Don’t tread on my flags – What are They All About?

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You might have seen yellow flags featuring a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike and “Don’t Tread On Me” written in the middle full article. Have you ever wondered, what is the significance of those flags? What is the history and significance of those flags What is “Don’t Tread On Me?”? This is not a strange question. You’re not the only one who has seen these flags at tea parties, political rallies, and even high up on someone’s home flagpole. They have also seen the same rattlesnake illustration on bumper stickers, and they are curious what it all means.

These “Don’t Tread On Me” flags have a history dating back to America’s Revolutionary War. The American patriots who stood against the British Empire and ruled the 13 original colonies used the phrase “Don’t tread on Me” as a rallying call. Idealistic patriots perceived the British government, and the British crown as unjustified and tyrannical. The British saw the Americans as subjects of the Crown. Americans considered themselves individuals who longed for their God given Natural Rights to be respected. The patriots viewed their British rulers as trampling upon, or “treading on” their inherent rights. This was not the case with any government.

Benjamin Franklin can be responsible for the use of the rattlesnake. British officials had a policy where they sent hardened criminals into the New World in order to keep them off English soil. Franklin created the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper in 1751. Franklin suggested America return the favor by sending rattlesnakes home on trading ships. Franklin would once again use the rattlesnake illustration in 1754’s “Join or Die!” posters that he used to unify the colonies.