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The yellow flag featuring a coiled rattlesnake above the words “Don’t Tread on Me” has become a symbol for defenders of individual freedoms, self-reliance, and limited government. But this historical symbol has recently been co-opted by populist and nationalist movements who seek to unite people under a false banner of anti-immigration, xenophobia, racism, and conspiracy theories. In the process, the flag has been mislabeled as a far-right symbol and even associated with terrorism.Check this out:

When Christopher Gadsden designed the flag in 1775, he intended to promote colonial unity and the colonies’ determination to stand up against British oppression. He chose the rattlesnake, a creature unique to America at the time, as the main symbol because it was an effective emblem of the colonies’ resistance. The snake’s menacing reputation also worked as a metaphor for American strength and resilience.

Delving into the History of the Gadsden Flag: Origins and Evolution

While other patriotic symbols sprang up in the run-up to the Revolutionary War, such as the Liberty or Pine Tree flags, none endured like Gadsden’s design. The other two lacked the rattlesnake’s symbolic power and relevance, as well as its provocative slogan.

Today, the Gadsden flag continues to be used by those who cherish ideas of classical liberalism and support civil liberties. But the symbol must resist its co-option by forces that are completely at odds with what it has always stood for. The Gadsden flag does not represent populism, xenophobia, or the far-right; it represents individual liberty and freedom from oppression.


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July 2024