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The American Flag
The Betsy Ross Homepage
· Celebrate Flag Day CD
· Guidelines for Display of the Flag CD
Facts About the United States Flag (Smithsonian)
· Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment CD
· Die Geschichte der amerikanischen Flagge Deutsch
History of the Flag of the United States of America
· National Flag Day Foundation
· The Origin of Flag Day CD
· Our Flag (Government Printing Office)
· Flag Folding Procedures
· Ready Reference: U.S. Flag Facts
· The Star-Spangled Banner. The Flag that Inspired the National Anthem (Smithsonian)
· Today in History: June 14 - Flag Day
· The United States Flag CD
· The United States Flag Law (CRS Report) CD

Original Documents

· Federal Flag Code
· U.S. Flag Code

Exhibits - Digital Images
· Betsy Ross House Tour
· Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
· The Star-Spangled Banner Project
· Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and War of 1812 Museum


The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read:

"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 gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, there were many variations. During the Revolutionary War, several patriots made flags for the new Nation. Betsy Ross is the best known of these persons, but there is no proof that she made the first Stars and Stripes.

It was not until April 4, 1818, when President Monroe accepted a bill that prescribed the basic design of the flag which would assure that the growth of the country would be properly symbolized. It required 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 one star be added to the union of the flag on the fourth of July following the date of admission. The 13 alternating red and white stripes would remain unchanged.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day on June 14, the birthday of the Stars and Stripes. It was not until 1949 that Congress made this day a permanent observance.

See also:
About the USA > U.S. Government > The National Anthem
About the USA > U.S. Government > The Pledge of Allegiance

For High School Students
The American Flag
Educational Resources (American Flag Foundation)
· Ben's Guide to Symbols of U.S. Government: The Flag  

Link List

· Yahoo! > National Symbols > American Flag
  Teacher Resources
· Lesson Plans Flag Day (Education World)
· Oh Say, Can You See What the Star-Spangled Banner Means? (Edsitement)
· Stars and Stripes Forever: Flag Facts for Flag Day (Edsitement)
· The United States Flag (American Heritage)
Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
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Updated: July 2009