Oct 16, 2010

A History of the Pledge of Allegiance

(NYTBR) Today’s conservatives often describe themselves as strict constructionists, seeking the “original meaning” of the nation’s founding texts. In the case of the Pledge of Allegiance, a much ­fetishized if not legally binding document, this approach is unlikely to yield the desired political result. As Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer note, the original author of the pledge was a former Christian Socialist minister who hoped to redeem the United States from its class and ethnic antagonisms. Interpretations of its meaning have been growing more conservative, not more liberal, ever since. Continued

Image: "Strict constructionists should note that the original pledge was accompanied by a right-side straight-arm salute, a gesture that mysteriously began to lose popularity in the 1930s."