Oath of allegiance

From Academic Kids

An oath of allegiance is an oath whereby a subject or citizen acknowledges his duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to his Sovereign or country. In many modern oaths of allegiance, allegiance is sworn to the Constitution. In particular, in the USA, judges are under an oath to the Constitution; they have no duty to follows laws enacted by Congress except to the extent to which the Constitution says so.

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 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 allegiance to the Queen and to the Constitution; I swear that I will faithfully perform all the duties which the office of a minister lays upon me. So help me God Almighty!

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 Canada and Australia to make the oath of allegiance sworn by new citizens refer to the country rather than the monarch. In Canada the oath now refers to both the country and Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, but in Australia references to the monarchy have been dropped. However, the oaths sworn by judges, Members of Parliament, etc., have not been changed. In New South Wales, there are plans for MPs and Ministers' oaths to be made to "Australia" rather than the Queen.

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