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Gadsden Flag

  • Year First Flown: 1765
  • Created By: Colonel Christopher Gadsden
  • Design: Yellow flag, with an illustration of a coiled rattlesnake, and the text “Don’t Tread on Me”.
  • Meaning: Rattlesnake used to illustrate American character and strength, while the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” signified how the colonists were not willing to yield to the British and instead would fight to the death for their freedom.
  • Historical Significance: One of the earliest American flags; used on naval ships during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Use Today: The Gadsden Flag is often used in historical reenactments, but recently it has also used as a political statement for Americans that stand against all oppression, from enemies and their own country alike. In addition, the Gadsden Flag has become the unofficial flag of the political group The Tea Party and is often flown at Tea Party events and political protests.
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