The first American flag, also known as the Betsy Ross flag, is the most debated flag in American history.
Betsy Ross flag
Betsy Ross flag in cotton, polyester and nylon
Get yourself a slice of American history with this iconic flag. This flag has all the original makings of the Old Glory, the modern U.S. flag we all know and love today. Most recognizable for the 13 stars in a circle in the canton or the top left blue field with the 13 red and white stripes. The United States Flag Store offers the Betsy Ross flag in a variety of different sizes and fabric options. We have got stick flags that are great for handing out at parades, patriotic festive events or bringing into the classroom and we also have your standard 3' x 5' flag, a great addition to any collection. These flags are offered in nylon, polyester and printed polyester. All are great options; it just depends on what you are looking for and what you want to spend. Nylon flags are the highest quality but will cost a little bit more and polyester and printed polyester are more of the value priced option. The majority of these flags are made in the U.S.A., so be sure to check them out. We clearly state this both in the additional information section of the product and in the top left corner of the product's icon. We also carry the Grand Union flag, another early design and historic flag of the United States.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress, seeking to promote national pride and unity, adopted the national flag. "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
Betsy Ross Flag History, the First American Flag for the 13 colonies in 1776?
The story of Betsy Ross is one that plays an interesting role in the public's perception. We have carried on this folklore without question, akin to that of the origins of what many of our revolutionary heroes, times and the stories around them were like. As with most, history however, aside from having proper documentation or even being sure of if the documentation itself is factual or true, it is quite difficult to discern fact from fiction. Along with all of this, we can also hear what we want to hear and oftentimes, history is remembered as how we like it to and even written by the victors, leading us to a recounting of something that may not even be true, but it's perceived as such.
The story of Betsy Ross is as we know as factual was that she was a seamstress and upholster with her own upholstery business. She was born into a Quaker family in Philadelphia and exiled due to marrying outside of this religion. It is also documented that she was paid as an upholster in Philadelphia to work on Naval Flags for the state of Pennsylvania around the same time as the stories of her design of the original first flag place her in.
The story or mythos of the Betsy Ross flag is that she is credited with the creation of the first official flag of the United States of America, whether this contribution is true is to be determined. This story was first told posthumously by Ross's grandson William Canby who had heard Ross tell him stories when he was younger. This would only be corroborated by other relatives who had heard Ross tell similar stories to them. Canby would write a paper and in it would state how his grandmother "made with her hands the first flag," of the United States. This would be presented to the Historical society of Pennsylvania in 1870. In his telling, it is claimed that in the spring of 1776, three men came to visit Besty Ross in her shop, they were Robert Morris, George Ross and George Washington with the task of enlisting Ross to make a new flag for the United States of America. The committee would have sketches of the flag and Ross would accept the job and begin manufacturing.
This version would have Besty Ross make the suggestion and contribution to use five-point stars and have them in a circle in the blue canton over the six-point stars that were in the design, possibly in a different configuration. It's said that the committee (appointed by Continental Congress) loved it and would soon after bring it to them. This version of the flag would get the passing vote and become the new flag for the United States of America on June 14th, 1777. Canby would push his version of the story to be heard and was published as a footnote in naval officer, historian, and writer George Henry Preble's 1872 book "Our Flag: Origin and Progress of the Flag of the United States of America." And just three years after the original presentation, Canby's paper would be picked up through Harper's New Monthly Magazine, widely read at the time and introduced to even more people.
In 1878, just a couple of years after the Canby presentation, J. Franklin Reigart, another descendant of Ross would publish a book based on the subject titled, "The History of the First United States Flag, and the Patriotism of Betsy Ross, the Immortal Heroine That Originated the First Flag of the Union ("Dedicated to the Ladies of the United States by Col. J. Franklin Reigart.)" While this book has been received quite skeptically by most historians, it still would influence the public narrative.
This would not be the last time descendants of Ross would continue to perpetuate the story. Oliver Randolph Parry would write a paper, presented before the Bucks County Historical Society at Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1909 and great-great-grandson Edwin Satterthwaite Parry would also publish "Betsy Ross, Quaker Rebel: Being the True of the Romantic Life of the Maker of the First American Flag" in 1930.
While Betsy Ross may not have actually designed it, it is generally accepted that the Betsy Ross flag at least what we know it as today is still the first official flag of the United States. And though merely a reconstruction of the original flag, the symbolism of the flag itself still waves proud and strong in our time. These stories recount just after the Civil War, after the nation had split itself in twain. We see these tales show up at a time when the country needed a banner to gather under. To give new heroes a chance to shine. We see the pieces come together. When we needed more than just one side of the human race to look up to because after all, its men and women, brothers and sisters.
Who created, designed and made the American flag? 13 Stars and the Meaning
It is likely that a handful of people created and designed the making of the first American flag. However, a lot of historians would pin this award to Francis Hopkinson, a true Renaissance man of his times. Hopkinson, a writer, artist, inventor, musician would contribute to the design of the Great Seal of the United States and to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Hopkinson would submit a letter to the government asking to be paid for the design of the flag, but was denied due to both being an employee of the government at the time and the fact that "many people," had worked on or contributed to the flag.
Even bearing this in mind, there are really only speculative answers. It is shown that in Philadelphia at the time of the creation of the flag, there were 17 flag makers and upholsters. There are no records that show Continental Congress had a committee to design the national flag in the spring of 1776.
Some of the first iterations of the United States flag actually saw the Union Jack (flag of the United Kingdom) in the upper left corner, known as the Grand Union flag. This was made as more of respect and honoring to where most of the colonists had come from, although was later seen as loyalty to the English throne. It was around this time that the necessity to make something new was born. To create something that was unique for the United States of America.
Like most of the history around the Betsy Ross flag the symbolism behind the flag itself would be no different. This flag was designed during the revolutionary war, so it's hard to say with certainty what one more person or people may have designed it.
- The 13 stars in a circle were for the 13 states in the union working together in perpetuity and equality.
- The red and white alternating thirteen stripes were to represent the 13 colonies. Revolutionary stripes were popular amongst the rebellious forces.
- The red was to stand for hardiness and valor, while the white for purity and innocence.
- Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Where is the original Betsy Ross flag now? As of now, there is no official original Betsy Ross flag in circulation or anywhere for that matter. What we do have is a historical collection of stories, art and publications.