The pledge of allegiance that we are all familiar with has evolved greatly over the years. It was first established back in 1892. This was to celebrate the 400th anniversary since the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.
When the pledge of allegiance was first founded, people saluted the flag. This was the practice until 1942. Saluting the flag with your arm eventually became viewed as being so similar to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi salute, that the government decided to change the salute to the flag. Instead of saluting the flag, people put their hands over their heart while saying the pledge of allegiance.
Another interesting evolution of the pledge of allegiance is that the first pledge did not mention the United States of America. The pledge was addressed to the flag and not the country. This changed in the 20th century. During this time period, the United States experienced a massive immigration influx. The pledge to the United States of America was added to promote and prove loyalty to the country and not the foreign nations that the immigrants had come from.
A further change came in 1954 when President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the addition of one nation under god to the pledge of allegiance. A religious minister was the first person credited with adding under god to the pledge, however. The addition of god to the pledge of allegiance was made to help distinguish the United States from the Soviet Union. There has always been a rich religious history and tolerance in the United States said Dwight Eisenhower that the Soviet Union had lacked and prohibited.
An interesting fact about the pledge of allegiance is that it is not mandatory. The United States Supreme Court has decided that someone cannot be forced to recite it. Still, the pledge of allegiance is ingrained into American education. Students get up and recite the pledge at the start of a school day. The pledge is also said during many town meetings across the nation.