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Francis Julius Bellamy (May 18, 1855 – August 28, 1931) was a Christian socialist minister and author,[1] best known for writing the original version of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.

Francis Bellamy
Born Francis Julius Bellamy
(1855-05-18)May 18, 1855
Mount Morris, New York, United States
Died August 28, 1931(1931-08-28) (aged 76)
Education University of Rochester
Occupation Author, editor, and minister
Era Second Great Awakening
Known for Creating the Pledge of Allegiance.
Movement Christian socialist

Contents

Personal lifeEdit

Francis Julius Bellamy was born in Mount Morris, New York. His family was deeply involved in the Baptist church and they moved to Rome, New York when Bellamy was only 5. Here, Bellamy became an active member of the First Baptist Church; which his father was minister of until his death in 1864. He attended college at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York and studied theology and was part of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity.

As a young man, he became a Baptist minister and, influenced by the vestiges of the Second Great Awakening, began to travel to promote his faith and help his community. Bellamy's travels brought him to Massachusetts. It was there that he penned the "Pledge of Allegiance" for a campaign by the "Youth's Companion;" a patriotic circular of the day. Bellamy "believed in the absolute separation of church and state"[2] and did not include the phrase "under God" within his original pledge.

Bellamy married Harriet Benton in Newark, New York in 1881. They had two sons: John, who lived in California, and David, who lived in Rochester, New York. His first wife died in 1918, and he later married Marie Morin (1920).

Bellamy ran for Governor of New York, but lost. His daughter-in-law Rachael (David's wife) lived in Rochester until Feb/Mar of 1989 when she died at the age of 93. David and Rachael had two children, David Jr. and Peter. His son, John Benton Bellamy, married Ruth "Polly" née Edwards. They had three children, Harriet (1911–1999), Barbara (1913–2005) and John Benton Bellamy, Jr. (1921–2015).

Francis Bellamy spent most of the last years of his life living and working in Tampa, Florida. He died there on August 28, 1931 at the age of 76. His cremated remains were brought back to New York where they were buried in a family plot in a cemetery in Rome.[3][4]

The PledgeEdit

In 1891, Daniel Sharp Ford, the owner of the Youth's Companion, hired Bellamy to work with Ford's nephew James B. Upham in the magazine's premium department. In 1888, the Youth's Companion had begun a campaign to sell U.S. flags to public schools as a premium to solicit subscriptions. For Upham and Bellamy, the flag promotion was more than merely a business move; under their influence, the Youth's Companion became a fervent supporter of the schoolhouse flag movement, which aimed to place a flag above every school in the nation. Four years later, by 1892, the magazine had sold U.S. flags to approximately 26,000 schools. By this time the market was slowing for flags, but was not yet saturated.

In 1892, Upham had the idea of using the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus reaching the Americas to further bolster the schoolhouse flag movement. The magazine called for a national Columbian Public School Celebration to coincide with the World's Columbian Exposition. A flag salute was to be part of the official program for the Columbus Day celebration to be held in schools all over the U.S.A..

The Pledge was published in the September 8, 1892, issue of the magazine, and immediately put to use in the campaign. Bellamy went to speak to a national meeting of school superintendents to promote the celebration; the convention liked the idea and selected a committee of leading educators to implement the program, including the immediate past president of the National Education Association. Bellamy was selected as the chair. Having received the official blessing of educators, Bellamy's committee now had the task of spreading the word across the nation and of designing an official program for schools to follow on the day of national celebration. He structured the program around a flag-raising ceremony and his pledge.

His original Pledge read as follows:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to[a] the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all

The recital was accompanied with a salute to the flag known as the Bellamy salute, described in detail by Bellamy. During World War II, the salute was replaced with a hand-over-heart gesture because the original form involved stretching the arm out towards the flag in a manner that resembled the later Nazi salute. (For a history of the pledge, see Pledge of Allegiance).

In 1954, in response to the perceived threat of secular Communism, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge that is recited today.[5]

Bellamy commented on his thoughts as he created the pledge, and his reasons for choosing the careful wording:

It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution... with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people...

The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the 'republic for which it stands'. ...And what does that last thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?

Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, 'Liberty, equality, fraternity'. No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all...

Bellamy "viewed his Pledge as an 'inoculation' that would protect immigrants and native-born but insufficiently patriotic Americans from the 'virus' of radicalism and subversion."[6]

Political viewsEdit

Bellamy was a Christian socialist[1] who "championed 'the rights of working people and the equal distribution of economic resources, which he believed was inherent in the teachings of Jesus.'"[6] In 1891, Bellamy was "forced from his Boston pulpit for preaching against the evils of capitalism",[2] and eventually stopped attending church altogether after moving to Florida, reportedly because of the racism he witnessed there.[7] Francis's career as a preacher ended because of his tendency to describe Jesus as a socialist.

Francis Bellamy was a leader the public education movement, the nationalist movement, and the Christian socialist movement. He united his grassroots network to start a collective memory activism in 1892.[8]

French philosopher Henri de Sain-Simon's "new Christianity", which stressed using science tackle poverty, influenced Bellamy and many of the "new St. Simonians." They saw nationalism (de-privatization) and public education as the policy solutions. [8]

In 1889, Francis Bellamy served as founding vice president and wrote several articles for the Society of Christian Socialists, a grassroots organization founded in Boston. The newspaper Dawn was run by his cousin Edward and Frances Willard. Francis Bellamy wrote about the golden rule and quoted Bible passages that denounced greed and lust for money. He was also chairman of the education committee.[8]

Bellamy offered public education classes with topics such as "Jesus the socialist," "What is Christian Socialism?", and "Socialism versus anarchy." In 1891, Bellamy was asked write down this last lecture. Bellamy's essay called for a strong government and argued that only the socialist economy could allow both the worker and the owner to practice the golden rule. These media and with public relations experiences allowed him to coordinate a massive Columbus Day campaign.[8]

On immigration and universal suffrage, Bellamy wrote in the editorial of The Illustrated American, Vol. XXII, No. 394, p. 258: "[a] democracy like ours cannot afford to throw itself open to the world where every man is a lawmaker, every dull-witted or fanatical immigrant admitted to our citizenship is a bane to the commonwealth.”[6] And further: "Where all classes of society merge insensibly into one another every alien immigrant of inferior race may bring corruption to the stock. There are races more or less akin to our own whom we may admit freely and get nothing but advantage by the infusion of their wholesome blood. But there are other races, which we cannot assimilate without lowering our racial standard, which we should be as sacred to us as the sanctity of our homes."[9]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The word "to" was added in October 1892.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Grand Lodge of BC and Yukon profile of Bellamy". Freemasonry.bcy.ca. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism", Susan Jacoby. Metropolitan Press, 2004. p. 287. ISBN 0-8050-7442-2
  3. ^ http://www.mountmorrisny.com/history/bellamy.htm
  4. ^ "What to do ... Visit Francis Bellamy's Grave". 
  5. ^ "The Pledge of Allegiance". Ushistory.org. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  6. ^ a b c Jones, Jeffrey Owen; Meyer, Peter. "The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance". 
  7. ^ "The Pledge of Allegiance – A Short History". Oldtimeislands.org. Archived from the original on 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  8. ^ a b c d Kubal, Timothy (October 2008). Cultural Movements and Collective Memory : Christopher Columbus and the Rewriting of the National Origin Myth. Basingstoke, Hampshire, GBR: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230615762. 
  9. ^ Martha Craven Nussbaum. Liberty of conscience: in defense of America's tradition of religious equality. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 

External linksEdit