American flag is the emblem of unity, liberty and strength of the United States. The nation takes pride in its most popular symbol. The history of rise of America as a nation is engraved in the tale of American Flag history.
The Early American Flag History
The early flags adopted by the first colonizers tell the story of their struggles with the alien wild world. Beaver, pine tree, snake and other symbols were attached to different banners with adages like ‘Hope’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Appeal to Heaven’ or ‘Don’t Tread on Me’.
Boston Liberty flag with 9 alternate red and white horizontal stripes flew over the Liberty Tree in the Hanover Square of Boston where the sons of liberty met.
The Pine Tree Flag became familiar in the sea as the banner of the gliders commissioned by General Washington.
The flag with the image of a snake or to be specific, the rattlesnake was popular in the colonies. The motto “Don’t Tread on Me” was the common adage for such a flag.
Another famous flag in the pages of American flag history is the Gadsden flag, which consisted a yellow field with a rattlesnake in spiral coil in a pose to strike in the center. Beneath the words “Don’t Tread on Me” dazzled.
On 1st January 1776 the Continental army was rearranged as per the Congressional resolution and were placed under the control of George Washington. When the Continental troop was cordoning Boston, which was taken over by the British army Washington ordered the Grand Union Flag with 13 alternate red and white stripes and a British Union Jack cut into the upper left hand corner.
The American flag history witnessed the hoisting of the unofficial national flag on July 4th, 1776 the Independence Day. It remained as the unofficial national ensign till the Continental Congress authorized the stars and stripes on June 14th, 1777.
No one knows for sure who designed the first flag. Some historians give this credit to Congressman Francis Hopkinson and some historians believe that on May 1776, Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia Seamstress sewed the first American Flag.
On June 14th 1777, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
Between 1777 and 1960 the Congress passed various acts to change the profile and contour of the American flag and allowed provision for addition of stars and stripes to mirror the entrance of new states.
The Evolution Of The American Flag
- The Act January 13 of 1794 provided for 15 stars and 15 stripes.
- The Act of April 4, 1818 designed the flag with 13 stripes and one star for each state.
- On June 24th, 1912, the Executive Order of General Taft arranged the stars in six horizontal rows containing 8 stars each with a single point of each star upward.
- On January 3rd, 1959 The Executive Order of President Eisenhower planned the stars in 7 rows with 7 stars each.
- The Executive order of president Eisenhower on August 21, 1959 provided for the stars to be arranged in 9 rows of stars staggered horizontally and 11 rows of stars spread out vertically.
- The stars and stripes of the American flag were created as a result of the resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of The Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777.
The Ultimate Flag
The American Flag today consists 13 horizontal stripes, 6 reds alternating with 7 white stripes. The number 13 stands for the original 13 colonies. The 50 stars represent the 50 states of the Union.
The colors are embedded with symbols. Red stands for Hardiness and Valor, White symbolizes Purity and Innocence and Blue is the symbol of Vigilance, Perseverance and Justice.
The American Flag is the torch-bearing symbol of freedom and epitomizes the value of liberty and sovereignty throughout the world. As writer Henry Beecher said, “A thoughtful mind when it sees a nation’s flag sees not the flag, but the nation itself. And whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag, the government, the principles, the truths, the history that belongs to the nation that sets it forth. The American flag has been a symbol of Liberty and men rejoiced in it….” After covering a journey of 230 years, the American Flag history truly upholds the character and strength of the Country named USA.