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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 a constitutional monarchy, such as in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, oaths are sworn to the 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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Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:10:32 -0700

Sarki was among 33 people who took the oath of allegiance in the fifth annual citizenship ceremony at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The new Americans came from 19 different homelands, including the former Soviet Union. Sarki was listed as a ...


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Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:56:15 -0700

The Honorable John W. Darrah, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, presided over the ceremony and administered the Oath of Allegiance. The Master of Ceremonies was Ed Lewis, USCIS Supervisory Immigration Services Officer.
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Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:48:45 -0700

The group took its oath of allegiance at Stetson University, in Volusia County. One of the new citizens said she feels relieved to be a U.S. citizen. "It's like you are born again," Alex Vizcaino said. "I'm proud to be in this country because I got the ...

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Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:45:00 -0700

Children's playful chatter hummed along while U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell read the oath of allegiance that officially welcomed the group as United States citizens. The milestone brought Lanfear excitement — and relief. She said she hopes her ...


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