The Gadsden Flag
The history of the Gadsden flag.
The Revolutionary period was a tumultuous time for Americans. Many had escaped tyranny in England and were fighting to keep from under the thumbs of the British. Benjamin Franklin, during the French and Indian war, saw a need to unit all colonies. His quest was for freedom and individual liberty for Americans. He drew a cartoon for The Pennsylvania Gazette, which depicted a rattlesnake. The words, “Join or Die” were written underneath.
The cartoon played off a superstition of that time that if a snake was cut into pieces, it could come back to life if the sections were joined together before sunset. The snake illustration was printed in dozens of newspapers. The rattlesnake soon became a symbol for early America. It’s a reptile that prefers to be left alone. It won’t attack unless it is threatened; but once it is stepped on, it’s retaliation is deadly. The snake never surrenders; however, if you engage it, you should be ready to die. The bands on the rattle of the snake represented the colonies. This was significant because it is the part of the snake that grows. When one band on the rattle stands by itself, it can’t be heard; but when all the bands join together, the sound is terrifying.
The Join or Die flag began to change over time; and the snake was sewn together, calling for unity among the colonies. It began to be a symbol of liberty and freedom. Colonel Christopher Gadsden from South Carolina had seen the hissing, coiled rattlesnake rising up on a bright yellow banner. This time the words, “Don’t Tread on Me” appeared. He submitted a copy of the design to the Provincial Congress in South Carolina, and the Gadsden symbol was later painted on the drums of the American Navy.
As of late, the Gadsden Flag has been resurrected. It’s a rich part of America’s history, but most people had never heard of it. Average citizens have begun flying it defiantly and proudly. They have decided that it is time to reclaim their constitutional birthrights. Those who fly it feel like the government has overreached its powers and have infringed on their freedoms and liberties. It’s being used all over the nation as a rallying cry for less intrusive government. Texas and Virginia have submitted legislation to allow the Gadsden Flag to be an official license plate option for their residents.
If you are a devoted lover of liberty, the flag can be found in different forms including, shirts, decals, and bumper stickers. Please visit our flag store in Corpus Christi for more information.
With a passion for perfectly executed parties, Carl writes about event planning and the wedding industry. You may read more on his Tumblr blog.
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