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Opinion >  Letters

Bellamy and the pledge

I think Moltafet and Sonnichsen’s piece on The Pledge (“We the people: How pledge of allegiance evolved to version we have today,” July 25) left out some pertinent information.

Francis Bellamy worked for Youth’s Companion, a magazine that paid its bills by engaging in direct marketing, in this case, the selling of flags to schools. They succeeded in getting many thousands of schools to buy their flags, but by 1892 sales had slumped, so they came up with the idea of a ceremony in which all children should participate as a way to put moral pressure on school districts and sell more flags. That’s where The Pledge came in - it was part of a marketing strategy.

The authors write that “He considered other endings but opted for simplicity.” That’s oversimplified. The other ending he considered included “equality and fraternity,” but he said those concepts were “too many thousands of years off in realization.” So, although there may have been an intention to integrate immigrants and make them feel accepted, he knew that was pie in the sky.

Not only was Bellamy a lifelong socialist, he believed Jesus was a socialist, and he was drummed out of his church in Boston for preaching against the evils of capitalism. He moved to Florida where he eventually quit attending church altogether because of the local Christians’ support for racial injustice.

Michael Schneider


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