5 Fables Concerning The United States Flag&Betsy Ross

By | September 10, 2019

5 Fables Concerning The United States Flag&Betsy Ross

We the social people love and honor the Stars and Stripes but have not learned 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 celebrate, and also at times during the nationwide tragedy to exhibit our resolve.

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

Yet the iconography and reputation for the US banner, particularly customwritings its very very early history, are infused with misconception and misrepresentation. Listed below are five of the very predominant fables.

Myth # 1: Betsy Ross made the initial flag that is american.

The Betsy Ross tale is considered the most tenacious bit of fiction relating to the banner. There merely isn’t any legitimate evidence that is historical letters, diaries, newsprint reports, bills of purchase — that Ross (then known as Elizabeth Claypoole) either made or possessed a submit creating the US banner before it made its first in 1777.

The tale cropped up in 1870, very nearly 100 years following the very first banner ended up being supposedly sewn, whenever 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 family unit members. The iconic 1893 artwork of Ross sitting in her Philadelphia parlor with all the sunlight beaming straight straight down in the banner inside her lap is a scene designed by Charles H. Weisgerber, the musician and business owner whom profited through the Betsy Ross legend.

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

As President Woodrow Wilson, whom presided within the very first formal Flag that is national Day June 14, 1916, is thought to have replied when expected his thoughts from the tale: “Would so it had been real.”

Library of Congress

Much symbolism was caused by them, however the colors regarding the American banner have never really had almost any formal imprimatur.

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

No federal legislation, resolution or administrator order exists supplying the state reason behind the flag’s colors — or their meaning. The thing that is closest to a conclusion will be the terms of Charles Thomson, the assistant for the Continental Congress, who was simply instrumental when you look at the design associated with Great Seal regarding the united states of america.

Thomson’s are accountable to Congress on June 20, 1782, the afternoon the seal ended up being approved, included a description associated with the colors, exactly like those in the banner: “White signifies purity and innocence. Red and Blue . Signifies vigilance, justice and perseverance.”

Various documents that are official proclamations — including one by President Ronald Reagan marking 1986 once the “12 months for the Flag” — have actually echoed that reasoning.

Nevertheless the colors would not have, nor have actually they ever endured, any imprimatur that is official. Historians genuinely believe that the application of red, white and blue when you look at the Stars and Stripes is because of the fact that is simple these people were the colors of this very very very first banner associated with the 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 great britain.

People in the Electoral university recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Myth number 3: The Pledge of Allegiance is definitely recited in Congress along with other bodies that are governmental.

The pledge had been authored by mag editor Francis Bellamy in 1892 for the public that is nationwide party associated with 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, throughout the Spanish-American War, nyc became the very first state to mandate that public college students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each college time. Numerous states adopted suit, together with pledge stayed a basic associated with the day to day routine in a lot of schools until 1988, whenever it became a problem into the presidential campaign.

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

In the height for the campaign, on Sept. 13, 1988, the pledge had been recited on to the floor associated with House of Representatives for the time that is first. Republican people of the home, who had been when you look at the minority, offered an answer to that particular impact, plus it ended up being accepted by Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat. Wright ruled that after that, the pledge is recited at the beginning of company each that the House was in session day.

The Senate would not start recital that is daily of pledge until June 24, 1999. Ever since then, the pledge is now an element of the opening rituals of almost all state and neighborhood bodies that are governmental.

In line with the Supreme Court, guidelines banning flag burning violate free message.

Myth # 4: its illegal to burn off the flag that is american.

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

The actual situation included Gregory Lee Johnson, a known user of this Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, that has burned the banner throughout a protest in the 1984 Republican National Convention. He had been convicted of breaking Texas’s flag-desecration legislation, fined $2,000 and sentenced to a year in prison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction, ruling that Johnson had been working out their First Amendment straight to freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court’s choice invalidated a 1968 flag-desecration that is national, in addition to comparable rules in 48 states (all except Wyoming and Alaska). As a result, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that legislation ended up being additionally challenged and finished up in the Supreme Court. The court in 1990 really affirmed its previous ruling, saying that any legislation banning flag burning violated speech that is free.

Those decisions resulted in a nationwide motion to amend the Constitution to help make banner desecration unlawful. The best sound in that work happens to be the people Flag Alliance, that has been created in 1994 by the American Legion. Proposed amendments have actually show up frequently inside your home and Senate since that time but have actually yet to get adequate support.

This patriotic shirt undoubtedly violates Flag Code directions.

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

The U.S. Flag Code frowns regarding the utilization of the flag “to promote purposes.” It continues to alert contrary to 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, call awareness of, decorate, mark, or distinguish the substance or article on which so placed.”

To put it differently, once you wear a banner T-shirt or cap while reclining on a flag that is american towel near your US banner camping seat, you will be breaking the Flag Code. The rule, that was used during the very first nationwide Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is a component regarding the legislation regarding the land. However it is perhaps perhaps not enforced, neither is it enforceable. It really is just a collection of recommendations, permitting People in the us know very well what to accomplish — and just just exactly what never to do — with our red, white and blue nationwide emblem.

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

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