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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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471 news items

The Courier-Journal
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:30:00 -0700

About 250 immigrants from 63 countries crowded into the Archibald Room at the Galt House Hotel on Friday to take the Oath of Allegiance as new U.S. citizens. Kentucky naturalizes about 2,000-2,500 immigrants a year, according to Arthur Schat ...

KETV Omaha

KETV Omaha
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:10:41 -0700

Right after taking the oath of allegiance, he wasted no time taking advantage of what he considers the most important right. "I'm also going to register to vote. The next election is coming around; I'm going to do my voting," Villarreal said. For more ...
The Guardian
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 07:37:30 -0700

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan takes the oath of allegiance on Thursday as he steps into his new role as president. Erdoğan, who has ruled over Turkey for more than a decade, vows in a speech to parliament to protect Turkey's independence. However, opponents ...
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 18:11:09 -0700

This oath of allegiance is unlike that of the doctors' Hippocratic Oath. Ours is unspoken. Every journalist in this country has an idea about the GJA Code of Ethics. In fact, I remember vividly that while I was at Ghana Institute of Journalism we were ...

The Globe and Mail

The Guardian
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:40:03 -0700

But I don't want to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen. As a socialist, hereditary power is anathema to my political conscience; I'm baffled by otherwise egalitarian people who are okay with aristocrats inheriting the position of head of state ...


Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:15:00 -0700

ST. PETERSBURG — About 250 Tampa Bay area residents packed into a lower section at Tropicana Field to collectively recite the Oath of Allegiance on Thursday, officially becoming American citizens. As Detroit Tigers players warmed up on the field ahead ...

Mother Jones

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Fri, 29 Aug 2014 02:56:15 -0700

He notes that Shekau has not yet made a formal oath of allegiance to Baghdadi, and he questions whether the group would risk alienating Al Qaeda, which has financially supported Boko Haram and trained some of its fighters. Al Qaeda has rejected ISIS on ...
Long War Journal
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:02:15 -0700

And the Egyptian press has published rumors that Ansar Jerusalem has sworn bayat (an oath of allegiance) to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the Islamic State's emir. But these rumors are, thus far, false. Ansar Jerusalem did not publicly endorse, let alone swear ...

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