5 Fables Concerning The United States 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 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 flag, particularly its very very early history, are infused with misconception and misrepresentation. Listed below are five of the very common fables.

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

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

The tale cropped up in 1870, almost a century following the flag that is first supposedly sewn, whenever William Canby, Ross’ grandson, told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that his grandmother made the banner at George Washington’s behest. Canby’s single proof: affidavits from loved ones. The iconic 1893 painting of Ross sitting in her Philadelphia parlor using the sunlight beaming straight down in the flag inside her lap is just a scene conceived 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 late 1770s, it’s all but sure that the storyline about her producing the flag that is american a misconception.

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

Library of Congress

Much symbolism is caused by them, nevertheless the colors associated with US banner have never ever had any type of formal imprimatur.

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

No federal law, resolution or administrator order exists supplying the official basis for the flag’s colors — or their meaning. The thing that is closest to a description would be the terms of Charles Thomson, the assistant of this Continental Congress, who was simply instrumental within the design associated with Great Seal associated with usa.

Thomson’s are accountable to Congress on June 20, 1782, your day the seal was approved, included a description regarding the colors, exactly like those who work in the banner: “White signifies purity and purity. Red and Blue . Signifies vigilance, justice and perseverance.”

Various formal papers and proclamations — including one by President Ronald Reagan marking 1986 because the “12 months of this Flag” — have actually echoed that thinking.

Nevertheless the colors would not have, nor have actually they ever had, any imprimatur that is official. Historians genuinely believe that the usage 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 for the very first banner associated with the American colonies, the Continental Colors. And there’s small question where the red, white and blue associated with Continental Colors arrived from: the Union Jack associated with the great britain.

Users of the Electoral university recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

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

The pledge had been compiled by mag editor Francis Bellamy in 1892 for a nationwide public college party regarding the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, through the Spanish-American War, ny 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 used suit, additionally the pledge stayed a basic for the day to day routine in lots of schools until 1988, whenever it became a problem within the presidential campaign.

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

During 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 very first time. Republican people in the home, have been within the minority, offered an answer compared to that impact, also 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 time that the home was at session.

The Senate didn’t start recital that is daily of pledge until June 24, 1999. Since that time, the pledge happens to be an element of the opening rituals of the majority of state and regional bodies that are governmental.

Based on 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, if the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the banner is a type of symbolic message protected by the very first 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 pay for research paper 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 was exercising their First Amendment directly to freedom of message.

The Supreme Court’s choice invalidated a 1968 nationwide flag-desecration legislation, along with comparable regulations in 48 states (all except Wyoming and Alaska). In reaction, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that statutory 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 choices generated a movement that is national amend the Constitution to make banner desecration unlawful. The leading sound for the reason that work happens to be the people Flag Alliance, that was started in 1994 because of the American Legion. Proposed amendments have actually come up frequently inside your home and Senate since that time but have actually yet to get adequate help.

This patriotic shirt certainly violates Flag Code tips.

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

The U.S. Flag Code frowns in the use of the banner “to promote purposes.” It continues on to alert resistant to the display or sale of any “article of product . upon which shall have now been printed, painted, connected, or perhaps placed a representation of” the banner to “advertise, phone focus on, decorate, mark, or differentiate the content or substance on which so placed.”

Put another way, whenever you wear a banner T-shirt or cap while reclining for a flag that is american towel near your US banner camping seat, you may be breaking the Flag Code. The rule, that was used during the first nationwide Flag Conference in Washington in 1923, is a component associated with the legislation of this land. However it is maybe maybe not enforced, neither is it enforceable. Its just a couple of recommendations, permitting Us americans know very well what to accomplish — and just exactly just what never to do — with our red, white and blue emblem that is national.

There’s absolutely no Flag Police. You simply will not be arrested for putting on a t-shirt that is flag-embossed Independence Day — or some other time of the season.