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Pledge of Allegiance

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The nation's highest court could ultimately decide whether Colorado teachers can lead students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The state of Colorado is joining several other states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower court's decision.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the pledge violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because of the words “under God.”

Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar says the court's decision is contrary to settled law and should be reversed.

Salazar and other state attorneys general say the Supreme Court previously ruled the words don't endorse any particular religious belief.

Colorado is one of 43 states that have passed laws requiring students and teachers to say the pledge.

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History of the Pledge of Allegiance

  • In 1892, a socialist named Francis Bellamy created the Pledge of Allegiance for "Youths' Companion," a national family magazine for youth published in Boston.

  • Daniel Ford and James Upham owned the "Youth's Companion", and in 1888 the magazine began a campaign to sell American flags to the public schools.

  • By 1892, "Youth's Companion" magazine had sold American flags to about 26,000 schools.

  • Bellamy, under the supervision of Upham, wrote the program for a Columbus Day celebration, including its flag salute, the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • The original version was: "I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands -- one nation indivisible -- with liberty and justice for all."

  • This program and its pledge appeared in the Sept. 8 issue of "Youths' Companion."

  • The original Pledge was recited while giving a stiff, uplifted right hand salute, criticized and discontinued during WWII.

  • The words "my flag" were changed to "the flag of the United States of America" because it was feared that the children of immigrants might confuse "my flag" for the flag of their homeland.

  • The phrase, "Under God," was added by Congress and President Eisenhower in 1954 at the urging of the Knights of Columbus.

Source: http://www.aclu.org/news/move/pledgeorigin.html (The American Civil Liberties Union Web site)


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