Why are the stripes red

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by EmailPoster, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. EmailPoster

    EmailPoster New Member

    Why are the stripes red and white?...
  2. sarahw

    sarahw Guest

    The design of the American flag seems to be based on the coat of arms of George Washington's family, which featured red stars and red and white stripes. The flag of the Sons of Liberty also had red and white stripes, so that might have been an influence as well.

    Thanks for asking!

  3. the colors of the ENGLAND flag are a red cross (+) going from top to bottom center and left the right center on a plain white background.

    i think the colors of the american flag has something to do with the colors of the england flag- the red stripes being the color of the mother country, and the white serperating red symbolizing the seperation from the mother country.

    of course the union jack (the UK flag) is different from the england flag but incorporates into it. the union jack has also royal blue (of scotland) in it.

    when styudying the american flag ppl need to study the uk's flags aswell becasue the colors of the american flag were taken from the uk flag-and geoorge washingtons family was from england and is coat of arms obviously- english.
  4. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, everyone,

    The story about Washington's coat-of-arms and the origins of the flag is apparently just a legend. It's an interesting coincidence that his arms were red and white and had stripes and stars, but as far as we know there was no historical connection between the two.

    Actually, it would not have made sense for the Continental Congress to base the flag on Washington's arms, for two reasons. First, the flag was created primarily for use by the ships of the Continental Navy. Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Army and had nothing to do with the Navy. Second, Washington was not yet "the father of his country" in 1777 -- he was an important and respected military leader, but he was not the head of government (in fact, he wasn't even a member of the Congress). If they'd wanted to base the flag on a coat-of-arms, there's no particular reason that they would have picked his.

    As to where the colors of the flag really came from, it's a fair bet that they came from the British flag. The first ships of the Continental Navy were converted British merchant ships, and already had British "Red Ensign" flags (the union crosses in the corner of a solid red flag). It would have been simple to create a new, distinctive flag by adding some white stripes (or other colors; at least one of them had red and green stripes!). This would have produced the "Continental Colors," which later became the stars-and-stripes when the union crosses were replaced with stars.


    Peter Ansoff
  5. wow great answer!!!! yea since i last did that other post i learnt it came from the british red ensign.....
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    "since i last did that other post i learnt it came from the british red ensign....."

    We don't know this for sure, of course, but it seems to be a pretty good guess. The Marine Committee of the Continental Congress drew up the regulations for the Navy in November 1775, and that's probably when they came up with the Continental Colors as well. It was first described in writing by a member of the Committee in mid-December 1775.

    I've run across one actual case in which a ship chandler in Massachusetts was paid for "an ensign altered to a Continental one." Again, we can't be sure, but it certainly sounds like he might have been adding stripes to a British red ensign.

    As I think you mentioned in an earlier post, the blue in the British flag came from the national flag of Scotland, which is a white St. Andrews' cross on blue. The Scottish parliament had a debate a few years ago about what shade of blue was correct for their flag. The decided on a medium blue (Pantone 300) which is much lighter than the blue on modern US and British flags.


    Peter Ansoff

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