Scout Law History

 

 

The Knights' Code
(In Scout Law order for comparison)

Woodcraft Law
(In Scout Law order for comparison)

Scouting for Boys,   1908 fortnight series 
(CAPS in original)

British Boy Scouts Association Scout Law
(c. 1911)

BSA Scout Law, 1911

BSA Scout 
Law, 1972

BSA Scout Law, 1990

BSA Scout Law, 1999

Independent Scouting, 2002

Baden-Powell Scouting USA, 2004

2) At whatever you are working try to win honour and a name for honesty.

8) Never break your promise.

 

4. Hold your word of honor sacred. This is the law of truth, and any one not bound by this cannot be bound; and truth is wisdom. 1.  A SCOUT'S HOUOUR IS TO BE TRUSTED.  If a scout says "On my honour it is so," that means that it is so, just as if he had taken a most solemn oath.  Similarly, if a scout officer says to a scout, "I trust you on your honour to do this," the scout is bound to carry out the order to the very best of his ability, and to let nothing interfere with his doing so.  If a  scout were to break his honour by telling a lie, or by not carrying out an order exactly when trusted on his honour to do so, he would cease to be a scout, and must hand over his scout badge, and never be allowed to wear it again--he loses his life. 1. A SCOUT's HONOUR IS TO BE TRUSTED. If a Scout says, "on my honour it is so," that means that it is so, just as if he had taken a most solemn oath.
Similarly, if a Scout Officer says to a Scout, "I trust you on your honour to do this," the Scout is bound to carry out the order to the very best of his ability, and to let nothing interfere with his doing so.
If a Scout were to break his honour by telling a lie, or by not carrying out an order exactly when trusted on his honour to do so, he may be directed to hand over his Scout Badge, and never wear it again. He may also be directed to cease to be a Scout.
1.  A Scout is Trustworthy.  A Scout's honor is to be trusted.  If he were to violate his honor by telling a lie or by cheating or by not doing exactly a given task, when trusted on his honor, he may be directed to hand over his Scout Badge. 1.TRUSTWORTHY. A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him. 1. A Scout is TRUSTWORTHY. A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is a part of his code of conduct. People can always depend on him. 1. A Scout is trustworthy. A Scout tells the truth. He is honest, and he keeps his promises. People can depend on him. 1. A Scoutís honor is to be trusted. 1. A Scoutís honor is to be trusted.

Scouts are honest and trustworthy.

6) Be prepared to fight in the defence of your country.

9) Maintain the honour of your country with your life.

  2.  A SCOUT IS LOYAL to the King, and to his officers, and to his country, and to his employers.  He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy, or who even talks badly of them. 2. A SCOUT is LOYAL TO THE KING, and to his officers, and to his parents, his country, and his employers. He must stick to them through thick and thin against anyone who is their enemy or who even talks badly of them. 2. A SCOUT is LOYAL. He is loyal to all to whom loyalty is due; his Scout Leader, his home and parents and country. 2. LOYAL. A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation. 2. A Scout is LOYAL. A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school, nation, and world community. 2. A Scout is loyal. A Scout is true to his family, friends, Scout leaders, school, and nation. 2. A Scout is loyal to his country, his leaders, his parents, his employers, and those under him. 2.  A Scout is loyal.

Scouts are loyal to anyone to whom loyalty is due.

3) Defend the poor and weak. 11. Be helpful. Do your share of the work for the glory that the service brings, for the strength one gets in serving. 3. A SCOUT'S DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL AND TO HELP OTHERS.  And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it.  When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, "Which is my duty?" this is, "Which is best for other people?" --and do that one.  He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons.  And he must do a good turn to somebody every day. 3. A SCOUT'S DUTY IS TO BE USEFUL AND TO HELP OTHERS.  And he is to do his duty before anything else, even though he gives up his own pleasure, or comfort, or safety to do it.  When in difficulty to know which of two things to do, he must ask himself, "Which is my duty?" this is, "Which is best for other people?" --and do that one.  He must Be Prepared at any time to save life, or to help injured persons.  And he must do a good turn to somebody every day [SfB]. 3. A SCOUT is HELPFUL. He must be prepared at any time to save life, help injured persons, and share the home duties. He must do at least one good turn to somebody every day. 3. HELPFUL. A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward. 3. A Scout is HELPFUL. A Scout is concerned about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward. 3. A Scout is helpful. A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward. 3. A Scoutís duty is be useful and to help others. 3.  A Scoutís duty is be useful and to help others.

