The History and Patriotism behind the “Don’t Tread On Me” Flag

The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, also known as the Gadsden flag, is a potent symbol of American independence and freedom. Its origins are deeply rooted in the American Revolution, and it continues to be a symbol of patriotism and liberty.

The Gadsden flag was designed in 1775, during the American Revolutionary War, by Christopher Gadsden, a soldier and politician from South Carolina. It was first flown on a warship in 1775 as a battle cry for American independence from British rule.

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The flag features a coiled rattlesnake above the words “Don’t Tread on Me” on a yellow background. The rattlesnake had become a popular symbol of unity among the American colonies. This symbol originated in the 1754 political cartoon “Join, or Die” published in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette. The cartoon depicted the colonies divided as segments of a cut-up snake, exhorted the colonists to unite in the face of the French and Indian War.

The flag was used by Commodore Esek Hopkins, the United States’ first naval commander in chief, as his personal ensign during the American Revolution. His ship, USS Alfred, hoisted a flag that combined the rattlesnake and the “Don’t Tread on Me” motto. The flag was also flown as a motto flag by the Continental Marines.

After the United States achieved independence and adopted the Stars and Stripes as the official national flag in 1777, the Gadsden flag was mainly only a relic from the Revolutionary era for many years. However, it has seen a resurgence in recent years and is often used in the United States as a symbol for right-libertarianism, classical liberalism, and small government.

The “Don’t Tread On Me” flag is more than just a piece of cloth. It is a symbol of the American spirit, a reminder of the country’s struggle for independence, and a rallying cry for those who value liberty and freedom. Its history is a testament to the resilience and determination of the American people.

So, the next time you see the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag, remember its rich history and the ideals it represents. It is a symbol that continues to inspire and unite Americans, just as it did during the Revolutionary War.

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