“Unquestioning Loyalty”

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Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.35.36 PMThis is the text of a loyalty oath New York City public school teachers were expected to take in 1917 and 1918. Over the next three decades, teachers across the country were periodically subjected to these sorts of jingoistic fevers. For Quakers and antiwar activists, a particular problem with the pledge was the vow of unquestioning obedience to American military policy, as well as the promise to inculcate such obedience in one's students:

"We, the teachers of the public schools of the City of New York, do solemnly pledge our unqualified loyalty to the President and Congress of the United States in this war with the imperial governments of Germany and Austria. 

 "We pledge ourselves actively to inculcate in our pupils by word and deed love of flag and unquestioning loyalty to the military policy of the government and to the measures and principles proclaimed by the President and Congress.

"We declare ourselves to be in sympathy with the purposes of the government and its efforts to make the world safe for democracy, and believe that our highest duty at this moment is to uphold the hands of the President and Congress in this crisis. 

"We believe that any teachers whose views prevent them from subscribing to such sentiments should not be permitted to teach the youth of our city.”

 Related: Texas state senators object to a curriculum that supposedly sympathizes with socialists, critiques founding fathers.

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