Scouts are thoughtful and quick to offer a helping hand to those in need, and must do a good turn for somebody every day.

    4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL, AND A BROTHER TO EVERY OTHER SCOUT, NO MATTER TO WHAT SOCIAL CLASS THE OTHER BELONGS. Thus if a Scout meets another Scout, even though a stranger to him, he must speak to him, and help him in any way that he can, either to carry out the duty he is then doing, or by giving him food or, as far as possible, anything that he may be in want of. A scout must never be a SNOB. A snob is one who looks down upon another because he is poorer, or who is poor and resents another because he is rich. A scout accepts another man as he finds him, and makes the best of him.
"Kim," The boy scout, was called by the Indians "Little friend of all the world,"  and that is the name that every scout should earn for himself.
4. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ALL, AND A BROTHER TO EVERY OTHER SCOUT, NO MATTER TO WHAT SOCIAL CLASS THE OTHER BELONGS. Thus if a Scout meets another Scout, even though a stranger to him, he must speak to him, and help him in any way that he can, either to carry out the duty he is then doing, or by giving him food or, as far as possible, anything that he may be in want of. A Scout must never be a SNOB. A snob is one who looks down upon another because he is poorer, or who is poor and resents another because he is rich. A Scout accepts another man as he finds him, and makes the best of him.
"Kim," The Boy Scout, was called by the Indians "Little friend of all the world,"  and that is the name that every Scout should earn for himself.
4. A SCOUT is FRIENDLY. He is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout. 4. FRIENDLY. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own. 4. A Scout is FRIENDLY. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs that are different from his own. 4. A Scout is friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He offers his friendship to people of all races and nations, and respects them even if their customs are different from his own. 4. A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout. 4.  A Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout.

Scouts are friendly and treat all other Scouts like brothers or sisters in the family of Scouting.

5) Do nothing to hurt or offend anyone else.   5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS. That is, he is polite to all--but especially to women and children, and old people and invalids, cripples, etc. And he must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous. 5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS. That is, he is polite to all--but especially to women and children, and old people and invalids, cripples, etc. And he Must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous. 5. A SCOUT IS COURTEOUS. He is polite to all, especially to women, children, old people, and the weak and helpless.  He must not take pay for being helpful or courteous. 5. COURTEOUS. A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together. 5. A Scout is COURTEOUS. A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that good manners make it easier for people to get along together. 5. A Scout is courteous. A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows that using good manners makes it easier for people to get along. 5. A Scout is courteous. 5.  A Scout is courteous.

Scouts show courtesy, kindness and respect to others.

  10. Be kind. Do at least one act of unbargaining service each day, even as ye would enlarge the crevice whence a spring runs forth to make its blessings more.

3. Protect all harmless wild life for the joy its beauty gives.

 

6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS. He should save them as far as possible from pain, and should not kill any animal unnecessarily, even if it is only a fly--for it is one of God's creatures.  6. A SCOUT IS A FRIEND TO ANIMALS. He should save them as far as possible from pain, and should not kill any animal unnecessarily, even if it is only a fly--for it is one of God's creatures.  Killing an animal for food or an animal which is harmful is allowable. 6. A SCOUT is KIND.  He is a friend to animals.   He will not kill nor hurt any living creature, needlessly, but will strive to save and protect all harmless life. 6. KIND. A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason. 6. A Scout is KIND. A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not harm or kill anything without reason. 6. A Scout is kind. A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing. 6. A Scout is a friend to animals. 6.  A Scout is a friend to animals.

Scouts take special interest in protecting the environment and all living creatures.

11) Chivalry requireth that youth should be trained to perform the most laborious and humble offices with cheerfulness and grace; and to do good unto others. 9. Obey. Obedience is the first duty of the Woodcrafter. Obedience means self-control, which is the- sum of the law.

8. Be silent while your elders are speaking and otherwise show them deference. It is harder to keep silence than to speak in the hour of trial, but in the end it is stronger.

