Surprisingly, the origin of the United States national flag, the Stars and Stripes (also known as the Star-Spangled Banner, the Red, White, and Blue, and Old Glory), is somewhat obscure. The flag was officially adopted on June 14, 1777, when the Continental Congress resolved "the Flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation." Its immediate predecessor, the Continental Colors, consisted of 13 horizontal red and white stripes that symbolized the 13 colonies represented in the Continental Congress, with the British Union Jack as a canton to indicate that the rebels were demanding the historic rights granted to British citizens. How and why stars were chosen to replace the Union Jack in the new flag is not known. Stars were uncommon in flags in that era, although the Stars and Stripes has since made them popular.
At the time of the national centennial in 1876, Americans liked the popular story about the young seamstress Betsy Ross, who supposedly sewed the first flag for George Washington. However, according to historical records, although she did make flags, there is no evidence that indicates she was involved in making or designing the first Stars and Stripes. Francis Hopkinson a popular patriot, a lawyer, a Congressman from New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, poet, artist, and distinguished civil servant was almost certainly the person who designed the first Stars and Stripes.
- Next >>