Framed Document George Washington Oath of Allegiance
- Parchment document
- Approximately 11 X 14 inches
This reproduction features the 1778 Oath of Allegiance signed by George Washington at Valley Forge. The oath opens with the words, "I do acknowledge the United States of America to be Free, Independent, and Sovereign States, and declare that the people thereof owe no allegiance or obedience to George the Third, King of Great-Britain."
The original Oath of Allegiance signed by George Washington is in the holdings of the National Archives.
On February 3, 1778, the Continental Congress passed a resolution requiring all officers of the Continental Army to sign an oath acknowledging their support of national independence for the new United States of America. The resolution was an effort to weed Loyalist sympathizers out of the Continental Army.
General Washington was faced with a monumental task in complying with this resolution. Morale among officers was low. Pay was either nonexistent or in arrears, and officers' appointments lacked security as reorganization of the army threatened their positions of authority. Resignations by officers became a daily occurrence. The problems became epidemic at Valley Forge. Understanding the temper and displacement of his officers, Washington choose to deliberately delay the oath of allegiance effort until officers became more receptive to its requirements. By early May of 1778, Washington felt the time was right.