The American Flag- History and Significance

american-flag | The American Flag- History and Significance | The American flag has been the nation’s symbol of strength for over 200 years. It also represents unity, instills pride and continues to inspire the citizens of the nation. The flag is a key icon in history and is known for the special past from which it originated. The flag may be represented in many ways including those of toothpick flags, small flags during parades and more.


  • The reorganization of the Continental army took place in 1776 on New Year’s Day. This was in line with American forces being placed under the control of George Washington according to a Congressional resolution.
  • Washington ordered for the hoisting of the Grand Union flag over his Prospect Hill base. It consisted of a total of 13 stripes that were alternately red and white in color along with British Union Jack located at the corner of the flag.
  • Establishing a flag for the newly born nation required the Continental Congress to pass the Flag Act in 1777. June 14 marked the official establishment of the flag. The Act stated that there would be 13 stripes, alternately red and white on the United States flag; the union would constitute thirteen stars, white in blue field and would represent a new constellation.


  • Congress passed numerous acts over the years, notably from 1777 to 1960, to change the design, arrangement and shape of the flag. A provision was made for more stars as well as stripes to represent the inclusion of every new state.
  • Fifteen stripes and stars were provided for fro May 1975 according to the January 13, 1794 Act. The following Act of 1818 catered for a total of 13 stripes and a single star for every state to be included in the flag on July 4 after each new state was admitted. President Monroe signed the Act. Click here for more about the history of the American flag.
  • President Taft’s Executive Order in 1912 established the flag’s proportions and a provision for arranging the stars in six rows in a horizontal formation with eight of each and one point of every star facing upwards.
  • President Eisenhower’s 1959 Executive Order in January made a provision for arranging seven rows of stars with seven stars in each, staggering vertically and horizontally. Later that year in August, the president’s Executive Order provided for arranging nine rows of stars staggering horizontally and vertically staggering stars in eleven rows.


The flag currently consists of the distinct 13 horizontal stripes. There are seven red stripes that alternate with six white stripes. The 13 stripes serve as a representation of the original colonies while the stars reflect the Union’s 50 states. Its colors are also symbolic with red, white and blue representing attributes such as hardiness, valor, purity, innocence, vigilance and justice.


The flag is among the nation’s most recognized and prominent symbols of the United States. Old Glory has been firmly by the American soldiers’ sides for more than two centuries.  Over four decades later, its position on the moon is intact. The American flag continues to be a distinct Americanism symbol that is valued for its history and is flown or waved during several important occasions.


Samuel Simpson is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, history and business. He has written articles for a variety of publications and enjoys the challenge of learning new things. For more information about the history of the American flag, please visit the site.

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