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The Pledge of Allegiance & Anthem: Protest, and Controversy (NCSS; National Constitution Center; First Amendment Center; Library of Congress; and more)

* The Pledge of Allegiance, its history, and the addition of the phrase "under God" can serve as a jumping off point into major themes of U.S. history and First Amendment freedoms. Here is a free article in Social Education, September 2013 by Eric C. Groce, Tina Heafner, and Elizabeth Bellows:

* After reading that lesson plan and article (above), teachers (and students) can examine the hand-typed sermon that inspired President Eisenhower to support inserting the phrase "Under God" into the Pledge, as archived at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (Washington, DC) website, Scroll down, then click on Rev. Docherty's 1954 sermon, "A New Birth of Freedom."

* National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen was featured in a recent (10/10/2017) New York Times article about how to discuss the recent protests by NFL players with your students. Your class can also use the Interactive Constitution to read more about the First Amendment, plus view the Center's video about free expression cases in schools. All of those teaching materials are free at

* The First Amendment Center at the Newseum posts an article about whether government officials can legally "order" people to be patriotic ( And here is the 1935 letter written by 10-year-old William (“Billy”) Gobitas to the Minersville, Pennsylvania, public school directors explaining why his faith did not allow him to salute the flag. See the link to the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division/Courtesy the Gobitas family,

* For NCSS members: The September 2107 issue of Social Education features several articles showing how to engage students in social studies through the study of sports. Read about the benefits of membership at
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