Evolution of the United States Flag

Evolution of the United States Flag
The United States flag has a long and proud history. Almost all historians agree that Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey Congressman who signed the Declaration of Independence, originally designed it. This was in response to a measure passed by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. It read in part "resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

This remained the law of the land until January 13th, 1794, when the act was amended to authorize a total of fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, in recognition of the addition of two additional states. As more states were added, it became clear that a stripe could not be added for each one. So, on April 4, 1818, a bill was signed by President Monroe, forever setting the number of stripes at thirteen. However, each new state would be honored by the addition of another star in the upper left hand field.

When the Civil War broke out, there was some debate as to whether the number of stars should be reduced to reflect the states that were in succession. President Lincoln strongly opposed this, however, and the field of stars remained unchanged during the conflict, except to add additional ones when Oregon, Kansas, and West Virginia joined the Union between 1859 and 1865.

On June 24, 1912, President Taft standardized the proportions of the United States flag and declared that each star should have a point facing directly up. The flag was altered twice by President Eisenhower in the 1950s, from 48 stars to the current 50.

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U.S. Flag