I have to admit, I didn’t even know that we had an American’s Creed. But, with Independence Day fast approaching, now is an opportune time to learn about it. And with the fatigue from our current economic pinch and seemingly perpetual bad news, maybe we can find some inspiration from a truly selfless man – a true American in every sense of the word.
William Tyler Page of Maryland, who was an employee of the U.S. House of Representatives and Clerk of the House from 1919 to 1931, was the winner of a nationwide contest for the best summary of American political faith. His idea was to write a creed in the style of the Apostle’s Creed (I’ll have to look that one up.) It came to him while driving home from church in 1917, a time when the United States was fighting World War I. Page used the writings of the Declaration of Independence, Preamble to the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address for inspiration. The U.S. House of Representatives accepted Page’s Creed on behalf of the American people and in 1918, it became the official American’s Creed.
The prize William Tyler Page won: $1,000. I’m sure that was a substantial amount of money in 1918. But rather than keep it for himself, he used the money to buy Liberty Bonds and gave them to his church. Now that is a true American.
The American’s Creed
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union; one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag; and to defend it against all enemies.
Tomorrow, I am going to do a good deed for a fellow American because I am happy to be an American. Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Page.
Now you’re a little smarter, Girlfriend — And so am I.