Happy Independence Day…
July 1, 2024

The American Creed

In 1881, a young boy named William Tyler Page left home, bound for Washington, D.C.  Page knew little about politics, having spent most of his young life working twelve hours a day in a paper-bag factory.  But he had just been accepted as a courier in the House of Representatives.

He was only thirteen years old.

For Page, this was no mere summertime job.  It was not intended to be a mark on his future resume.  It was the beginning of 61 years of unheralded public service.

As a teenager, Page spent his days delivering messages, running errands, and keeping the House organized.  Couriers like him were expected to work hard, be reliable, and always conduct themselves in a non-partisan manner.  Page must have enjoyed the work because he never left Washington.  Instead, he rose through the ranks, supervising the younger couriers as he got older.  He became such a trusted fixture in the Capitol that both parties turned to him for advice on congressional procedure.

Having participated firsthand in every aspect of lawmaking, Page knew all there was to know about how to actually get work done.  Congress knew it, too.  In 1919, he was elected Clerk of the House of Representatives.  It was his responsibility to preserve order and decorum on the House floor at all times, keep official records, and oversee the election of the Speaker.  Page served as Clerk throughout the 1920s, when the Republican Party was in the majority.  When the Democrats took over in 1931, a special position of Emeritus Clerk was created specifically for him, showing just how respected he was on both sides of the aisle.  His dedication, expertise, and non-partisanship became a byword in the Capitol building.  And when he passed away in 1942, both parties agreed to adjourn in his honor.

But Page was most known for being the author of the American Creed.

In 1917, shortly after the U.S. entered World War I, the nation was gripped by patriotic fervor.  Inspired by what he was seeing, Page began thinking about his own patriotism and what the country meant to him.

As someone who spent nearly every day of his life seeing “how the sausage gets made,” one might expect Page to have had a cynical view of our nation.  After all, many Americans often feel this way.  The headlines always seem to be full of mudslinging, scandals, and petty politics.  As children, we learn in school about the heroic deeds, monumental speeches, and pivotal moments that make up our country’s history.  But as adults, the magic of patriotism can get lost under an onslaught of negativity.

In life, though, it’s the things we labor for the most that we tend to love the most.  And William Page loved his country.

So, Page decided to write his thoughts and feelings down.  What inspired him.  What drove him.  What made his country special.  What made his country worth serving.  His goal was to craft a simple but thorough statement of what it means to be an American…and why being an American has meaning.

It went like this:

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. 

After writing these words, Page submitted them to a nationwide patriotic contest.  Immediately, his statement caught on.  Anyone who reads it can recognize the words.  They are the words of the Declaration of Independence.  Of the Preamble to the Constitution.  Of Daniel Webster’s legendary “Liberty and Union” speech.  Of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  They are an amalgamation of every argument for democracy.  A summation of this crazy, grand experiment.  They are the philosophical pillars on which our country rests.

Page’s words won the contest.  They were recited by schoolchildren and added to many naturalization ceremonies.  And in 1918, they were passed by the House of Representatives – the same body Page had devoted his life to – as the American Creed. 

These days, it’s easy to have a cynical view of our country.  Easy to feel like this experiment in democracy has become an exercise in frustration.  But nobody said this experiment was going to be easy.  Only that it would be worth it.

Because the words in the American Creed are still true today.

In just a few days, we will celebrate our nation’s birthday.  As we do, we hope we can all personally reflect on the American Creed and what it means.  Our nation is still a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Our union may not always be perfect, but it will always be inseparable.  And it is still based on the principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity.  Principles that do not dull with the passage of time, but like stars in the sky, become ever brighter as they age.

We will also reflect on the achievements of our ancestors and the opportunities of our descendants.  We will ponder our own respective loves and beliefs.  May we also recommit — each and every one of us — to love, support, and defend our country.  May we reaffirm the words of the American Creed.

Happy Independence Day!


Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

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