Pledging Allegiance to the Omnipotent Lincolnian State by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
He further stated that the “true reason for allegiance to the Flag” was to indoctrinate American school children in the false history of the American founding that was espoused first by Daniel Webster and, later, by Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln falsely claimed that the states were never sovereign and that the union created the states, not the other way around. (But as Joe Sobran has remarked, the notion that the union is older than the states makes as much sense as the idea that a marriage can be older than either spouse. It is impossible for a union of two things to be older than either of the things it is a union of).
The truth is that in all of the American founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution, the states refer to themselves as “free and independent.” The Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War was a treaty with the individual, free and independent states, not “the whole people” of the United States.
The citizens of the states understood that they were sovereign over the federal government, not the other way around, as Lincoln absurdly claimed. The sovereign states delegated a few enumerated powers to the central government, as their agent, while maintaining sovereignty for themselves.
Despite Lincoln’s effort to destroy the system of federalism and states’ rights that was championed by Jefferson and other founders by waging total war on the South, many Americans still believed in the Jeffersonian states’ rights ideal as of the 1880s. Despite all the death and destruction of the war, and several subsequent decades of Lincolnian propaganda about the alleged evils of states’ rights, many Americans still viewed federalism and states’ rights as a safeguard against federal tyranny — just as the American founding fathers, especially Jefferson, had done.
Francis Bellamy was alarmed by this, for he understood perfectly well that the first step along the way to his socialist utopia was a consolidated or unitary state, just like the one Bismarck had created in Germany through “blood and iron,” and the one Abraham Lincoln championed in the U.S. Monopoly government, in other words, was a necessary first step on the road to socialism. All semblances of the Jeffersonian philosophy of federalism and states’ rights must be destroyed. In Bellamy’s own words:
The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the “republic for which it stands.” … And what does that vast 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. (See John W. Baer, “The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History).”
Bellamy considered the “liberty and justice for all” phrase in the Pledge to be an Americanized version of the slogan of the French Revolution: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” The French revolutionaries believed that mass killing by the state was always justified if it was done for the “grand purpose” of achieving “equality.” In an 1876 commencement speech Francis Bellamy praised the French Revolution as “the poetry of human brotherhood.” And “what we call the Civil War,” Donald Livingston has remarked, “was in fact America’s French Revolution, and Lincoln was the first Jacobin president” (Donald Livingston, “The Litmus Test for American Conservativism,” Chronicles, Jan. 2001).
Bellamy intended the Pledge of Allegiance to be a vow of allegiance to the state, a quintessentially un-American idea. He stated that he got the idea from the “loyalty oaths” that were imposed on Southerners during Lincoln’s invasion of the Southern states and afterward, during Reconstruction. During the war, adult male civilians in the South were compelled to take a loyalty oath to the federal government or be shot. During Reconstruction almost all Southern white adult males were disenfranchised by the requirement that in order to vote or hold political office, they must take the following oath: “I ______ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto . . .” (Baer, The Pledge of Allegiance, Chapter 4). Few if any Southern men would dare to take this public pledge in the post-war years…..