pledge critical to civic engagement. Others maintain that the government doesn't have the right to mandate allegiance to a patriotic symbol. Like all written history, each account carries with it the biases of time, culture, and historian. As each filter is applied, the resulting facts are skewed to the perspective of the writer. Trying to sort out the truth can be maddening! But then again...isn't that what history is all about?

For more information (and what appears to be a fairly unbiased account), please see the embedded link...

A Brief History of the Pledge of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance has been the subject of great controversy over the last few years, but it is not the only time it has been under scrutiny since it was first published by Francis Bellamy in 1892.

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