Flag Day 1777

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th, commemorating the adoption of the "Stars and Stripes." On this date, as recorded in the original 1777 Journals of Congress included in this exhibit,  the U.S. Continental Congress passed the following resolution: 
Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States of America be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a New Constellation.
June 14th, 1777, United States Flag Resolution  from the first printing of ''Journals of Congress Containing The Proceedings In The Year, 1777 Published by Order of Congress by John Dunlap: Philadelphia: 1778.”    The Journals of the Congress, from which this Flag Act is displayed, formed the only central record of the colonies and the subsequent states”. Printed by order of Congress, this official account is printed by John Dunlap, who in addition to issuing the first publication of the Declaration of Independence, was one of “the principal printers to Congress”. The Journal exhibited covers the entire year of 1777 and includes the important final text of the Articles of Confederation, the first written constitution of the United States. In 1777 the continental Congress ordered only 300 copies of the final revised Articles: “the printed copies of the Articles, in the form of a 26-page pamphlet, were delivered to the president of Congress on 28 November… With each state receiving only 18 copies of the Articles, printers in many states were prompted to create their own copies of the document” in late 1777 and early 1778. All of the early printings of the Articles of Confederation are extraordinarily rare and desirable. The first official Congressional printing, the 1777 Lancaster pamphlet, is virtually unobtainable. This first edition of the Dunlap Journals for the year 1777 (printed in early 1778) would be the second official Congressional printing of the final text of the Articles of Confederation, the signal document governing the United States of America from 1781 (when its ratification was completed) until the enactment of the Constitution of 1787 on March 4, 1789. - image courtesy of the Klos Yavneh Academy Collection 

For 139 years, no national day honoring the flag was observed in the United States until Woodrow Wilson issued his Presidential Proclamation of 1916 establishing June 14th as U.S. Flag Day.   It would not, however, be until August 1949 that June 14th would be officially established as Flag Day by an Act of Congress.   

The 1777 Flag Resolution, as evidenced in the Journals of Congress, was meant to define a naval ensign (or naval national flag) and did not specify any particular arrangement, number of star points, nor orientation for the stars. Consequently,  the archaeological and written evidence on the numerous flag designs is sketchy and it is unknown which design was the most popular during the the 1777-1789 US Founding period.  The three most notable early 13-star arrangements are the Francis Hopkinson Flag, the Brandywine Flag, and the Betsy Ross Flag. 

Painter John Trumbull (1756–1843) used Declaration of Independence Signer Francis Hopkinson's US Flag Design in his paintings of scenes of The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton,  The Surrender of the British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga,  and Major General Charles Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown - Circa 1785-1822.

During the Battle of Brandywine, this banner was carried by Captain Robert Wilson's company of the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment. The company flag is red, with a red and white American flag image in the canton.

There is no evidence to support the Betsy Ross legend of sewing the first flag from a pencil sketch given to her by Commander-in-Chief George Washington, or teaching him how a five-point star is more simply cut than a six.  Betsy was one of a number of women who made flags, in a variety of styles, in Pennsylvania during the late 1770's; Benjamin  Franklin and John Adams described the flag to the Neapolitan ambassador in 1778 as bearing stripes in red, white and blue!  We do know, however, that  Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant adopted the thirteen star circle flag  in his June 10, 1783, Society of Cincinnati Diploma design.  

Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant Society of Cincinnati Diploma design, June 10, 1783 - Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress.  

In 1785 The Society of Cincinnati replace its 13 star field with the United States Great Seal as evidenced by this Diploma Signed by Society Secretary Henry Knox and President George Washington. 

We also know that the New York Historical Society owns the oldest known variation of the round 13-star flag which was incorporated into the Pewterers' Banner that was flown by their delegation while they marched in NY's "Constitution of 1787" ratification parade in 1788.

New York Historical Society's Pewterers' Banner  - image courtesy of the New York Historical Society 

Finally, regarding the US Founding Flags, we do know that the story of Betsy Ross sewing the flag emerged during the Centennial Celebration festivities in 1876, and that the most popular thirteen-star flag of the ceremonies was an amalgamation of  the Hopkinson and  "Betsy Ross" designs. A copy of this centennial flag is included in the exhibit.

This United States 13 Star Flag was utilized at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Celebrations - image courtesy of the Klos Yavneh Academy Collection 

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased from 13 to 15,  reflecting the entry of Vermont and Kentucky as 14th and 15th states in the union.  The Flag was not changed when subsequent states were admitted and with 18 states waging a second war with Great Britain, the 15-star, 15-stripe flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write his "Defense of Fort McHenry," now known as the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

Dr. Naomi Yavneh Klos, July 3rd, 2013, on the set of CBS Morning News explaining the origin of the United States Flag.

It was not until April 4, 1818, that a plan was passed by Congress changing the flag to 20 stars, with a new star to be added when each new state was admitted, while the number of stripes was reduced to 13  to honor the original states.   The April 4th Act is also found in this exhibit:

This image of An Act to establish the Flag of the United States, approved April 4, 1818 is taken directly from the Acts Passed at the First and Second Sessions of the Fifteenth Congress. This first edition, printed in Washington, by the Department of State in 1819 also includes: A resolution for the admission of Mississippi into the Union; An Act to establish the flag of the United States; An Act authorizing the President to occupy West Florida, west of the Perfido River; Act to provide for Illinois statehood; An addition to the 1808 Slave Act regarding importation of slaves "It shall not be lawful to bring Negroes, mulattos, etc... into the United States, from foreign place, in any manner whatever, with intent to hold them slaves;" Admission of Alabama and Illinois as states; An Act to allow use of the United States Navy to enforce anti-slave importation laws; A treaty with Sweden, Treaties with the following Indian nations - Wyandot, Senecas, Shawanees, Ottawas, Delawares, Pattawatamies, Chippewas, Menomenee, Ottoes, Poncarar, Cherokee, and Creek - image courtesy of the Klos Yavneh Academy Collection

Stan Klos lecturing at the Republican National Convention's PoliticalFest 2000 Rebels With A Vision Exhibit  in Philadelphia's Convention Hall 

Primary Source exhibits are available for display in your community. The costs range from $1,000 to $25,000 depending on length of time on loan and the rarity of artifacts chosen. 


Dr. Naomi Yavneh Klos hosting the Louisiana Primary Source Exhibit at the State Capitol Building for the 2012 Bicentennial Celebration.

Capitals of the United States and Colonies of America

Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present

Book a primary source exhibit and a professional speaker for your next event by contacting Historic.us today. Our Clients include many Fortune 500 companies, associations, non-profits, colleges, universities, national conventions, pr and advertising agencies. As the leading exhibitor of primary sources, many of our clients have benefited from our historic displays that are designed to entertain and educate your target audience. Contact us to learn how you can join our "roster" of satisfied clientele today!

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information


A Non-profit Corporation

Primary Source Exhibits

2000 Louisiana Avenue | Venue 15696
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70115

727-771-1776 | Exhibit Inquiries

202-239-1774 | Office

202-239-0037 | Fax

Dr. Naomi and Stanley Yavneh Klos, Principals


Primary Source exhibits are available for display in your community. The costs range from $1,000 to $35,000 depending on length of time on loan and the rarity of artifacts chosen. 

Website: www.Historic.us


Middle and High School Curriculum Supplement
For More Information Click Here

U.S. Dollar Presidential Coin Mr. Klos vs Secretary Paulson - Click Here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.