The American’s Creed
The American’s Creed is destined to live in American history as it is a composite of fundamental patriotic literature.
This creed was written as a result of a nationwide contest. Henry Sterling Chapin, of New York, conceived the idea of promoting the contest for the writing of a national creed, which should be the briefest possible summary of American political faith and yet be founded upon the fundamental things most distinctive in American history and tradition. Mayor James H. Preston of Baltimore, Maryland, offered a reward of a thousand dollars for the winning creed. It seemed especially fitting that the birthplace of the National Anthem should have the honor of presenting the prize for the National Creed.
One day, when the contest had been in progress for some time, the idea was presented to Mr. Page that he should write a creed and thus enter this contest. Coming home from church on a Sunday in May, 1917, the thought occurred to Mr. Page to compose a creed fashioned along the lines of the Christian or Apostles’ Creed.
William Tyler Page was a student of history and so was familiar with the great documents of our United States as well as the famous statements of many of our great Americans. The compilation of his proposed creed was changed day by day until finally completed to his satisfaction.
The creed was sent to the committee on manuscripts for the contest in August, 1917. Then in March, 1918, Mr. Page received notice from the committee that he was the successful competitor among more than three thousand contestants. The award was presented by Mayor Preston on April 3, 1918, in the House of Representatives Office Building, Washington, D.C. The creed was accepted on the part of the United States by the Commissioner of Education and by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Three days after the award Mr. Page purchased Liberty Bonds with the prize money and gave them to his church.
The American’s Creed by William Tyler Page, text