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Do Not Tread On Me Flags. What Are They All About

Maybe you’ve seen the yellow flags with the coiled rattlesnake poised to strike and the words, “Don’t Tread On Me”, written on them You have probably wondered: What are those flags? What’s the history of these flags? And what does “Don’t Tread On Me” stand for? These flags aren’t just for you. There are many Americans who have seen them flying high above someone’s flagpole at tea parties and political rallies. Some have even seen the same rattlesnake picture on bumper stickers. They too wonder what it all means.

The origins of the “Don’t Tread On Me,” flags can be traced back to America’s Revolutionary War. The slogan “Don’t tread on me” was created to rally patriots against the British Empire, which ruled the original thirteen colonies. These idealistic patriots considered the British government and its Crown unjust and oppressive. The British saw them as “subjects” of the Crown, while Americans thought they were individuals seeking to have their God-given Natural Rights respected. The patriots saw the British as “trampling” on their inherent rights and not as any government.

Benjamin Franklin alone can be credited with the creation of the rattlesnake. British policy was to send hardened criminals to New World in an effort to remove them from English soil. Franklin’s newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, published Franklin’s suggestion that America send rattlesnakes back home to England in 1751. Franklin would use the rattlesnake picture again in 1754 to create his “Join or Die!” posters to unite the colonies.