5 Urban Myths Concerning The American Flag&Betsy Ross

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5 Urban Myths Concerning The American Flag&Betsy Ross


We the social people love and honor the Stars and Stripes but haven’t learned its entire truth

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

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

We now have our schoolchildren pledge allegiance to it; we now have consecrated it within our anthem that is national have actually a vacation, 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 flag that is american particularly its very very early history, are infused with misconception and misrepresentation. Listed below are five of the very commonplace fables.

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

The Betsy Ross tale is considered the most piece that is tenacious of relating to the banner. There merely is not any legitimate historical proof — letters, diaries, magazine reports, bills of purchase — that Ross (then referred to as Elizabeth Claypoole) either made or had a turn in creating the US flag before it made its first in 1777.

The tale cropped up in 1870, very nearly a century following the flag that is first 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 sun 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 throughout the very first formal nationwide Flag Day on June 14, 1916, is believed to have replied when expected his thoughts regarding the tale: “Would it had been real.”

Library of Congress

Much symbolism is caused by them, however the colors of this US banner have never ever had any type of official imprimatur.

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

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

Thomson’s are accountable to Congress on June 20, 1782, the afternoon the seal had been approved, included a description of this colors, just like those who work in the banner: “White signifies purity and purity. Red and Blue . means vigilance, perseverance and justice.”

Various documents that are official proclamations — including one by President Ronald Reagan marking 1986 since the “12 months of this Flag” — have actually echoed that thinking.

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Nevertheless the colors don’t have, nor have actually they ever endured, any official imprimatur. Historians think that the employment of red, white and blue into the Stars and Stripes is because of the inescapable fact that these people were the colors of this very first banner associated with United states colonies, the Continental Colors. And there’s little question where the red, white and blue regarding the Continental Colors arrived from: the Union Jack associated with the uk.

Users of the Electoral university recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Myth number 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 a public that is nationwide party associated with the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, through the Spanish-American War, nyc became the state that is first mandate that public college students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each college time. Numerous states accompanied suit, therefore the pledge stayed a basic for the day by day routine in numerous schools until 1988, whenever it became a concern within 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 places schools. Dukakis stated he did therefore after being encouraged that the statutory legislation ended up being unconstitutional.

During the height of this campaign, on Sept. 13, 1988, the pledge was recited on to the floor associated with the House of Representatives for the time that is first. Republican people in the homely house, have been within the minority, offered an answer compared to that effect, plus it had been accepted by Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat. Wright ruled that there after, the pledge will be recited at the beginning of company each that the House was in session day.

The Senate would not start daily recital of this pledge until June 24, 1999. Since that time, the pledge has grown to become the main opening rituals of almost all state and neighborhood bodies that are governmental.

In line with the Supreme Court, rules banning banner burning violate free message.

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

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

The way it is included Gregory Lee Johnson, a known user associated with the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, that has burned the banner during a protest during the 1984 Republican National Convention. He had been convicted of breaking Texas’s flag-desecration legislation, fined $2,000 and sentenced up to a 12 months in prison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction, governing that Johnson had been working out their First Amendment straight to freedom of message.

The Supreme Court’s decision invalidated a 1968 flag-desecration that is national, also comparable laws and regulations in 48 states (all except Wyoming and Alaska). Responding, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that law 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 speech.

Those choices resulted in a movement that is national amend the Constitution to produce banner desecration unlawful. The leading vocals for the reason that work happens to be the people Flag Alliance, that has been established in 1994 because of the American Legion. Proposed amendments have actually show up frequently inside your home and Senate subsequently but have actually yet to receive support that is sufficient.

This patriotic shirt positively 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 banner “to promote purposes.” It continues on to alert from the display or sale of any “article of product . upon which shall have already been printed, painted, attached, or perhaps put a representation of” the banner to “advertise, call awareness of, decorate, mark, or differentiate the article or substance on which so placed.”

Or in other words, once you wear a flag T-shirt or cap while reclining on a us banner coastline towel near your US banner camping seat, you might be breaking the Flag Code. The rule, that was used during the very first nationwide Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is a component for the law of this land. However it is perhaps perhaps not enforced, neither is it enforceable. It really is just a collection of instructions, permitting People in america understand what to accomplish — and just exactly just what never to do — with our red, white and blue nationwide emblem.

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

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