By Historical Americana Co.
The new American Flag was brought into being by three Flag Acts of Congress reported here;
The Flag Acts are three laws that sought to define the design of the new flag of the United States. Each Act is remarkably short, the shortest being a sentence of 31 words, and the longest being a title and two sentences of 117 words.
The First Flag Act ~ June 14, 1777
By The Second Continental Congress 1774-1789
The first Flag Act was in response to a petition made by an American Indian nation on June 3 1777 for "an American Flag”. As a result, June 14 is now celebrated as Flag Day in the United States.
It is amazing to me that from July 4th 1776 to June 14th 1777, almost a year has passed in this new nation and Congress had yet to get around to creating flag for the new United States.
The country had been using The Grand Union Flag until the creation of this new American Flag.
Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.
Note! Congress made no references to the size, proportions, the types of stars and how the stars are to be arranged on the newly created flag. Congress described This American experiment in The Federal Papers as men governing men as something never done before in the history of the world.
Congress expressed that the stars be arranged on the new flag in a random fashion to resemble the various star constellations in our night sky. That is why you see early flags with all kinds of fascinating star arrangements; flag makers were trying to keep the wishes of Our Founding Fathers by using random star placements. The new United States was like a new founded constellation in the sky.
Flags from our beginning of our country up to 1912 were of a great variety of expressions till President Taft issued a Presidential Executive Order #1637 giving specific instructions on flag making. Since that event all flags look the same.
Copyright Steve Winters 2012
There is no mention anywhere in The Federal Papers concerning Betsy Ross making the first flag. Betsy Ross was a real person at this time in history and I am sure she knew who George Washington was but its doubtful that Washington knew who Betsy Ross was. Even so, Betsy Ross flags made by her descendants are highly collectable.
The Second Flag Act ~ January 13,1794
Signed into law by President George Washington.
An Act making an alteration in the Flag of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled, That from and after the first day of May, Anno Domini, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, the flag of the United States, be fifteen stripes alternate red and white. That the Union be fifteen stars, white in a blue field.
Note! Congress had no idea how fast the new United States would grow. The original flag was understood to add one star and one stripe for each new State added to the Union. So from 1777 to 1794 the country grew from 13 States to 15 States with the addition of Vermont & Kentucky. Flags under this Act are the only ones to have 15 stars & 15 stripes.
The Third Flag Act ~ April 4, 1818
An Act to establish the flag of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress Assembled, That from and after the fourth day of July next, the flag of the United States be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be twenty stars, white in a blue field.
And be it further enacted, That on the admission of every new state into the Union, one star be added to the union of the flag; and that such addition shall take effect of the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission.
This Act also designated that a newly admitted State does not become an office State till the following July 4th, Independence Day.
Note! By 1818 we had 20 States and Congress realized that adding a star and a stripe for each new State was not going to work out too well. This Act changed the Flag Act again to limit the stripes to 13, one for each original colony and add one star for each new States.
Collecting our framed antique American Flags is a unique and wonderful experience that provides tremendous enjoyment for all those who see them. They make great gifts for the person who has everything. Our flags brighten up any room they are in; An office, living room, conference room, family room, etc.
Click on our Framed Flags tab and our Rare Flag Offerings tab to view a delightful selection of affordable antique framed American Flags.
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Antique 13 Star Medallion Banner with painted stars.