 

7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS of his  patrol leader or Scoutmaster without question. Even if he gets an order he does not like he must do as soldiers and sailors do, he must carry it out all the same because it is his duty; and after he has done it he can come and state any reasons against it, but he must carry out the order at once. That is discipline. 7. A SCOUT OBEYS ORDERS of his parents, patrol leader or Scoutmaster without question. Even if he gets an order he does not like he must do as soldiers and sailors do, he must carry it out all the same because it is his duty; and after he has done it he can come and state any reasons against it, but he must carry out the order at once. That is discipline. 7. A SCOUT IS OBEDIENT. He obeys his parents, Scoutmaster, patrol leader, and all other duly constituted authorities. 7. OBEDIENT. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them. 7. A Scout is OBEDIENT. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them. 7. A Scout is obedient. A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobeying them. 7. A Scout obeys orders of his Parents, Patrol Leader, or Scoutmaster. 7.  A Scout obeys orders.

Scouts follow directions from proper authorities and obey the law.

  12. Be joyful. Seek the joy of being alive-for every reasonable gladness that you can get or give, is treasure that can never be destroyed, and, like the springtime gladness, doubles, every time with others it is shared. 8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES under all circumstances. When he gets an order he should obey it cheerily and readily, not in a slow, hang-dog sort of way. Scouts never grouse at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor swear when put out. When you just miss a train, or some one treads on your favorite corn--not that a scout should have such things as corns--or under any annoying circumstances, you should force yourself to smile at once and then whistle a tune, and you will be all right.
A scout goes about with a smile on and whistling. It cheers him and cheers other people, especially in times of danger, for he keeps it up then all the same.
The punishment for swearing or using bad language is for each offence a mug of cold water to be poured down the offender's sleeve by the other scouts. 
8. A SCOUT SMILES AND WHISTLES under all circumstances. When he gets an order he should obey it cheerily and readily, not in a slow, hang-dog sort of way. Scouts never grouse at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor swear when put out, but go on whistling and smiling. When you just miss a train or someone treads on your favorite corn-not that a Scout should have such things as corns-or under any annoying circumstances, you should force yourself to smile at once and then whistle a tune, and you will be all right.
A Scout goes about with a smile on and whistling. It cheers him and cheers other people, especially in times of danger, for he keeps it up then all the same.
The punishment for swearing or using bad language is for each offence a mug of cold water to be poured down the offender's sleeve by the other Scouts. It was the punishment invented by an old British Scout, Captain John Smith, three hundred years ago.
8. A SCOUT IS CHEERFUL. He smiles whenever he can. His obedience to orders is prompt and cheery. He never shirks nor grumbles at hardships. 8.  CHEERFUL. A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy. 8. A Scout is CHEERFUL. A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy. 8. A Scout is cheerful. A Scout looks for the bright side of life. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy. 8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties. 8.  A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.

Scouts always maintain a cheerful spirit.

  3b. Conserve the woods and flowers, and especially be ready to fight wild-fire in forest or in town. 9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY, that is, he saves every penny he can, and puts it into the bank, so that he may have money to keep himself when out of work, and thus not make himself a burden to others; or that he may have money to give away to others when they need it. 9. A SCOUT IS THRIFTY, that is, he saves every penny he can, and puts it into the bank, so that he may have money to keep himself when out of work, and thus not make himself a burden to others; or that he may have money to give away to others when they need it. 9. A SCOUT is THRIFTY. He does not wantonly destroy property. He works faithfully, wastes nothing, and makes the best use of his opportunities. He saves his money so that he may pay his own way, be generous to those in need, and helpful to worthy objects. He may work for pay but must not receive tips for courtesies or good turns. 9.  THRIFTY. A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property. 9. A Scout is THRIFTY. A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property. 9. A Scout is thrifty. A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property. 9. A Scout is thrifty. 9.  A Scout is thrifty.

Scouts use all resources wisely and responsibly.

10) Rather die honest than live shamelessly. 7. Be brave. Courage is the noblest of all attainments. Fear is in the foundation of all ill; unflinchingness is strength.     10. A SCOUT is BRAVE. He has the courage to face danger in spite of fear, and to stand up for the right against the coaxing of friends or the jeers or threats of enemies; and defeat does not down him. 10. BRAVE. A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him. 10. A Scout is BRAVE. A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him. 10. A Scout is brave. A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.    

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Be clean, --both yourself and the place you live in. For there is no perfect beauty without cleanliness of body, soul and estate. The body is the sacred temple of the spirit, therefore reverence your body. Cleanliness helps first yourself, then those around, and those who keep this law are truly in their country's loving service.  

