5 Fables In Regards To The American Flag&Betsy Ross

We the people love and honor the Stars and Stripes but have not mastered its entire truth

A artwork by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (circa 1920) of Betsy Ross and George Washington (far left)

Americans love our banner. We show it at concerts and stadiums to commemorate, as well as times during the nationwide tragedy to demonstrate our resolve.

We now have our schoolchildren pledge allegiance to it; we now have consecrated it inside our anthem that is national have actually a vacation, Flag Day, to honor it every June 14, also contain it on prominent display when it comes to Fourth of July.


Yet the iconography and reputation for the flag that is american specially its very very early history, are infused with myth and misrepresentation. Listed below are five of the very commonplace fables.

Myth # 1: Betsy Ross made the very first US banner.

The Betsy Ross tale is one of piece that is tenacious of concerning the banner. There merely isn’t any legitimate evidence that is historical letters, diaries, magazine reports, bills of purchase — that Ross (then referred to as Elizabeth Claypoole) either made or possessed a turn in creating the US banner before it made its first in 1777.

The tale cropped up in 1870, nearly a century following the very first banner had been supposedly sewn, when William Canby, Ross’ grandson, told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that their grandmother made the banner at George Washington’s behest. Canby’s evidence that is sole affidavits from loved ones. The iconic 1893 artwork of Ross sitting in her Philadelphia parlor utilizing the sunlight beaming straight down in the banner inside her lap is just a scene created by Charles H. Weisgerber, the artist and business owner who profited through the Betsy Ross legend.

While Ross did make flags in Philadelphia within the belated 1770s, it is all but sure the storyline about her creating the US banner is a misconception.

As President Woodrow Wilson, whom presided throughout the first formal national Flag Day on June 14, 1916, is believed to have replied when expected their thoughts from the tale: « Would so it were real. »

Library of Congress

Much symbolism happens to be caused by them, however the colors for the flag that is american never really had almost any formal imprimatur.

Myth # 2. The red, white and blue colors represent American sacrifice.

No law that is federal resolution or professional order exists supplying the official reason behind the flag’s colors — or their meaning. The thing that is closest to a conclusion would be the terms of Charles Thomson, the assistant for the Continental Congress, who was simply instrumental within the design for the Great Seal regarding the united states of america.

Thomson’s are accountable to Congress on June 20, 1782, your day the seal ended up being authorized, included a description associated with colors, just like those in the banner: « White signifies purity and purity. Red and Blue . Signifies vigilance, justice and perseverance. »

Various documents that are official proclamations — including one by President Ronald Reagan marking 1986 whilst the « 12 months associated with Flag » — have actually echoed that thinking.

However the colors would not have, nor have actually they ever endured, any imprimatur that is official. Historians believe making use of red, white and blue when you look at the Stars and Stripes is due to the inescapable fact that these were the colors associated with the very very first flag associated with United states colonies, the Continental Colors. And there’s small question where the red, white and blue for the Continental Colors arrived from: the Union Jack for the uk.

People of the Electoral College recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Myth # 3: The Pledge of Allegiance is certainly recited in Congress as well as other bodies that are governmental.

The pledge ended up being compiled by mag editor Francis Bellamy in 1892 for the public that is nationwide party of this 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, throughout the Spanish-American War, ny became the very first state to mandate that public school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each college time. Numerous states adopted suit, therefore the pledge stayed a basic associated with the day by day routine in lots of schools until 1988, whenever it became a concern when you look at the campaign that is presidential.

Vice President George H.W. Bush criticized their opponent, Democrat Michael Dukakis, for vetoing a bill as governor of Massachusetts that could have needed the pledge become recited in public areas schools. Dukakis stated he did therefore after being encouraged that the statutory legislation had been unconstitutional.

In the height regarding the campaign, on Sept. 13, 1988, the pledge had been recited on to the floor of this House of Representatives when it comes to time that is first. Republican people in the home, have been into the minority, offered an answer compared to that effect, also it had been accepted by Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat. Wright ruled that after that, the pledge will be recited at the beginning of company each time that your house was at session.

The Senate failed to start day-to-day recital for the pledge until June 24, 1999. Ever since then, the pledge happens to be an element of the opening rituals of almost all state and local bodies that are governmental.

In accordance with the Supreme Court, laws and regulations banning banner burning violate free message.

Myth number 4: it really is unlawful to burn off the flag that is american.

It had been unlawful until 1989, once the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the banner is a kind of symbolic message protected by the initial Amendment.

The situation included Gregory Lee Johnson, user for the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, who’d burned the banner within a protest during the 1984 Republican National Convention. He had been convicted of breaking Texas’s flag-desecration law, fined $2,000 and sentenced up to a 12 months in prison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction, governing that Johnson ended up being working out their First Amendment directly to freedom of message.

The Supreme Court’s choice invalidated a 1968 flag-desecration that is national, along with comparable guidelines in 48 states (all except Wyoming and Alaska). Responding, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that legislation has also been challenged and ended up in the Supreme Court. The court in 1990 really affirmed its previous ruling, saying that any legislation banning flag burning violated free message.

Those choices resulted in a national motion to amend the Constitution which will make banner desecration unlawful. The leading sound in that work happens to be the people Flag Alliance, that was started in 1994 by the American Legion. Proposed amendments have actually show up frequently inside your home and Senate ever since then but have actually yet to get support that is sufficient.

This shirt that is patriotic violates Flag Code directions.

Myth # 5: It is okay to put on a Stars-and-Stripes T-shirt.

The U.S. Flag Code frowns from the utilization of the banner « to promote purposes. » It continues to alert up against the purchase or display of any « article of product . Upby which shall have already been printed, painted, connected, or perhaps put a representation of » the banner to « advertise, phone focus on, decorate, mark, or differentiate the substance or article on which so placed. »

Easily put, whenever you wear a banner T-shirt or cap while reclining for a us banner coastline towel near your US banner camping seat, you’re breaking the Flag Code. The code, that was drawn up during the very first National Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is component associated with law for the land. However it is not enforced, nor is it enforceable. It’s simply a couple of instructions, permitting People in the us understand what to do — and just just just what never to do — with our red, white and blue nationwide emblem.

There’s absolutely no Flag Police. You won’t be arrested for putting on a flag-embossed t-shirt on Independence Day — or just about any time of the season.