William Tyler Page
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William Tyler Page (1868 – October 19, 1942) was best known for his authorship of the American's Creed. He was born at 111 Record Street, in the centre of Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland. He was the great-great-grandson of Carter Braxton, (1736-1797), a member of the House of Burgesses of the Province of Virginia.
Page also descends from the tenth US president, John Tyler, who later served in the Confederate Congress. At 13, Page travelled to the Washington, D.C., to serve as a page in the US Capitol, and beginning his 61-year career as a national public servant.
In 1917, at 49, Page wrote the "American's Creed," as a submission to a nationwide patriotic contest suggested by Henry Sterling Chapin, of New York, which was inspired by a fervor at the beginning of the American entry into the First World War. The goal was to have a concise but complete statement of American political faith. Inspired by thoughts on his way home from church in May 1917, having just recited the Apostles' Creed used in most Christian churches as a statement of belief, Page drew on a wide variety of historical documents and speeches, including the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the US Constitution, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, a speech made by Daniel Webster, and text from Edward Everett Hale's 1863 patriotic short story of a military officer condemned to exile, "The Man Without a Country." He proceeded to craft a simple but moving expression of American patriotism.
His submission was chosen in March 1918 over more than 3000 other entries. On April 3, 1918, it was accepted by the House Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the US Commissioner of Education (then part of the US Department of the Interior) on behalf of the American people, according to the "Congressional Record", No. 102, April 13, 1918. A prize of $1000 was also awarded by Mayor James H. Preston on behalf of the City of Baltimore, which was the birthplace of the National Anthem. Page used it to purchase Liberty Bonds for the war effort and donated them to his church. Today, it also often comprises part of the naturalization ceremony to swear in new American citizens, along with other patriotic symbols, such as the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and the singing of various songs and anthems.
William Tyler Page Elementary School was named for him. It is located in the Montgomery County Public Schools of Montgomery County in Silver Spring, Maryland, just north across the border of the District of Columbia.
Clerk of House of Representatives
In 1919, the year after the war ended, Page was elected Clerk of the House of Representatives from the 66th United States Congress to the 71st Congress ended in 1931. The majority in power in the 1920s was the Republican Party. Later, he was Emeritus Minority Clerk, for the remainder of his life. He was highly respected by members of both major parties throughout his service, as a principled gentleman whose patriotism was inspirational and whose love of America was unquestioned.
Page died 11 years later, during the first year of America's involvement in the Second World War, on October 19, 1942, after serving his country his entire adult life humbly but always proudly. The House of Representatives adjourned the following day in his honor.
For many years, Page had also served as the President General of the United States Flag Association. The night before his death, he gave an address to the women's heritage association, the Daughters of the American Revolution on the Golden (50th) Anniversary of the writing of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag (1892).
The last picture taken of him shows him with his hand over his heart, gazing at the symbol of the country that he loved.
The American's Creed is as follows:
"I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
"I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies."
Page once said:
"The American's Creed is a summing up, in one hundred words, of the basic principles of American political faith. It is not an expression of individual opinion upon the obligations and duties of American citizenship or with respect to its rights and privileges. It is a summary of the fundamental principles of American political faith as set forth in its greatest documents, its worthiest traditions and by its greatest leaders."
- American's Creed
- Pledge of Allegiance
- American Flag
- United States House of Representatives
- United States Senate
- United States Congress
- President of the United States
- Declaration of Independence
- United States Constitution
- Bill of Rights (United States)
- United States Capitol
- Washington, D.C.
- United States of America
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Sons of the American Revolution
- Flag Day (United States)
- United States Flag Association
- National Flag Day Association
- "Art & History - Clerks". Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
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66th (1919-21) William Tyler Page MD May 19, 1919
66th (1919-21) William Tyler Page MD May 19, 1919
67th (1921-23) William Tyler Page MD Apr 11, 1921
68th (1923-25) William Tyler Page MD Dec 05, 1923
69th (1925-27) William Tyler Page MD Dec 07, 1925
70th (1927-29) William Tyler Page MD Dec 05, 1927
71st (1929-31) William Tyler Page MD Apr 15, 1929
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- William Tyler Page (National Society Daughters of the American Revolution)
- History of the American's Creed (rootsweb.com)
- The American's Creed (USFlag.org)
|Clerk of the United States House of Representatives