[Added in 1912]

10. A SCOUT IS CLEAN IN THOUGHT, WORD, AND DEED that is, he looks down upon a silly youth who talks dirt and he does not let himself give way to temptation either to talk it or to think, or do anything dirty. A Scout is Pure and clean-minded and manly.

 

11. A SCOUT IS CLEAN. He keeps clean in body and thought, stands for clean speech, clean sport, clean habits, and travels with a clean crowd. 11. CLEAN. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean. 11. A Scout is CLEAN. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean. 11. A Scout is clean. A Scout keeps his body and mind fit. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean. 10. A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.  10.  A Scout is clean in thought, word, and deed.

Scouts strive to maintain clean and healthy bodies, clean minds, and to practice clean speech and moral behavior.

 

  6. Be reverent. Worship the Great Spirit, and respect all worship of Him by others, for none have all the truth and all who reverently worship have claims on our respect.     12. A SCOUT is REVERENT. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties, and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion. 12. REVERENT. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others. 12. A Scout is REVERENT. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others. 12. A Scout is reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.    

The Knights' Code
(In BSA Scout Law order for comparison)

Woodcraft Indians
(In BSA Scout Law order for comparison)

Scouting for Boys,   1908 fortnight series 
(CAPS in original)

British Boy Scouts Association Scout Law
(c. 1911)

BSA Scout Law, 1911

BSA Scout 
Law, 1972

BSA Scout Law, 1990

BSA Scout Law, 1999

WFIS-NA Traditional Scout Law  
Source: Scouting For Boys Source: Ernest Seton's Birch Bark Roll, 1927 Scouter Magazine facsimile Source: SMHB, 2nd Ed. Source: SMHB, 2nd Ed. Source: BSA Handbook, 1972 Source: BSA Handbook, 1990 Source: BSA Handbook, 1999 (11th ed.) Source: The Traditional Handbook, 2003. BPSA-USA Scout and Senior Scout Program Manual. 
 

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Game with a Purpose ] Spirit Scavenger Hunt ] [ Scout Law History ] Learning Scout Law ] Woodcraft Laws ] B-P Law & Promise ] B-P Scout Motto ] B-P Salute Sign Badge ] Timberwolf Promise & Law ] Otter Promise & Law ] Traditional Variations ] The Order of Nature ] Boy Pioneers Constitution ] Scoutmaster's Benediction ] BSA as Religious Org ] Good Deeds ] What is a Boy Scout? ] A Scout is Reverent: ] When Others Say "God" ] On Patriotism ] Flag History & Care ] Value of Little Customs ] B-P & Nature Knowledge ] Religion of Backwoods ] Baden-Powell on Religion ] B-P Fundamental Ethics ] Letters to a PL ] Pantheism ] Evidences of Christianity ] Within My Power ] Has God in Him ] Matthew 19:13,14 ] Matthew 25:31Ė46 ] Kingdom God Within You ] B-P Badge + Sign ] BSA Congressional Charter ] Scouting in 1938 ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Traditional Scouting ] Patrol Method ] Adults ] Advancement ] Ideals ] Leadership ] Uniforms ] Outdoor Skills ]

The Inquiry Net Main Topic Links:
 [Outdoor Skills]  [Patrol Method [Old-School]  [Adults [Advancement]  [Ideals]  [Leadership]  [Uniforms]

Search This Site:

Search Amazon.Com:

When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online.  Thank you for your consideration!

Search:

Keywords:

Amazon Logo

 

 

Scout Books Trading Post

Dead Bugs, Blow Guns, Sharp Knives, & Snakes:
What More Could A Boy Want?

Old School Scouting:
What to Do, and How to Do It!

To Email me, replace "(at)" below with "@"
Rick(at)Kudu.Net

If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the "URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen.  Most URLs start with the letters "http://"

The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.  

©2003, 2011 The Inquiry Net, http://inquiry.net  In addition to any Copyright still held by the original authors, the Scans, Optical Character Recognition, extensive Editing,  and HTML Coding on this Website are the property of the Webmaster.   My work may be used by individuals for non-commercial, non-web-based activities, such as Scouting, research, teaching, and personal use so long as this copyright statement and a URL to my material is included in the text
The purpose of this Website is to provide access  to hard to find, out-of-print documents.  Much of the content has been edited to be of practical use in today's world and is not intended as historical preservation.   I will be happy to provide scans of specific short passages in the original documents for people involved in academic research.  

 

Last modified: July 03, 2013.