Us Historic Flags

Written by Beth Hrusch
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The historic flags of the United States tell a story about the evolution of a nation. During the course of the past 250 years, colonists and citizens of the Union have used flags as a way to declare their allegiances, to defy the British and other threats to their liberty, and to identify themselves to other groups. In doing so, they have left behind a legacy that all Americans share.

Historic Flags and Their Origins

During the American Revolution, several well-known flags were designed and flown throughout the colonies, most of which were intended to show defiance of the British and declare the local aspiration to independence. The "Join or Die" flag shows a snake divided into eight pieces, each of which represented eight of the colonies. This flag echoed the "United We Stand" sentiment of those seeking support for the cause of independence.

The snake theme was reiterated in a couple of "Don't Tread On Me" flag designs intended as warning to the British that the colonists were likely to bite the heel of anyone who oppressed them. The Bedford Flag is one of the oldest flags flown in the U.S. This is a militia flag carried by minutemen to the battle of Concord. It portrays an arm holding a sword with the words "Conquer or Die" displayed on a banner.

Of course, the Civil War introduced a number of Confederate flag designs, which were red, white, and blue Union Jacks set in a variety of orientations. Later additions to the gallery of U.S. flags were the Presidential and Vice-Presidential flags and the ever-changing Stars and Stripes, which had no less than four different star configurations before arriving at its modern design. Historic U.S. flags are a great resource for information about American history.


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