Francis Bellamy (1855 - 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance in August 1892. Bellamy, in his sermons, lectures and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all.

Bellamy's pledge was published in the Sept. 8, 1892 issue of "The Youth's Companion," the leading family magazine and the "Reader's Digest" of its day. Its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, had hired Bellamy in 1891 as his assistant when he was pressured into leaving his Baptist church in Boston because of his socialist views.

In 1892 Bellamy was also a chairman of a committee of state superintendents of education in the National Education Association. As its chairman, he prepared the program for the public schools' quadricentennial celebration for Columbus Day in 1892. He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute, featuring his pledge to the flag.

The original pledge read as follows: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." He considered placing the word equality in his pledge, but knew the state superintendents of education on his committee were against equality for women and African Americans.

After the Columbus Day celebration, the pledge became a popular daily routine in America's public schools, but gained little attention elsewhere for almost 25 years.

In 1924 at the National Flag Conference, the leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge's words, "my Flag," to "the Flag of the United States of America."

The Pledge of Allegiance continued to be recited daily by children in schools across America, and gained heightened popularity among adults during the patriotic fervor created by World War II.

It still was an "unofficial" pledge until June 22, 1942 when Congress included the pledge in the U.S. Flag Code (Title 36). This was the first official sanction given to the words that had been recited each day by children for almost 50 years.

One year after receiving this official sanction, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school children could not be forced to recite the pledge as part of their daily routine. In 1945, the pledge received its official title as The Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pledge of Allegiance contained no general reference to God until the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus adopted a resolution urging that the words "under God" be added after "one nation." Copies of this resolution were sent to the president, the vice president, and the speaker of the House of Representatives in 1952 and again in 1953.

As a direct result of this campaign, a resolution was adopted by both houses of Congress and signed by President Dwight Eisenhower on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, making official the amendment.

"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war," said Eisenhower.

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