Why Does Texas Have a Pledge?

As the second-largest state in the nation, Texas is famous for many things. Though most people are familiar with the lone star state, few know that it has a pledge.

Why does Texas have a pledge and what’s the story behind it? Read on to learn more. 

Texas Flag
Texas Flag - Texas View

Why Does Texas Have a Pledge?

Long before becoming one of the states in the country, Texas went through several transformations. It began as a colonial region under European nations and later gained independence as part of a sovereign country. The pledge was a way to celebrate this independence. 

Texas Flag History

The iconic single-star design of the Texas flag today wasn’t always symbolic of the state. Texas has gone through six flags since the colonial days and today’s flag wasn’t implemented until 1839. 

The slogan “six flags over texas” portrays the history of Texas through the ages. During the colonial era, Texas was under the governance of Spain, France, and later Mexico.  

Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821. At the time, its territory included the state of Texas, which Spain had previously controlled. Several elements of the Spanish constitution remained in place. The next century would prove to be a turbulent period, as the region was one of the poorest in the Mexican Federation. 

In 1832, led by David Burnet, Texans formed a convention in the hopes of implementing several new resolutions. However, the Mexican government rejected these. That led to tensions worsening and eventually to a revolution. 

The Texas Revolution began in 1835. Outraged at the centralist Mexican government, U.S. colonists teamed up with Hispanic Texans, Tejanos, to rebel.  After a year of battle, Texas declared independence from Mexico on March 2nd, 1936. 

Texans signed their declaration of independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos. Today, many refer to the location as the Texas birthplace. 

David Burnet became a provisional president of Texas after the state declared its independence. According to some accounts, it was Burnet who designed the Texan flag at the time. Thus, the blue flag design with a single yellow star still goes by the Burnet Flag. 

Origins of the Texas Flag Pledge

Though two other flag designs came after the Burnet flag, the Texas legislature assigned a pledge to the flag in the early 1930s. Thus, the pledge referred to the Burnet flag of 1936 rather than the subsequent lone star design.

The original pledge read: “Honor the Texas Flag of 1836. I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible.”

In 1951, Senator Searcy Bracewell drafted a bill to change the wording of the flag pledge. However, the legislature did not correct the reference in the pledge until 1965. 

Though the Texas pledge today refers to the modern lone star flag, the designer of the flag remains unknown.

The purpose of the state flag pledge was to show respect for Texas’ rich history. Texas was once a sovereign nation, and this is what the flag pledge aims to commemorate. In honor of that history, Texas flies its state flag along with the American flag. 

State Pledges and Requirements

Texas is not the only state with a flag pledge. The following states also have a pledge to the state flag:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee

Though Texas is far from the only state with a flag pledge, it is the only one where citizens recite it in schools. However, not all Texas schools have students recite the state pledge. Many Texans have never done so. 

Notwithstanding, under section 25.082, the Texas Education Law states that students should recite the state pledge in addition to the pledge of the United States. Texas schools allow families to have their children opt out of reciting the pledge to the Texan flag. 

Usa Counties Map Color Coded
Usa Counties Map Color Coded

Opposition To Recital Requirements

In 1943, the Supreme court ruled that it is unconstitutional for any state to require the recital of its flag pledge. Despite this, Texas has introduced several laws to require the recital in schools but allow students to opt out.

Thus, though it isn’t compulsory, many Texan schools still recite the flag pledge along with the pledge of allegiance to the country. 

Rules of the Texas Pledge of Allegiance

The Texas pledge of allegiance must come after the pledge of allegiance to the United States. The rules state that a person should remove any head coverings before the recital. 

The next steps are to face the flag, stand straight, and place the right hand over the heart, touching the left shoulder. When in uniform, a person must utilize a military salute. 

The recital is then followed by a moment of silence. Aside from schools, recitals of the Texas pledge may take place at any historical event or celebration. 

Texas Pledge FAQs

Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Texas state pledge. 

What are the words to the Texas Pledge of Allegiance?

The Texan pledge of allegiance is as follows: 

“Honor The Texas flag. I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.”

What is the proper hand position for the Texas pledge?

The hand position for the Texas pledge is the same as that for the country pledge. The right-hand goes over the heart and touches the left shoulder. 

Is Texas the only state with a flag and pledge of allegiance?

17 states have an allegiance to the state flag. However, Texas is the only one to pass several laws to keep the recital requirements in schools. Today, many Texan schools require students to recite the pledge but are given the option not to with a parent’s signature. 

Though not every state has a pledge to its flag, all states in the country have a flag.

Can the Texas flag fly higher than the US flag?

The Texas state flag does not fly higher than the US flag, and there is no federal law that allows it. However, both flags fly at the same height out of respect for Texas’ history as a sovereign nation before joining the union.