The marketing of patriotism has a long history

You think you know patriotism?

NPR’s latest news video notes that the expression of patriotism — the Pledge of Allegiance — comes from a Socialist, Baptist, advertising copywriter who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in order to sell more magazines.

Here’s what NPR didn’t say. The pledge was supposed to be accompanied by a movement of the arm, as The Youth’s Companion — the magazine — dictated in 1892.

“At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.”

Around the time of World War II, the salute was changed with the hand remaining over the heart throughout.