U.S. Citizenship Test: The Pledge of Allegiance

One part of U.S. citizenship is to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance is a statement that U.S. citizens make to show that they are loyal Americans and that they believe in the principles of democracy and liberty.

The Pledge is often stated in some American classrooms at the beginning of the school day. Some organizations begin their meetings with The Pledge. When you say The Pledge, you should face the flag and then speak. Most people put their right hands on their hearts.

The words are simple and easily understood:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Schoolchildren learn The Pledge starting with their first day in school. By the time they are adults, they have memorized the words.

Because the Constitution requires that church and state be separate, some citizens believe the words under God should be omitted from The Pledge.

A Baptist minister named Francis Bellamy wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. His words are slightly different from the ones spoken today. This is the original:

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

Important words from The Pledge

Learn the meaning of these new words. Say a sentence using each new word.

  • pledge = promise (I pledged $50 to help his family.)
  • allegiance = loyalty, faithfulness (My allegiance is to the United States of America.)
  • statement = something said in words (His statement was simple but clear.)
  • loyal = true, faithful (She is a loyal American.)
  • principle = basic truth or rule (I believe in the principles of democracy.)
  • face = look at (Everyone faced the flag.)
  • stand for = represent (The flag stands for the Republic.)
  • indivisible = cannot be divided (The nation is forever indivisible.)
  • memorize = put in your memory (I want to memorize The Pledge of Allegiance.)
  • require = demand, need (My landlord required payment today.)
  • omit = leave out (He omitted a few words from his speech.)
  • slightly = a little bit (The original version is slightly different.)

Important questions and answers about The Pledge

  1. What kind of statement is The Pledge of Allegiance?
  2. Where do people face when they say The Pledge?
  3. Where is The Pledge often said?
  4. What does the American flag stand for?
  5. When do children start learning The Pledge?
  6. What principles are mentioned in The Pledge?
  7. Why have many adults memorized The Pledge?
  8. Who wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance?
  9. Why do some citizens want to omit the words (under God?)
  10. What document requires the separation of church and state?

Answers: (1) a statement of loyalty to America (2) They face the flag. (3) at the beginning of some meetings and in some classrooms (4) the Republic the Union (5) the first day of school (6) liberty and justice for all (7) They have said it many times since childhood. (8) Francis Bellamy a Baptist minister (9) It is a matter of separation of church and state. (10) Constitution