The current (after 4 revisions) Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag(1) of the United(2) States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands: one(3) Nation under God, indivisible(3), With liberty and justice for all.
1 – A decorated cloth or graven image is not an appropriate or logical focus of one’s allegiance. Allegiance is more properly, powerfully and significantly given to God alone. In a subordinate sense it may even be extended to persons or to ideas. Even if a flag is the symbolic representation of what is worthy of allegiance, the allegiance itself does not belong to the flag.
2 – In the Declaration of Independence, our founding document, the word united was not capitalized when used in the phrase “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, . . .” This is appropriate as the states were seen then and for the future as voluntarily associated (not irrevocably united) with one another for the common good and not as subservient entities of the newly “united States of America.” The new general government was created by and for the states who just as they joined the club voluntarily maintained the right to leave the club voluntarily should circumstances change. Lincoln fought a war to prove this wrong but only established that the general (National or Federal) government had the “power” to keep the states captive, not that the general government had the “right” to prevent their leaving the union.
3 – The addition of the words “one” and “indivisible” were intended by the socialist Francis Bellamy (creator of the original pledge) to portray the several united states as one entity which implies that the sovereignty of the individuals and the states had been surrendered to this new overlord (The United States of America) which was never the intent of the Founding Fathers, the citizenry or the states who represented them in the formation of the union.
A better “Pledge of Allegiance” might be:
I pledge allegiance to Liberty and Justice for all Citizens and States of these united States of America, a Constitutional Republic under God.
I pledge allegiance to God alone, who inspired our founding fathers to promote liberty and justice for all citizens of these united, yet independent, states of America, our Constitutional Republic.
For a fuller history of the pledge’s origins see: