History of the American Flag

History of the American Flag was adopted on June 14, 1777. It contained 13 stripes for the colonies and thirteen stars in a blue field to represent a new constellation. Its adoption came two years after the birth of the United States Army. It was said that the new nation needed a symbol of unity to boost troop morale.

Betsy Ross, who was known for sewing items such as dresses and hats, was commissioned to sew the first national flag. Her grandson and other family members signed sworn affidavits that she did in fact sew the first Stars and Stripes. However, primary sources do not support this claim.

From Betsy Ross to Present: Tracing the Evolution of the American Flag

Despite this, the flag was widely used by the Continental Congress. It was a symbol of defiance against what Americans saw as the unjust laws of their British home country. The colors were symbolic as well: red for valor, white for purity and blue for loyalty.

In 1818 a Flag Act was passed that set the number of stripes and stars at 13. The law also started the tradition of adding one star for each state admitted to the Union. This system remained in place until Hawaii joined the United States in 1959.

Throughout the years, there were many different versions of the American flag. Some had more or less stars, some were shaped differently and others even used different shades of blue. In 1912 President William Howard Taft signed an executive order that standardized the proportions, orientation and details of the flag. He also designated June 14 as National Flag Day.

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