On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year. A false tradition holds that the new flag was first hoisted in June of 1777 by the Continental Army at the Middlebrook encampment.[18]

The Flag Resolution did not specify any particular arrangement for the stars. The pictured flag shows the thirteen stars arranged in a circle, the so-called Betsy Ross flag. Although the Betsy Ross legend is not taken seriously by many historians, the design itself is the oldest version of any US flag to appear on any physical relic: it is historically referenced in contemporary battlefield paintings by John Trumbull and Charles Willson Peale, which depict the circular star arrangement. Popular designs at the time were varied and most were individually crafted rather than mass-produced. Given the scant archeological and written evidence, it is unknown which design was the most popular at that time.

The origin of the stars and stripes design is uncertain. A popular story credits Betsy Ross for sewing the first flag from a pencil sketch by George Washington who personally commissioned her for the job. However, no evidence for this theory exists beyond Ross’ descendants’ much later recollections of what she told her family. Another woman, Rebecca Young, has also been credited as having made the first flag by later generations of her family. Rebecca Young’s daughter was Mary Pickersgill, who made the Star Spangled Banner Flag.

Another popular theory is that the flag was designed by Francis Hopkinson. Hopkinson was the only person to have made such a claim during his own lifetime, when he sent a bill to Congress for his work. He asked for a “Quarter Cask of the Public Wine” as payment initially. The payment was not made, however, because it was determined he had already received a salary as a member of Congress. It should be noted that no one at the time contested his claim to have designed the flag.


10 Responses to “The Flag Resolution of 1777”

  1. 1 Emma February 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm


    Emma K.

  2. 2 Michael Tim February 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I love your site!

    Experiencing a slow PC recently? Fix it now!

  3. 3 Dominic March 24, 2009 at 2:37 am

    Oh my gosh, thanks for the site! Wonderful facts!

  4. 4 anonomys February 25, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    is there any more information?

  5. 5 Peter J Keim August 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I enjoy you website. However, I encourage you to correct your quotation of the Flag Resolution of 1777. You have several typographical mistakes.

    They are the following:
    There is no comma after “Resolved”
    “Flag” is capitalized
    “united states” is not capitalized
    The numeral “13” is used, not the word “thirteen”
    There is no comma after “stripes”
    There is a comma after “white”, not a semicolon
    “Union” is capitalized
    The numeral “13” is used, not the word “thirteen”
    There is no comma after “stars”
    There is no comma after “field”
    “constellation” is not capitalized

    It is important that quotations be accurately represented.

    Thus, to review it accurately:

    “Resolved That the Flag of the united states be 13 stripes alternate red and white, that the Union be 13 stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation.”

    Reference – A GRAND OLD FLAG, Keim, Kevin and Peter, 2007, DK Publishing – page 30

    Peter Keim

  6. 6 Dave November 11, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    wikipedia is much better then this

  7. 7 Lexi February 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks so much!

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