Was the Pledge of Allegiance a Marketing Ploy?

It all began as a advertising ployThe American Pledge of Allegiance. Source: Flickr. License: CC by SA 2.0Last week, my good friend and I had been speaking about the schooling programs of America and India. One factor led to a different, and we ended up speaking about the Pledge of Allegiance.I informed her that even right now, each time I hear the Pledge or the National Anthem, I’ve this inside urge to face up and be stoic.She began laughing and nodding her head as a result of she felt the identical.The factor is, this sense is acquainted and worldwide. Most of us have been skilled to correlate the Pledge with respect for the nation.Yet, only a few know the historical past and significance of such pledges.When I informed my good friend about a piece of historical past I had examine the American Pledge of Allegiance, she was shocked. She had by no means heard of it earlier than.And that was after I realized it was most likely an obscure piece of historical past.The American Pledge of Allegiance might be one of the few pledges to place a lot of give attention to a nation’s flag.I can perceive individuals, faith, values, and so on. But a flag?Well, there may be a motive for that.Schoolhouse Flag MovementThe late 1800s noticed a appreciable spike in immigrants coming to America. Thousands of individuals from completely different cultures working towards completely different traditions and holding completely different values entered the nation each single day.And to instill a sense of loyalty and friendship amongst all Americans, the authorities launched some campaigns.For instance, the motion to have the American flag in each classroom.Patriotic societies like the Grand Army of the Republic and the Woman’s Relief Corps needed the American flag in each public faculty classroom.“The reverence of schoolchildren for the flag needs to be like that of the Israelites for the Ark of the Covenant…” — Quoted in Fatherly, stated by William Warner at a rally in 1889.The initiative, aptly termed the Schoolhouse Flag Movement, aimed to heal the wounds of the Civil War. It additionally bolstered that America is one nation with shared values — justice and liberty for all.And the marketing campaign appeared to work. Kids grew to be patriotic residents with a sense of nationwide identification.But of course, that was simply the starting.In 1827, the Youth Companion Magazine started as a kids’s journal. It was a weekly periodical to infuse ethical and non secular values into children.However, even after 30 years of onerous work, the journal solely had about 7000 subscribers. It was too philosophical for youths.Daniel Sharp Ford, who purchased the journal in 1857, needed to alter its outlook. He wished to seize all reader segments and make it a worthwhile enterprise.So, he and his staff used intelligent advertising methods, like incentivizing referrals.Ford needed to reward loyal readers with watches, stitching machines, and pianos primarily based on the quantity of individuals they referred. The firm additionally provided small items to its subscribers on a common foundation.Yes, it was the pyramid scheme of the nineteenth century.The marketing campaign labored, and the journal’s subscriber base grew to over half a million by the late 1800s. Several famous authors like Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Helen Keller, and Emily Dickinson wrote for this journal.The as soon as uninteresting journal was a common household entertainer.And but, the firm had greater plans.In 1888, when the Schoolhouse Flag Movement turned widespread, John Bailey Upham, the head of the ‘Premium Offerings Department’ of the Youth Magazine, got here up with an ingenious concept.He created promotional items round patriotism and nationwide loyalty.Upham’s campaigns made it appear to be the journal’s imaginative and prescient was to instill patriotic values in the majority, not simply children. Every different problem, there can be one thing associated to patriotism — be it articles, songs, footage, items, and so on.The drive was such a large hit that the firm bought tens of 1000’s of flags, and its income soared.If you concentrate on it, it’s like the ‘Happy Meals’ initiative by Mcdonald’s or the toys inside Kinder Joy eggs. People love these tiny freebies a lot that they preserve coming again. Experts estimate that about 15% of McDonald’s clients come for Happy Meals.Anyway, as the initiative grew, the journal needed to do extra to maintain patriotism in individuals’s hearts and its cashbox full. Just promoting flags wasn’t profitable anymore.The Pledge of AllegianceSo, in 1892, Upham and his associate, Francis Bellamy, got here up with the Pledge of Allegiance for the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ touchdown in America.Now, there may be a long-standing debate about who penned the unique model of the Pledge, with some claiming Upham himself wrote the Pledge and others believing Upham employed Francis Bellamy to provide you with it.Either method, it was for the Youth journal.The journal printed the Pledge on September 8, 1892, a month earlier than the precise Columbus Day.And there was a motive for that — to include it into nationwide campaigns.The National Education Association needed faculties to hoist flags and recite the Pledge on Columbus Day. Bellamy was the head of this committee, and his mission was to unfold this message throughout the nation.What higher option to do it than publish it in a single of the hottest magazines in the nation?On October 12, 1892, the precise Columbus Day, individuals stood on the streets and recited the Pledge with such enthusiasm that it appeared prefer it had been round for years.The demand for flags skyrocketed once more, and the journal noticed unimaginable gross sales once more. Plus, hundreds of thousands adopted the Pledge as a nationwide roar, and it turned broadly accepted.Win-win.But little did individuals know that the writer of the Pledge was so towards the nation’s rules.Francis Bellamy was a Baptist preacher and socialist.He was a fairly outspoken activist, usually calling out the wealthy for being caught by the ropes of capitalism.Bellamy was additionally half of the 1889 Nationalist Club of Boston, an elite group based on the foundation of the bestseller, ‘Looking Backward.’The e book described a utopian period of the twenty first century the place there isn’t a greed, corruption, or violence. There aren’t any politicians, social hierarchy, and even non-public property. Everyone is simply completely happy and relaxed.Alas, we want.While this e book could also be a work of fiction, Bellamy deeply believed in the concept. He even had some proposals to make this ideology come true.As the editor of Illustrated American, he began publishing his socialist theories. And in a single of the points, he went so far as claiming,“There are races, roughly akin to our personal, whom we might admit freely and get nothing however benefit from their healthful blood. But there are different races which we can not assimilate with out reducing our racial requirements, which needs to be sacred to us as the sanctity of our properties.”Huh, what?According to Bellamy, America shouldn’t be the dumping floor of Europe, and each dull-witted immigrant is a risk to the nation.Some even imagine that he wrote the Pledge for the White Protestant Americans and never the total nation. It needed to do with immigrants, simply not in a welcoming method.While the Pledge might or might not have been a advertising ploy began by a firm to promote extra flags, the saying caught on. Students and other people nationwide linked with it.The unique model of the Pledge learn:“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”In 1923, it was revised to:“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.”It was achieved in order that the immigrants don’t confuse it with the flags of their unique nation.Again, in 1954, President Eisenhower added the phrases “below God” to answer Communist threats. It is the model used at the moment,“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation below God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”Changes to the code of conductNowadays, college students recite the Pledge with their proper hand over their coronary heart, following Section 4 of the Flag Code.However, throughout Bellamy’s time, the code was completely different. They needed to observe Bellamy’s salute.The children needed to stand orderly with their palms to the facet whereas going through the flag.Then, the college students should give the army salute and recite the Pledge.When they uttered ‘to my flag,’ the college students ought to level to the flag with their palms going through upward and keep in that place until the finish.In the finish, the college students ought to drop their palms to their sides and go about their work.Schools meticulously adopted this code until the Second World War.Since the salute resembled the Nazi salute, Congress modified the gesture to put the proper hand over your coronary heart.Today, many states have legal guidelines that don’t require individuals to face up for the Pledge, however faculties nonetheless actively implement the follow. In truth, there have been a number of controversies about children being suspended from faculties for not paying their respects to the flag.But it’s an fascinating half of our historical past that deserves some consideration.


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