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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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Western Journalism

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Sat, 25 Jul 2015 07:26:15 -0700

Those lines are in the Oath of Allegiance that people recite as they become U.S. citizens. But USCIS said people “may” be able to exclude those phrases for reasons related to religion or if they have a conscientious objection. USCIS said people with ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Wed, 22 Jul 2015 12:41:15 -0700

The clarifications apply to the Oath of Allegiance, which immigrants must take to become naturalized citizens and which includes clauses about being willing to complete military service if called to do so. Those who object on religious or moral grounds ...


Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:56:15 -0700

Gas City man takes Oath of Allegiance By Ben Quiggle bquiggle@chronicle-tribune.com www.chronicle-tribune.com. A Cambodian native, who now lives in Gas City, took the Oath of Allegiance in June. Chamnol Romdenh took the oath on June 17 in a South ...

NewsHounds (blog)

NewsHounds (blog)
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 14:07:20 -0700

As Media Matters explains, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided guidance to clarify that new citizens may seek exemption from the clause in the Oath of Allegiance that commits them to “bear arms on behalf of the ...


Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:37:30 -0700

Americans usually cheer the Star Spangled Banner before football games, but imagine hearing the anthem for the first time as a brand new citizen of the United States. "I'm originally from Panama," said Elliot Santa Maria. "I'm so glad to become a U.S ...

Local 10

Local 10
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:59:50 -0700

Dozens of new U.S. citizens took the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony Thursday in Miami. The ceremony was held at 11 a.m. at Miami Dade College's historic Tower Theater. The group of new citizens were from 19 different countries and were ...

Breitbart News

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Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:33:15 -0700

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is highlighting clarified guidance for those immigrants wishing to omit portions of the citizenship oath. USCIS explained Tuesday that while reciting the Oath of Allegiance is part of the naturalization process ...

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Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:22:05 -0700

Amy Salazar, 5 (left) claps after her mother Jannett Ordonez (second from right) received her certificate during a celebration of Naturalization Ceremony for the new U.S. citizens on Wednesday afternoon at Middletown City Hall. An estimate of 50 people ...

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