American Flag History

Every flag has a history of its own and if one delves deep, a fascinating story comes to light. The American flag is no exception.

Nobody knows for sure who first designed the Stars and Stripes, though there are some commonly accepted stories about the origin of the flag. According to one school of thought, Congressman Francis Hopkinson was the man who designed the flag, but some historians believe that Betsy Ross, a seamstress from Philadelphia, was the one who designed the American flag.

It was not till June 24, 1912, that the proportions of the American national flag came to be prescribed. As a result, flags made before this year show different patterns of the stars and unusual proportions. But mostly, stars were placed in a straight row and had proportions more or less similar to the ones now accepted.
 Several acts have determined the evolution of the American national flag. According to the First Flag Act, passed in 1777, it was established that the American national flag would comprise thirteen red and white stripes and thirteen white stars against a blue background. In January 1794, it had 15 stars and 15 stripes. In 1818, the flag had 13 stripes and one star for each state. In 1912, President Taft decreed that the stars should be arranged in six horizontal rows of eight each.

He also came up with new proportions of the flag. In January 1959, President Eisenhower decided that the stars should be arranged in seven rows of seven stars each, horizontally and vertically. And in August 1959, Eisenhower again made changes – this time, he said that the stars should be in nine rows horizontally and 11 rows vertically. As of today, the flag has 50 stars and 13 stripes.


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