History of Pledge of Allegiance


Pledge Written

August 1892

by Francis Bellamy

Pledge Published

September 1892

in the The Youth's Companion

First Law about Reciting

April 22, 1898

The first law is passed about requiring pledge recitation in schools in New York

Words Changed

1923 - 1924

from "I pledge allegiance to my flag" to "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America" by the National Flag Congress

Minersville School District v. Gobitis

June 3, 1940

Lillian and William Gobitis were expelled from their school for refusing to salute the flag at school every day. They were Jehovah's witnesses and believed this went against the bible. The Supreme Court upheld the mandatory flag salute. This means that kids could be expelled for refusing to recite the pledge.

Eight Section Act Passed

June 22, 1942

The 77th Congress passed an eight section act that officially recognized the pledge. The flag code becomes law.

Salute Change

December 22, 1942

Congress changes the mandatory flag salute to hand over heart from the previous salute of straight arm.

West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette

June 14, 1943

Required that all students and staff were to salute the flag every day at school. Refusal to do so was insubordination. The Supreme Court ruled that compelling kids to salute the flag every day was unconstitutional. This reversed the ruling from the previous case of Minersville School District v. Gobitis.

Sons of the American Revolution

February 12, 1948

The chaplain includes "under God" in pledge recitation

Knights of Columbus

April 1951

The Knights of Columbus adopt a resolution to amend the pledge to have the words "under god"

Hearst Newspapers

1952 - 1954

Begin a campaign to add "under God" to the pledge

House and Senate Introduce Bills


Introduce bills to add "under God" into pledge

Rep. Louis Rabaut

April 1953

He introduces a bill to Congress proposing that the pledge include the words "one nation under God"

Rev. George M. Docherty

February 1954

He gave a sermon while President Eisenhower was in attendance. He argues that the words "under God" should be added so it would be differentiated from the one recited by communist heathens in Moscow.

Flag Day

June 14, 1954

Eisenhower signs the bill to include the words "under God" in the pledge

Federal Ruling

June 27, 2002

A federal appeals court rules that it is unconstitutional for public schools to recite the pledge because of the words "under God," that is an endorsement of religion

Jane Doe v. Acton Boxborough Regional School District


A group of parents and teachers claimed the use of "Under God" in the pledge violated the equal protection clause of the state's constitution. Supreme Court did not agree with them, they ruled that it does not violate the constitution nor the statute.