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2021-05-28 00:00:38

History of the American Flag

History of the American Flag

This material is dedicated to the history of the most recognizable flag in history - sung in culture and numerous photographs (hoisting on Iwo Jima, the Moon, the Eiffel Tower and many other places). Visually, even schoolchildren from a village in the Northern Altai or the inhabitants of the Polynesian Islands made acquaintance with him! Let's talk about the prerequisites for the appearance, mythology, as well as the numerous trials through which the Stars and Stripes were destined to go.

A short excursion into history

By 1776 the East Coast of America was a conglomerate of one and a half dozen British colonies. Tensions between the colonists and the royal authorities grew, until finally 13 colonies - all but the Bahamas and Vermont - sent delegates to the Continental Congress, the provisional parliament.

At the first congress, it was decided to present political demands to the king of England, and at the second, as soon as it became clear that the overseas ruler did not care about memoranda, on July 4, the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America was adopted. Independence put an end to the relationship between the colonial administration and the new Americans. Although formally it was about disagreements over the taxation of the thirteen colonies, the problems were not limited to fiscal issues: it is enough to recall the tragic events in Boston with the shooting of civilians in the Massachusetts colony with red uniforms and the subsequent political action of disobedience called the Boston Tea Party, when the colonists threw out into the sea hundreds of kilograms of English tea, protesting the tax rate hike.

The insurgent colonies used the Continental Flag, a slightly modified version of the East India Trading Company banner, a yellow flag with a snake made up of the names of individual states, a lone pine tree on a white or yellow background, and a dozen other banners. Basically, all this variety was used in shipping. Often this caused bewilderment of the port authorities of other countries, because a ship without a flag or with an unidentified flag is in fact a pirate. So the problem of finding a single symbol for the nation arose in full growth.

The symbol was found at a regular session of the Continental Congress in 1777: it was decided to execute a flag with 13 stripes symbolizing independent states united in a union, and 13 stars - a new constellation from the sky.

George Washington poetically declared that red stripes symbolize the British homeland, white stripes symbolize separation from it, and the stars, they say, are taken from heaven. Initially, by the way, they were supposed to be six-pointed. This has nothing to do with Freemasonry and the Jews: the founding fathers were just deeply religious people and they were not going to take from heaven any stars, but Bethlehem stars - this was the intent of Francis Hopkinson, a lawyer and one of the participants in the Congress, representing North Carolina. The flag of the colonial trading company was used as a basis, and the Union Jack was thrown out of the canopy, replaced with stars on a blue background.

The legend, according to which the stars have lost one end, is associated with the name of the seamstress Betsy Ross. According to legend, when delegates from Washington came to the workshop and asked to sew a flag, Ross announced that the flag should not be square - they say, more rectangular pieces of matter will turn out, and six-pointed stars will be tortured to embroider. Therefore, we need five-pointed. The general was not up to arguments with the seamstress, he agreed, and the other congressmen did not object either.

Despite the fact that the story is still printed in school textbooks and did not even encroach on Betsy's skin color, allowing her to remain white, this is just a legend. She appeared on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United States. It was narrated by the grandson of a hypothetical seamstress, and the newspapers happily picked up the tale, vividly coloring it with dozens of small details and details.

One way or another, no documents about this were found in the archives of the Congress. Were they there? Question: A couple of large fires could have destroyed the papers.


The Union flag remained unchanged for 18 years - officially. But in 1779, Captain John Paul Johnson went to Holland, and on the way captured a British ship that had lost its flag during the crossing. In the port of Amsterdam, the ships refused to accept, considering them pirate, but the brave captain did not surrender. He hastily made the flag from memory. As I remembered, I did so - however, adding blue to the red and white stripes.

But the Dutch have swallowed nothing. They even seem to like it.

Kentucky was formed shortly after the end of the Revolutionary War, and Vermont joined the union. States became 15. After a debate in Congress, it was decided to increase the number of stars and stripes to this number. However, the state of Tennessee was soon formed, and President James Monroe decided: the number of stripes should be left unchanged, and the stars should be added on July 4 of the year following the admission of a new member to the Union.

20 years after the beginning of history, an event occurred that imprinted the flag in eternity. The poet Francis Scott Gee, who lived at Fort McHenry, was heavily bombarded by British ships. The fort held out under fire for a day without lowering the flag. Francis was so impressed by this picture that he wrote a poem that praised the battle banner. In 1931 this text became the national anthem.

Let's go back to the stars. By 1863, after the separation of West Virginia, there were already 35 of them - under this flag America went through the Civil War and the Reconstruction of the South. And by 1931 - already 48. Only at this time the Congress got around to regulating the proportions, color and overall characteristics of the flag.

In 1949, National Flag Day was established and a code appeared: a set of rules governing how to handle the flag. It was ordered to do this carefully, observing traditions. Violations and abuses were punishable by fines or imprisonment until 1991, when the Supreme Court approved such a punishment as an infringement on freedom of speech.

In 1958, another expansion was planned: Alaska and Hawaii were going to be admitted to the United States. The authorities decided to collect proposals from citizens. One such proposal was a letter from Robert Heft, a student at a Lancaster school. The teacher rated his work with a three, and when the guy expressed dissatisfaction, he promised: I will change the grade only if Congress accepts your work.

Congress passed. In the end, the mark was never corrected.

The flag is now permanently displayed at the United States Marine Corps memorial, the president's home, the George Washington memorial, and other historic sites in the capital and cities of the country. On holidays, memorable and mourning days, certain manipulations are carried out with the flag, and in schools at various intervals - from “daily” to “monthly” - children take the oath of allegiance on the state flag.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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