Who Created The Scout Law? – Ernest Seton or Robert Baden-Powell?

The 12 points of the BSA’s Scout Law was put together by Robert Baden-Powell and Ernest Seton. The first publication of ‘Scouting for Boys’ in 1908 Baden-Powell first proposed only the first 9 points of the Scout Law. The original 1908 Baden-Powell’s Scout Law was defined as; A Scout is…Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, and Thrifty.

When Seton started working on the “Boy Scouts of America Official Handbook” he collaborated with Baden-Powell on the Scout Law for the book. The original Baden-Powell 9 points of Scout Law was printed in the 1910 first edition on pages 32-34 (ref. Note & Link). Both of them worked out a 12 point Scout Law for the “second edition” published the following year. Using some inspiration from Seton’s Woodcraft Indian Law.

The Ernest Seton 1910 Woodcraft Indian Law was defined as; Obedience, Courage, Cleanliness, No Smoking, No Fire-Water, Wild-Life, No Wild-Fire, Kindness, Play Fair, Silence, Reverence, and Word of Honor.

Baden-Powell & Seton’s added 3 points from Woodcraft Indian Law to the BSA’s Scout Law in 1911; Seton’s Courage became Brave, Cleanliness became Clean and Reverence became Reverent.

⚜️ Note: The 1911 edition of the ‘Boy Scout Handbook’ claims to be the first edition. Many (including ScouterStan) consider the 1910 ‘Boy Scouts of America Official Handbook’ to be the first true edition. The 1910 edition is actually the 9th edition of Seton’s (1902) ‘Birch-Back Rolls’ combined with Baden-Powell’s (1908) ‘Scouting for Boys’. Tetnickly both books are the first editions in their own way.

📄 1910 Edition of the ‘Boy Scouts of America Official Handbook’ Pages 32-34 PDF: http://scouterstan.com/storage/1910-BSA-Handbook-Scout-Law.pdf

📄 1911 Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook (with all 12 points on pages 8-10): https://books.google.com/books?id=7bI5TJR9ONUC

⚠️ Important: Baden-Powell added “Clean” to the British Scout Law in 1911 making it 10 principles.

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