The American Flag is one of the many bits of culture that Americans are proud of. It might even be the proudest symbol of the United States, with over half of all homes displaying one.
But while many Americans love to fly it, few know the history of the American flag. Understanding American flag history is crucial to growing your understanding of your culture and developing into a better patriotic American
This article will walk you through a brief introduction to everything you need to know about the origin of Old Glory.
The American flag has its humble origins as a sort of make-shift affair to represent the colonies during the American Revolution.
The first design for something like our American flag is now known as the “continental colors” and featured Brittains Union Jack in the upper left-hand corner, with the familiar thirteen red and white stripes representing the 13 colonies.
This flag was used at the front of ships and at forts. However, there were also other flags around this time.
An Alternate History
No history of the American flag would be complete without the famous yellow flag featuring a coiled snake and the phrase “don’t tread on me”. This flag became popular around the same time as the original continental colors flag.
An alternate of this flag contained the words “liberty or death“.
The popularity of the flag and its directly rebellious image made it a top bid for the flag of the United States. It was most likely not picked because America did not forever want to define itself as a violent nation. After the American Revolution, they wanted to settle down and be taken seriously as a nation.
Betsy Ross Flag
In 1777, the Continental Congress formally approved the first official American Flag, commonly known as the Betsy Ross Flag. This flag — named after the woman who sowed it — contained the 13 stripes from the continental colors flag, with 13 stars in a circle, both representing the 13 colonies.
Strangely enough, there’s controversy over who designed this flag. The original story was that Betsy Ross designed it herself, but evidence suggests that it might have been Declaration of Independence signer Francis Hopkinson.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who designed the flag. There was likely input from several people However, they weren’t professional designers, so one can imagine that Mrs. Ross might have tweaked the ideas to get the famous design that we know today.
From here, the journey to our contemporary flag was a simple process of adding stars to represent new states as they got added. For a wild selection of various styles of the American flag, check out these products.
Understand the History of the American Flag
As you can see, the history of the American flag is long and rich. From its humble origins to questionable design, all the way up to our Betsy Ross adjacent flag, no matter where you go in its history, there’s something fascinating to learn.
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