Liberty Flags

Above is the first depiction of Benjamin Franklin’s “Join or Die” flag posted in The Pennsylvania gazette on May 9, 1754, according to the Library of Congress. It depicts the colonies (states) severing the serpent of monarchy and dividing the central power of New England which is depicted as the head of the snake.
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The Liberty flag, also known as the Moultrie flag, was designed in commission by Colonel William Moultrie, and flown by his troops when defending against the British fleet at Sullivan’s Island in June 1776.
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appeal-to-heaven-flag5The Liberty Tree Flag, also known as the flag of Washington’s Cruisers, was used originally by a squadron of six Cruisers commissioned under George Washington’s authority as commander in chief of the Continental Army in October 1775 and bears the inscription on it “An Appeal To Heaven” on a white background along with the Liberty Tree in the center. It was also used by Massachusetts’ state navy vessels and privateers sailing from Massachusetts. In the fall of the year 1775 the colonists created a fleet of six ships known as Washington’s Cruisers. These vessels sailed forth to capture British stores and ammunition bound for America’s shores. The ships were the “Lynch,” the “Franklin,” the “Lee,” the “Harrison,” the “Warren,” and the “Lady Washington.” The Lee was the only one of this first American Fleet to meet with success upon the high seas, capturing the British brig “Nancy” carrying arms, ammunition and provisions to the British Army in America.
This flag was officially endorsed by the Massachusetts Council, which in April 1776, passed a series of resolutions providing for the regulation of the sea service, among which was that the uniform of the officers be green and white, and that they furnish themselves accordingly, and that the colors be a white flag with a green pine tree and the inscription “An Appeal to Heaven.” The Pine Tree had long been the popular emblem in Massachusetts, with the sons of liberty having used the large tree in Boston Harbor as a place to rally against monarchy. The Liberty Tree was depicted on the coins of New England throughout the 1600s and 1700s.

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Above is a famous picture of the Bostonians paying the excise man! It depicts the tarring and feathering of John Malcolm in front of the Liberty Tree, and the Stamp Act hangs upside down on the tree. The Liberty Tree was an iconic tree in the Boston Commons that colonists rallied around during the Stamp Act crisis! Various acts of defiance against the King were staged here. In the background is a depiction of the original Boston Tea Party. This picture has remained in existence by the National Smithsonian Museum.
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” -Thomas Jefferson
The flag below was created by politician and General Christopher Gadsden in 1775 and was used by the Continental Marines with the Liberty flag! It’s also known as the “Gadsden flag.”
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