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The Pledge of Allegiance and the Oath of Allegiance

 

The pledge in its current form was composed in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy. The version officially adopted by Congress in 1942 reads: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands,

one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  In the midst of the Cold War, the words “under God” were added by a joint resolution of Congress The pledge and its addition are controversial. In 1943, the Supreme Court reversed itself 

and ruled that public school students did not have to recite the pledge, and in a later case the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that students did not have to stand for the pledge either. The pledge remains controversial; the most current 

rulings allow the words “under God” to remain as long as reciting the pledge is voluntary.

 

The Oath of Allegiance required of new citizens is different: 

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support 

and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the

United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; 

so help me God."   This oath can be modified or waived in certain circumstances, according to Chapter 5 of “A Guide to Naturalization,” which notes that “so help me God” can be left out upon request to USCIS, without evidence or testimony.