The American Flag

Information on the American Flag

Betsy Ross and the First American Flag

According to the story told by Betsy Ross to her children and grandchildren, she made the first American flag (Randolph 5). What is this saying about Betsy Ross? It is said some people are not really convinced she helped create the American flag. This is because there is no real evidence she was on the planning committee for the American Flag, some people think it could have been someone else. Also, because women did not play a big role in politics, not as much as men back then, that could play a factor in the way she could have made the American Flag. “Betsy Ross was on a committee with George Washington, George Ross, and Robert Morris to help come up with ideas for a flag to represent us as a country" (Randolph 42). With many ideas from each person, they finally decided on a design for our flag. Betsy Ross was a seamstress, it only took her a month to sew the flag together. "The final design for the flag has the same seven and six red and white stripes and in the left hand corner with a patch of blue with 13 five point stars" (Randolph 48). Betsy Ross finished the flag by June 14, 1777 when it was presented to the First Continental Congress and was approved (Betsy Ross 2).

Colors- Representation and Meaning

In the story of Betsy Ross: The American Flag and Life in a Young American; there is a saying “Resolved that the Flag of the United States be 13 stripes alternated red and white, that the Union be 13 stars what in a blue field representing a new constellation” (Randolph 54). This implies that the red and white stripes alter one another and there are 13 stars representing the Union in a new start, in other words the constellation. Some people think that the colors on the flag represent blood, sweat, and tears, but they really don’t. In some ways, that might be the case. The original flag design comes from “The flag had 13 horizontal stripes like of the first version of the British Union flag and also another popular flag the Sons of Liberty had 13 stripes only” (Smith 1). Today’s flag stripes represent the 13 original colonies and the stars represent the 50 states (“History of the American Flag” 6). Over a long period of time, the Flag has been altered in meaning and representation from the very first American Flag.

Holidays for the flag and other Representations

In the US, we have a National Flag Day. June 14th is the day we honor our American Flag (Flag Day 1). We celebrate this day because it was the day the American Flag was finished and presented as our country's Flag. In 1885, a school teacher from Wisconsin urged his students to observe this day as the “Flags Birthday” (Flag Day). This day was not an official holiday until 1916. President Wilson proclaimed June 14th as the official date for National Flag Day (Flag Day 2). This all started when the first official American Flag was approved by the Continental Congress on the date of June 14, 1777 (Smith 2). Although National Flag Day is not a Federal holiday, Pennsylvania still celebrates National Flag Day as a state holiday and the president gives a speech on this day as well (Flag Day 2). Betsy Ross made the flag for our country, and presented it to the Congress on June 14th. A year later after all the work and planning (Smith 3). Along with a holiday in general, we sing the National Anthem or say the Pledge of Allegiance everyday. The pledge was written on September 8, 1892 and was recognized by the US government (Pledge of Allegiance 1). Also there is the National Anthem, otherwise known as the Star- Spangled Banner. The National Anthem was written by a lawyer named Francis Scott Key in 1814, during the war of 1812 (Star-Spangled Banner 1). In 1931 it was adopted as our National Anthem by the Act of Congress (Star-Spangled Banner 1).

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Ferris, Jean. Betsy Ross. 1932. Photograph. Library of Congress, Washington DC.

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Gopink, Adam."United States" Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Online

Works Cited

Randoph, Ryan P. Betsy Ross: The American Flag and Life in a Young Women. New York: Rosen Group, 2002. Print.

"Flag Day." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Online.

"Pledge of Allegiace." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Online.

Smith, Whitney. "United States of America, flag of the." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Online.

"Star- Spangled Banner." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Online.

"History of the American Flag." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2013. Online.

"Betsy Ross" Encyclopedia Britannica.2013. Online.