|Betsy Ross and company, how pastoral they all look, sewing the stars and stripes....|
I know many of you are not American, but maybe these flags will be of interest to you. They are very different from Betsy Ross' stars and stripes, and a piercing reminder of the raw history of the American Revolution.
Benjamin Franklin's famous woodcut, published in 1754. The sections of the snake represent the 13 colonies.
Don't Tread on Me.
Join or Die.
Unite or Die.
Liberty or Death.
Long before the bald eagle was promoted to the symbol of freedom in my country, the rattlesnake was the familiar of the Revolutionary. When warnings aren't heeded, and you provoke us, we will strike, and it will be with venom disproportionate to our size.
|The banner of the Culpeper Minute Men, militia out of Culpeper, Virginia, formed in 1775. Read more about the Culpeper Minute Men by clicking this link.|
|Another sectioned snake, but in this instance, the rattles represent the 12 values, and the sections of the snake represent the 9 principles, not the 13 colonies. You can read these values and principles at http://delawarerepublican.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/unite-or-die/|
"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?"The sectioned snake, representing the 13 colonies, was also seen in Paul Revere's newspaper, Massachusetts Spy, fighting an English dragon, in 1774.
|The header of Revere's newspaper, showing the snake versus the dragon.|
|The most recognizable rattlesnake flag, known as the Gadsden flag, named after Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden, of the Marines.|
|This is the 1st Navy Jack, still flown today.|
To see a wonderful display of the American Revolution flags, including the snake flags, and to learn more about the Revolutionary War, check out HBO series John Adams.