Today In History: Stars And Stripes Adopted

Today In History |

June 14, 1777


Today in 1777, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution that made the stars and stripes the official flag of the Union. The text of the resolution dictated: "...the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white," and "the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

The flag had its origins in a flag called the Grand Union flag, flown by the Continental Army during the previous year. Betsy Ross, a resident of Philadelphia, designed the new flag at George Washington's direction. This version of events, while popularly accepted as truth, has actually never been officially validated by historians.


After the Revolution was successful, the flag was modified to include stars and stripes to represent new states entering the Union. When the flag got too busy, Congress passed a law in 1818 that said only stars would be added to represent new states in the future.

The first Flag Day was held on the centennial of the stars and stripes' adoption, in 1877. The day was celebrated by a mandatory display of the flag from every public building in the nation. The day would become an ongoing national holiday in 1949.

The flag has not been modified in 57 years. Guam and Puerto Rico have been on the shortlist for statehood for a very long time. Until they are officially made states, the flag will remain the same.

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Matt lives in Southern California. He is interested in politics, history, literature and the natural world.