Happy 4th of July!
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress formally adopted the United States Declaration of Independence. The American Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, continued until 1783 when the British Empire abandoned their claim to the United States. The American flag took many years to become what flies so proudly today. Here are some parts of that journey.
Stars and Stripes
During the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on June 14, 1777, the following resolution was adopted:
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.
The resolution was vague on instructions such as how the stars should be arranged and how many points the stars should have. This caused flags to be created differently across the 13 states with some flags scattering the stars without any specific design and others arranging the stars in rows or circles. The stars themselves were also not consistent with some having six points and others having eight.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Ross made flags for over 50 years and is cited as making the first Stars and Stripes although no proof actually exists this was true.
Many other patriots also created flags for the new Nation such as Cornelia Bridges and Rebecca Young of Pennsylvania, and John Shaw of Annapolis, Maryland.
As new states were added to the Union, a new bill was accepted by President Monroe on April 4, 1818, requiring that the flag of the United States have a union of 20 stars, white on a blue field, and that upon admission of each new State into the Union, one star be added to the flag on the fourth of July following its date of admission.
The 13 alternating red and white stripes would remain unchanged.
Alaska and Hawaii Make it 50
By 1912, the stars totaled 48 with the last two stars being added in 1959 (Alaska) and 1960 (Hawaii). Executive Order No. 10834 issued by President Eisenhower on August 21, 1959, created a new arrangement of the 50 stars which became the official flag of the United States which still flies today.
The flag was raised for the first time at 12:01 a.m. on July 4, 1960, at the Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, Maryland.
Test Your Knowledge
Kick your holiday off with this American trivia quiz.
1. In what battle did British General William Howe’s dog tag along with retreating Americans? Bonus question: What did General George Washington do with the dog?
- Battle of Bunker Hill
- Battle of Brandywine
- Battle of Germantown
- Battle of Saratoga
2. George Washington, Commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the newly signed Declaration of Independence aloud in front of New York’s City Hall. The crowd rioted and tore down a nearby statue of King George III. What did the revolutionaries do with the statue?
- Sank it in New York Harbor
- Melted it and made musket balls
- Broke it into pieces and shipped it back to England
- Tarred and feathered it
3. How many of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in the United Kingdom?
- All of them
4. Where was the Declaration of Independence kept during WWII?
- The Old North Church in Boston, MA
- Fort Knox, KY
- The Greenbrier Resort bunker, WV
- Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, VA
This Fourth of July, we hope you and your family enjoy the many freedoms symbolized by our flag. As you think about your financial freedom, please let us know what we can do to be of assistance.
Happy Fourth of July!
Ralph Broadwater, MD, CFP ®
Copyright © 2020 The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc., All rights reserved.
1: C – Battle of Germantown (Washington returned the dog)
2: B – American revolutionaries melted the statue and made 42,000 musket balls.
3: D – 8
4: B – Fort Knox, KY
Learn more about the Declaration of Independence.
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