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Francis Bellamy
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Author
    (May 18, 1855-August 28, 1931)
    Born in Mount Morris, New York
    Baptist minister, editor and author
    Co-founder of the Society of Christian Socialists (1889)
    Contributor and editor for the magazines 'Youth's Companion' (1891-95) and 'The Illustrated American' (1895-98)
    Copy writer and account executive for the Erickson Advertising Agency (1915-20)
    Wrote 'The Pledge of Allegiance' (1892)
    He ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York.
    He said about immigration from Eastern Europe, 'The people must realize their responsibility to themselves. They must guard, more jealously even than their liberties, the quality of their blood.... There are races more or less akin to our own whom we may admit freely and get nothing but advantage by the infusion of their wholesome blood. But there are other races, which we cannot assimilate without lowering our racial standard, which should be as sacred to us as the sanctity of our homes.'
    'The Pledge of Allegiance' was basically a sales gimmick, since 'Youth's Companion' had a campaign of selling American flags to public schools in order to solicit subscriptions.
    The 'Pledge' was originally accompanied by the 'Bellamy salute' in which the right arm was held out straight at a slight upward angle.
    Due to later developments in Europe, a lot of old photographs seem to have kids going 'Heil, Hitler' while facing the American flag.
    The biggest devotees of the Pledge these days are conservatives whose heads would probably asplode if they knew it had been written by a guy who got bounced from the pulpit for delivering sermons like 'Jesus the Socialist.'
    He was a critic of avarice, corruption and growing wealth disparity during the 'Gilded Age.'
    Congress amended the Flag Code to replace the Bellamy salute with holding one's hand over the heart (1942).
    The Supreme Court ruled that students cannot be forced to recite the Pledge in school (1943).
    He was not responsible for what is currently the most controversial part of the Pledge -- the words 'under God,' which were added by a Joint Resolution of Congress (1954).

Credit: C. Fishel


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