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Benedict Arnold's Oath of Allegiance, May 30, 1778

An oath of allegiance is an oath wherby a subject or citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to monarch or country. In republics, modern oaths specify allegiance to the country in general, or to the country's constitution. For example, officials in the United States, a republic, take an oath of office that includes swearing allegiance to the United States Constitution. However, in Canada, a constitutional monarchy, oaths are sworn to the Canadian monarch.

In feudal times a person would also swear allegiance to his feudal superiors. To this day the oath sworn by freemen of the City of London contains an oath of obedience to the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Oaths of allegiance are commonly required of newly naturalised citizens (see Oath of Citizenship), members of the armed forces, and those assuming public (particularly parliamentary and judicial) office. Clergy in the Church of England are required to take an Oath of Supremacy acknowledging the authority of the British monarch.

A typical example of an oath of allegiance is that sworn by Members of Parliament in the Netherlands:

I swear (affirm) allegiance to the King, to the Statute for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and to the Constitution. I swear (affirm) that I will faithfully perform the duties my office lays upon me. So help me God almighty! (This I declare and affirm)[1]

In many Commonwealth realms all that is required is an oath to the monarch, and not the constitution or state. There have been moves in some of the realms to make the oath of citizenship sworn by new citizens refer to the country rather than the monarch. However, the oaths sworn by judges, members of parliament, etc., have not been changed. All of these moves have not succeeded as the Queen is the personification of the Canadian, British, or Australian state (or that of any other Commonwealth realm). Allegiance sworn to the monarch is the same as to the country, its constitution or flag. The New Zealand Oath of Allegiance still refers to the Queen of New Zealand. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 1999 that the oath of allegiance to a reigning monarch is "reasonably viewed as an affirmation of loyalty to the constitutional principles which support... the workings of representative democracy in the respondent State."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Translated from the 'Wet beëdiging ministers en leden Staten-Generaal' on [1]. (Dutch)
  2. ^ McGuinness v. United Kingdom; Application No. 39511/98, decision June 8, 1999 Reports and Judgements and Decisions 1999/V, ISBN 3-452-24950-6, p. 483

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Herald-Mail Media
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:54:39 -0700

John Rockefeller captured the journey of the 39 right hands raised by immigrants from 24 nations as they swore an oath of allegiance to their new nation in U.S. District Court. “We honor you as new citizens, and we welcome the various backgrounds and ...

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Thu, 03 Apr 2014 03:37:44 -0700

A Metropolitan Opera soprano celebrated “the land of the free-ee-ee-ee,” giving a vibrant rendition of the national anthem Wednesday, before Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson led her and 149 other new U.S. citizens in the oath of allegiance.
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Sat, 19 Apr 2014 00:13:26 -0700

The operative words are “Canadian citizens.” Once you have become a citizen, you are guaranteed the constitutional right to exercise your democratic rights. To become a citizen you must first pledge an oath of allegiance to us and our country. If you ...

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Daily Times Nigeria
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:49:35 -0700

Ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan's assent to the 2014 budget, members of staff in the Directorate Cadre of the Bureau of Public Procurement have been made to swear to oath to allegiance to ensure that they abide by the stipulations of the 2007 ...

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Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:34:04 -0700

Sometimes politicians can stoop to any level to garner support. Last week a video clip appeared on social networking site Facebook showing Social Welfare Minister Sakina Itoo invoking religion to literally force allegiance from a reluctant old man ...

The Globe and Mail

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Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:56:15 -0700

Three Canadian residents who are not yet citizens are suing to remove the oath to the Queen as a condition of becoming citizens. They say that forcing them to swear allegiance to the Crown infringes on their freedom of thought and speech. Their ...
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Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:59:23 -0700

Letters: NDP, John Horgan, ICBC, smart meters, oath of allegiance, minimum wage, Gregor Robertson, frugality, kids, investor greed. April 9, 2014. 9:58 am • Section: Opinion. Increase Font Size; Print Page; RSS Feed. Posted by: Editorial Pages ...


Sun, 30 Mar 2014 08:41:02 -0700

Saudi Prince Muqrin receives oaths of allegiance. Royal family members, ministers, religious figures and scholars and crowds of ordinary citizens congratulated Prince Muqrin and voiced their oath of allegiance to him as the second-in-line to the throne.

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