Gadsden Flag

gasden patch

The Gadsden [gadz-duhnflag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend ‘DONT TREAD ON ME’ [sic]. The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden (1724-1805). It was also used by the United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag.

The use of the timber rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. It represented the colonies, with New England joined together as the head and South Carolina as the tail, following their order along the coast. Under the snake was the message ‘Join, or Die.’ This was the first political cartoon published in an American newspaper. Beginning in 2009, the Gadsden Flag has become an adopted symbol of the American Tea Party movement.

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