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 principls 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 againest all
Historical Notes: The American's Creed was a result of a nationwide contest for
writing a National Creed, which would be a brief summary of the American political
faith founded upon things fundamental in American history and tradition. The contest
was the idea of Henry Sterling Chapin, Commissioner of Education of New York State.
Over three thousand entries were received, and William Tyler Page was declared to be
the winner. James H. Preston, the mayor of Baltimore, presented an award to Page in
the House of Representatives Office Building on April 3, 1918. The Speaker of the
House of Representatives and the commissioner of education of the state of New York
accepted the Creed for the United States, and the proceedings relating to the award
were printed in the Congressional Record of April 13, 1918. It was a time when
patriotic sentiments were very much in vogue. The United States had been a participant
in World War I only a little over a year at the time the Creed was adopted.
The author of the American's Creed, William Tyler Page, was a descendant of John Page,
who had come to America in1650 and had settled in Williamsburg, Virginia. Another ancestor,
Carter Braxton , had signed the Declaration of Independence.
Still another ancestor, John Tyler, was the tenth president of the United States. William
Tyler Page had come to Washington at the age of thirteen to serve as a Capitol Page.
Later he became an employee of the Capitol building and served in that capacity for
almost sixty-one years. In 1919 he was elected clerk of the House. Thirteen years
later, when the Democrats again became a majority party, they created for Page the
office of minority clerk of the House of Representatives. He held this position for the
remainder of his life.
Referring to the Creed, Page said: "It is the summary of the fundamental principles of
the American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest
traditions, and its greatest leaders." His wording of the Creed used passages and
phrases from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution,
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and Daniel Webster's reply to Robert Y. Hayne in the
Senate in 1830.