5 Urban Myths Concerning The United States Flag&Betsy Ross

5 Urban Myths Concerning The United States Flag&Betsy Ross

We the people love and honor the Stars and Stripes but have not learned its entire truth

A artwork by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (circa 1920) of Betsy Ross and George Washington (far left)

Americans love our flag. We show it at concerts and stadiums to commemorate, as well as times during the nationwide tragedy to demonstrate our resolve.

We now have our schoolchildren pledge allegiance to it; we now have consecrated it within our anthem that is national have actually a vacation, Flag Day, to honor it every June 14, as well as get it on prominent display for the Fourth of July.

Yet the iconography and reputation for the US banner, particularly its very very early history, are infused with misconception and misrepresentation. Listed below are five of the very most myths that are prevalent.

Myth # 1: Betsy Ross made the very first US banner.

The Betsy Ross story is considered the most piece that is tenacious of relating to the banner. There just is not doing homework any credible historical proof — letters, diaries, newsprint records, bills of purchase — that Ross (then referred to as Elizabeth Claypoole) either made or had a submit creating the US banner before it made its first in 1777.

The storyline cropped up in 1870, very nearly a century following the very first banner had been supposedly sewn, whenever William Canby, Ross’ grandson, told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that their grandmother made the banner at George Washington’s behest. Canby’s sole proof: affidavits from loved ones. The iconic 1893 artwork of Ross sitting in her Philadelphia parlor because of the sunlight beaming straight straight down in the banner inside her lap is really a scene created by Charles H. Weisgerber, the musician and business owner whom profited through the Betsy Ross legend.

While Ross did make flags in Philadelphia within the belated 1770s, it’s all but sure that the storyline about her producing the US flag is a misconception.

As President Woodrow Wilson, whom presided throughout the very first formal nationwide Flag Day on June 14, 1916, is believed to have replied when expected his thoughts in the tale: “Would it had been real.”

Library of Congress

Much symbolism happens to be related to them, however the colors of this US banner have never ever had any type of official imprimatur.

Myth # 2. The red, white and blue colors represent American sacrifice.

No federal legislation, resolution or professional order exists supplying the state basis for the flag’s colors — or their meaning. The thing that is closest to a conclusion would be the terms of Charles Thomson, the assistant of this Continental Congress, who was simply instrumental within the design for the Great Seal regarding the united states of america.

Thomson’s report to Congress on 20, 1782, the day the seal was approved, contained a description of the colors, the same as those in the flag: “White signifies purity and innocence june. Red and Blue . means vigilance, perseverance and justice.”

Various documents that are official proclamations — including one by President Ronald Reagan marking 1986 given that “12 months regarding the Flag” — have actually echoed that thinking.

Nevertheless the colors would not have, nor have actually they ever endured, any formal imprimatur. Historians think that the usage of red, white and blue when you look at the Stars and Stripes is because of the fact that is simple they certainly were the colors associated with first banner associated with United states colonies, the Continental Colors. And there’s little question where the red, white and blue associated with Continental Colors came from: the Union Jack associated with the great britain.

People of the Electoral university recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Myth # 3: The Pledge of Allegiance is certainly recited in Congress along with other government figures.

The pledge ended up being authored by magazine editor Francis Bellamy in 1892 for the public that is nationwide party associated with 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s landing. In 1898, through the Spanish-American War, nyc became the state that is first mandate that public school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each college time. Numerous states accompanied suit, therefore the pledge stayed a basic for the day by day routine in lots of schools until 1988, whenever it became a concern when you look at the presidential campaign.

Vice President George H.W. Bush criticized their opponent, Democrat Michael Dukakis, for vetoing a bill as governor of Massachusetts that will have needed the pledge become recited in public areas schools. Dukakis stated he did so after being encouraged that the legislation had been unconstitutional.

In the height for the campaign, on Sept. 13, 1988, the pledge ended up being recited on to the floor associated with the House of Representatives for the time that is first. Republican people in the home, who have been into the minority, offered an answer to this impact, also it had been accepted by Speaker Jim Wright, a Democrat. Wright ruled that after that, the pledge could be recited in the beginning of business each that the House was in session day.

The Senate would not start recital that is daily of pledge until June 24, 1999. Subsequently, the pledge has grown to become an element of the opening rituals of almost all state and regional government figures.

In accordance with the Supreme Court, regulations banning banner burning violate speech that is free.

Myth # 4: it really is unlawful to burn off the US banner.

It had been unlawful until 1989, if the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in Texas v. Johnson that burning the flag is a type of symbolic message protected by the initial Amendment.

The truth included Gregory Lee Johnson, a known user associated with the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, that has burned the banner during a protest during the 1984 Republican National Convention. He had been convicted of breaking Texas’s flag-desecration legislation, fined $2,000 and sentenced up to a 12 months in prison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction, governing that Johnson ended up being working out their First Amendment directly to freedom of message.

The Supreme Court’s choice invalidated a 1968 flag-desecration that is national, along with comparable rules in 48 states (all except Wyoming and Alaska). As a result, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act, but that legislation ended up being additionally challenged and ended up in the Supreme Court. The court in 1990 really affirmed its previous ruling, stating that any legislation banning flag burning violated speech that is free.

Those choices resulted in a nationwide motion to amend the Constitution to help make banner desecration unlawful. The best sound for the reason that work is the people Flag Alliance, that has been created in 1994 because of the American Legion. Proposed amendments have show up frequently inside your home and Senate since that time but have actually yet to get adequate help.

This shirt that is patriotic violates Flag Code instructions.

Myth number 5: It really is okay to put on a Stars-and-Stripes T-shirt.

The U.S. Flag Code frowns regarding the utilization of the banner “to promote purposes.” It continues on to alert from the purchase or display of any “article of product . upon which shall were printed, painted, connected, or perhaps put a representation of” the flag to “advertise, phone focus on, decorate, mark, or differentiate this article or substance on which so placed.”

To put it differently, once you wear a banner T-shirt or hat while reclining on a flag that is american towel near your American banner camping chair, you might be breaking the Flag Code. The rule, that was used during the National that is first Flag in Washington in 1923, is component for the legislation for the land. However it is maybe maybe perhaps not enforced, neither is it enforceable. It really is simply a couple of tips, permitting People in the us know very well what to do — and what never to do — with our red, white and blue national emblem.

There is absolutely no Flag Police. You simply will not be arrested for using a flag-embossed t-shirt on Independence Day — or just about any other time of the season.