XL Don't Tread On Me Flag PatchRegular price $5.99
The Don't Tread On Me/Gadsden Flag Patch is a 3 x 5" PVC patch with a hook velcro backing designed for wear on plate carriers. This patch pays homage to the Gadsden Flag/Don't Tread On Me Flag but in an all black form.
- Gadsden Flag
- 3 x 5"
- Hook Velcro Sewn On Back
What is the Gadsden flag?
If you aren’t sure about the Gadsden flag, we’re hoping after reading this article, not only will you have all the knowledge, but you’ll have a new appreciation for the flag and what it really stands for. Because as our society changes, some have put a new spin on it. We’re here to help set it straight.
History Behind the Gadsden Flag
The “Don’t tread on me” flag can be seen pretty much everywhere. Even if you didn’t realize it, you’ve probably seen one on the bumper of a car or truck, on a flagpole, as patches on hats, bags or as a sticker. But how did it get here? Where did the Gadsden flag originate?
What does the “Don’t Tread On Me” mean?
First off, if you don’t know it already, the Gadsden flag or the Don’t Tread On Me flag picture a rattlesnake about to strike on a yellow background. The rattlesnake holds an integral part to the meaning of the flag, because it symbolizes vigilance and instinct to attack, but only if it is provoked in some way. The snake ended up on the flag because of Benjamin Franklin’s observation on the snake’s instincts.
Basically, Benjamin Franklin would reference rattlesnakes in his political conversations. But one day, it is said he made a reference to sending rattlesnakes to Great Britain from beautiful American after they had the audacity to send us convicted criminals!
Over time, Franklin’s metaphor about rattlesnakes was ingrained into the people when along came a man named Mr. Christopher Gadsden. Mr. Gadsden designed the famous Don’t Tread On Me flag. And so it became symbolism for the American people, our untidiness, our ability to stay calm until provoked, but oh boy you try stepping on us, we’ll make a deadly strike against you.
Who was Christopher Gadsden?
Again, Christopher Gadsden is the man credited with creating the Don’t Tread On Me flag. He was the one who presented it to Congress. However, some believe that he may have copied the flag. If you dig a little, you will find that both Christopher Gadsden and Esek Hopkins are both given credit for the flag’s concept.
Hopkins and Gadsden are tied together because later promoted Colonel Gadsden who had lead the Sons of Liberty and then served in the Continental Army and Continental Congress was said to have presented his personal Don’t Tread On Me flag to the Navy Commander-in-Chief, Esek Hopkins.
Gadsden Flag and the American Revolution Significance
Now, you might be wondering, how exactly did the concept of the rattlesnake take such root in our society? Sure, Benjamin Franklin was famous, but there had to be more. You see, leading up the American Revolution, Mr. Franklin did more than use the rattlesnake as a metaphor, he even had art, displaying a rattlesnake chopped into 8 pieces representing colonies telling the colonist to either “join or die,” and this really sat with the people because they were so unhappy that Great Britain had all this control over them.
However, “join or die” originally had nothing to do with our opinions of Great Britain. Instead, it was about colonists uniting together against the Natives. Later, it caught on as a catchphrase representing and encouraging the colonist to stand up for themselves against the Brits.
So, now we have this “piece of art” symbolizing unity through a chopped up rattlesnake, representing us against the Natives, turned into us against Great Britain. Then Gadsden comes along with his rattlesnake ready to strike on a flag, and because the rattlesnake already resonated with the people, it took root.
The Don’t Tread On Me flag represented both unity and strength and told Great Britain, here’s your warning, we aren’t backing down, we will strike if you provoke us.
Who coined the phrase, “Don’t tread on me?”
Unfortunately, no one knows who coined the phrase we know today, “Don’t Tread On Me.” We understand what it represents, but who actually should be given credit, that’s nothing anyone has found factual data on. Some may believe that Benjamin Franklin might have made the quote since he was known for his metaphorical speeches in reference to the rattlesnake, but nothing has actually tied his name to that famous saying.
The Gadsden Flag Controversy
Unfortunately, despite the true meaning of the Gadsden flag, there is some controversy. While the flag was never initially created or flown to represent any engagement in racism, Mr. Gadsden was a slave owner. Some individuals have tied his ownership to slaves to the meaning of the flag, and believe that this connection is enough to ban the flag from use.
The Gadsden flag has been through court cases even, after a man filed a complaint against his co-worker wearing a hat with the flag on it. To make a long story short, the man felt uncomfortable because of its connection to slavery and wanted the hat removed and policies put in place saying it would not be tolerated in the workplace.
Since then, there have been questions as to whether a political statement, racist or not should be allowed in the workplace. We won’t get into this here, but it is an import part of understanding where the Gadsden flag actually came from, what it represents, and sadly the direction in which it’s headed today.