The Pledge of Allegiance | Show Notes

I used a lot of resources to put together this show. Below is a list of the most helpful items.

To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance by Richard J. Ellis. This was the most comprehensive history of the Pledge out there and the best starting point for any further discussion about it.

The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance by Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer. Another excellent summary of the Pledge’s history. It included several anecdotes not found in Ellis’ book and was far more of a casual read.

The Ohio Nisi Prius Reports, Volume 21. This included the original legal case against Ora Troyer.

The Third Disestablishment: Church, State, and American Culture, 1940-1975 by Steven K. Green. This offered additional background information into the Pledge cases heard by the Supreme Court.

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M. Kruse. This is a wonderful history about how a Christianized version of U.S. history became accepted by many as true. It shouldn’t be.

This blog post at Anxious Bench offered a new account of an old Pledge protest, told by the grandson of the protesters.

This account by Toni Konkoly at Thirteen/WNET for PBS offered great insight into the case of Minersville School District v. Gobitis.

In 2006, the Robert H. Jackson Center in New York held a symposium reflecting on the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, for which Justice Jackson wrote the majority opinion. This transcript of that event offered several perspectives on the case from legal scholars and participants.

This is a scan of the original Pledge of Allegiance, as published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892.

Here’s Francis Bellamy‘s own recollection of the Pledge’s history, as recounted in 1953.

This paper by Jennifer Jacobs Henderson of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas gives some great background on the flag salute before the Supreme Court cases.

Many of the legal documents involved in the two older Pledge cases were helpfully summarized in this document from the Federal Judicial Center. It also includes brief biographies of the major players and judges.

Here’s a transcript of the sermon delivered by Rev. George McPherson Docherty, which arguably tipped the scales in favor of putting “Under God” into the Pledge.

Here are the legal documents concerning the battle waged by atheist Rob Sherman on behalf of his son.

This was a Washington Supreme Court case that hinged on the dissents in the Gobitis ruling.

This publication by the Watchtower Society (which oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses) suggested an alternative reason for fighting Pledge battles.

If you’re interested in Katherine Audsley, a young woman who protested the Pledge a century ago but has received virtually no recognition for it, look for her name in these two issues from the New York Times archive.

A number of analyses of the various Pledge cases were incredibly helpful in understanding the legal minutiae involved in the decisions. In no particular order, I relied on “‘Under God,’ the Pledge of Allegiance, and Other Constitutional Trivia” by Steven G. Gey of Florida State University, “Barnette’s Big Blunder” by Steven Douglas Smith of the University of San Diego School of Law, “Lost in the Forest of the Establishment Clause: Elk Grove V. Newdow” by Todd A. Collins of Western Carolina University, and “Reconsidering Gobitis: An Exercise in Presidential Leadership” by Robert L. Tsai of American University Washington College of Law.

The intro and closing music for the episodes is “Heavy Interlude” by Kevin MacLeod. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Additional music was provided by Ben Helton. Graphic design was created by Tracey Moody. And many thanks to Emily Wright for the website help.