We at Radical Survivalism Webzine understand the importance of knowing our nation’s history. Whether it be for the purpose of preventing the repetition of past mistakes, or simply as a means of expressing our patriotism as individuals, we feel many of you will learn from (and enjoy) this new series titled,”Flags Of Our Forefathers”.
The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden (February 16, 1724 – September 15, 1805). It was also used by the Continental Marines as an early motto flag. It was the first flag ever carried into battle by the United States Marine Corps, during the American Revolution.
The timber rattlesnake and eastern diamondback rattlesnake both populate the geographical areas of the original thirteen U.S. colonies. The snakes’ use in flag designs adopted by the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin circa 1751. Mr. Franklin made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, so in turn, Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes back to England.
In fall 1775, the United States Navy was established to intercept incoming British ships carrying war supplies to the British troops in the U.S. colonies. To aid in this, the Second Continental Congress authorized five companies of Marines to accompany the Navy on their first mission. The first Marines enlisted in the city of Philadelphia, and they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto “Don’t Tread On Me.” This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag’s symbolism.
At the Congress, Continental Colonel Christopher Gadsden represented his home state of South Carolina. He was one of seven members of the Marine Committee who were outfitting the first naval mission.
Before the departure of that first mission in December 1775, the newly appointed commander-in-chief of the Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins, received the yellow rattlesnake flag from Gadsden to serve as the distinctive personal standard of his flagship. It was displayed at the mainmast.
Considered one of the first flags of the United States of America, the flag was later replaced by the many incarnations of the current Stars and Stripes (often referred to as “Old Glory”) flag. Since the Revolution, the Gadsden flag has been unofficially reintroduced as a symbol of American patriotism, disagreement with government, and support for individual civil liberties.
In 2007, the Gadsden Flag has become an adopted symbol of the American Tea Party movement. Nationwide it serves as an addendum to the stars and stripes, stressing the Tea Party platform of reduced government spending, cutting taxes, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution. The Gadsden flag has also seen being displayed by members of Congress at Tea Party rallies. Some lawmakers have dubbed it a political symbol because of the Tea Party connection, and the political nature of Tea Party supporters.
Historical data provided by Wikipedia.