Unpacking the Meaning of this Symbol of American Independence and Freedom
As long as there has been an independent America, there has been a flag with ‘Don’t tread on me’ written on it. In fact the flag predated independence, showing its face regularly throughout the revolution. However, the origins of the don’t tread on me meaning and of it’s significance as a symbol of a free America go back further than this.
Don’t Tread On Me Meaning
The Gadsden flag, also called the don’t tread on me flag, is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. The flag was designed in 1775 by Christopher Gadsden, a brigadier general in the Continental Army. It was first flown during the American Revolution.
The rattlesnake was a common symbol in Colonial America, used to represent resistance to British authority. The phrase “don’t tread on me” is derived from the warning motto of the Sons of Liberty, a group that opposed British rule in America.
The Gadsden flag is still used as a symbol of patriotism and liberty today. It is often displayed at sporting events and political rallies.
Where Does The Phrase ‘Dont Tread On Me’ Come From?
The phrase “Don’t tread on me” comes from the Revolutionary War era, when it was used as a rallying cry for the patriots. The flag with the coiled rattlesnake and the motto became popular among the colonies as a sign of resistance against British tyranny.
The flag was a warning to Great Britain not to trample the liberties of its subjects. A rattlesnake in a coiled up posture, is showing itself ready to defend and strike if threatened. If you tread on a rattlesnake, expect to get hurt. It very much represented the feeling within the colonies, where relationships slowly deteriorated toward the rule of the crown.
Americans have long had an affiliation with rattlesnakes. They were seen as deadly creatures that only attack when provoked. They were also a symbol of the harshness of their new world in the colonies. They saw in the snake characteristics of their young country: Not aggressive or intending to attack unless bothered, but deadly if provoked.
When Was The Gadsden Flag Created?
The Gadsden flag was first created in 1775 by Colonel Christopher Gadsden. He designed it to be flown on American merchant ships during the Revolutionary War.
The Gadsden flag was later adopted by the Continental Marines as their official flag. It continued to be used by the American military during the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. The flag saw a resurgence in popularity during the 1960s and 1970s as a symbol of the American counterculture.
Today, the Gadsden flag is flown by both conservatives and liberals as a symbol of American liberty. It has also been adopted by the Tea Party movement and other libertarian groups.
It has been used by both the US Navy and the Marines, as well as to represent the American men’s national soccer team.
Why Is There A Rattlesnake On The ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ Flag?
The rattlesnake was first used as a symbol of America, particularly the colonies in the 1750’s. Most notably in 1754 when Benjamin Franklin published an article in the Pennsylvania Gazette with the title, “Join, or Die.” The article depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each representing one of the colonies. Franklin called for the colonies to unite against the British.
The rattlesnake was later used as a symbol of the American Revolution. In 1778, General George Washington ordered the rattlesnake to be added to the regimental banner of the 1st Continental Marine Regiment. The flag featured a green rattlesnake with thirteen white stripes, representing the thirteen colonies.
The rattlesnake continued to be used as a symbol of America after the Revolution. In 1794, it was featured on the first U.S. coin minted by the United States Mint. And in 1818, it was added to the official seal of the United States Navy.
The rattlesnake’s association with America is now more than 240 years old. It’s a symbol of American independence and strength – and it’s still proudly displayed on the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag.
Cultural Significance Of The Gadsden Flag?
There are several different interpretations of the meaning of this flag. Some people believe that it represents the spirit of America, which is willing to fight for its freedom and liberty. Others believe that it represents the importance of self-reliance and independence. The rattlesnake is also often seen as a symbol of strength and power.
The don’t tread on me flag is a powerful symbol of patriotism and liberty. It reminds us of the importance of fighting for our freedom and standing up for our beliefs.
The flag’s message of liberty and resistance to tyranny is just as relevant today as it was in 1775, and it continues to be a popular symbol for those who value freedom and independence.
Other Significant Flags With Animals
The Gadsden flag is not the only one to have an animal featuring prominently in the design. Some countries, regions and states also proudly display animals on their flags, including:
- Wales – Dragon
- Sri Lanka – Grey Crowned Crane
- Uganda – Lion
- Tuscany – Pegasus
- Normandy – Two Lions
- California – Grizzly Bear
- Louisiana – Pelican
- Berlin – Bear