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

An oath of allegiance is an oath whereby 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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The Advocate
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:30:00 -0800

0 Comments. The story goes that the matron of The Shadows on the Teche, the antebellum landmark in New Iberia, was faced with a stark offer. Take the oath of allegiance to the United States and get food from the federal steamboats playing Bayou Teche.

PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 08:46:14 -0800

New U.S. citizens raise their hands as they take an oath of allegiance during a special naturalization ceremony held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington on August 28, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque. The interviewer wanted to ...

Washington Post (blog)

Washington Post (blog)
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 06:03:45 -0800

... had been vetted by a group of scholars described as “the people who loosen and bind” (ahl al-hall wa-l-aqd), was found by them to be a pious Muslim ruler who fit all the criteria for a caliph and was therefore worthy of believers' oath of ...

Asharq Alawsat English

Asharq Alawsat English
Sat, 24 Jan 2015 03:48:45 -0800

The allegiance ceremony, or Bayaa, is a traditional Islamic oath of allegiance that formally marks the start of a new Saudi Arabian monarch's reign. Speaking at the ceremony on Friday, Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh said: “We are ...

The National Interest Online

The National Interest Online
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 15:15:00 -0800

Moreover, despite the fact that Crown Prince Muqrin's mother was a concubine, the oath of allegiance is not trivial. Thus, any arguments about him being sidelined or pushed out should be taken within this context, noting that he received such pledges ...

Los Angeles Times

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Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:04:19 -0800

The Church of England took a historic leap toward modernity Monday by consecrating its first female bishop. The Rev. Libby Lane was ordained the bishop of Stockport during a packed ceremony that ended centuries of male-only leadership. More than 1,000 ...
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Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:56:15 -0800

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Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:56:15 -0800

U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar addresses an audience made up of 25 individuals who had just taken the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America during a 2013 ceremony in the City of Yuma council chambers. Buy this photo.

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