Historical Highlights

“American’s Creed” by Future Clerk of the House William Tyler Page

April 03, 1918
“American’s Creed” by Future Clerk of the House William Tyler Page Image courtesy of Library of Congress Longtime House employee, William Tyler Page started his career as a House Page in 1881. Page eventually became Clerk of the House.
On this date, Members of the House of Representatives celebrated William Tyler Page, a longtime congressional employee and future Clerk of the House, for his authorship of the “American’s Creed.” In 1916, on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War I, Henry Sterling Chapin, the editor of an educational journal, devised a national writing competition to foster patriotism and civic responsibility among U.S. citizens. Of the more than 3,000 submissions for an American creed, Page’s winning entry was described as “brief and simple but remarkably comprehensive of the best in American ideals, history, and tradition, as expressed by the founders of the Republic and its greatest statesmen and writers.” The House ceremony to recognize Page included Speaker of the House James Beauchamp (Champ) Clark of Missouri and former Speaker Joe Cannon of Illinois. Members of Congress paid tribute to the veteran employee—who began his career as a House Page in 1881—for his service to the institution and his country. Page, who received $1,000 for his winning entry, recited the “American’s Creed” on the Capitol steps which ended with the declaration, “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.” In further recognition of Page’s accomplishment, the House placed a bronze tablet of the “American’s Creed” in the Capitol.

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The House has elected or appointed employees to carry out a wide variety of tasks throughout its history. The officers’ duties are prescribed both by law and Rule II of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

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