The American flag hasn’t always featured the same design. When most people envision the American flag, they think of the modern-day design consisting of 50 stars and 13 red-and-white stripes. The American flag has featured this design for over a half-century. As a result, it’s become synonymous with our country’s official flag. Long before it featured 50 stars and 13 red-and-white stripes, however, the American flag featured several different designs. To learn more about the evolution of the American flag and how it has changed over time, keep reading.
The First American Flags Featured a Variety of Designs
Contrary to popular belief, the first American flags didn’t feature a universal design. In other words, they were created in a variety of designs. The Flag Resolution of 1777 passed by the Second Continental Congress specifically stated that the American flag should feature 13 stripes red-and-white stripes, and 13 white stripes against a blue background. With that said, it didn’t require a specific orientation for the stars. This led to several versions of the American flag, one of the most prominent being the Betsy Ross flag and another being the Bennington flag.
Some of the first American flags in U.S. history featured the 13 stars in a rectangular field, whereas others featured the 13 stars in a circular field. Regardless, the Flag Resolution of 1777 didn’t require a specific orientation for the stars. It gave designers the freedom to choose their own orientation.
The 15-Star American Flag
A different version of the American flag was adopted in 1795. It specifically called for the use of 15 stars. Previously, the American flag featured 13 stars, which represented the 13 country’s 13 states at the time. Of course, as new states were added to the United States, the American flag had to be updated to reflect these changes.
The five-star American flag was designed to recognize the statehood of Vermont and Kentucky. When these states joined the Union and became an official part of the United States, lawmakers changed the American flag from 13 stars to 15 stars. In the years to follow, lawmakers continued to update the American flag by adding new stars in response to new states joining the Union.
The Modern-Day American Flag
The modern-day American flag was officially adopted in July 1960. When compared to the previous design, it had one minor difference: 50 stars rather than 49 stars. The modern-day American flag was designed with 50 stars to represent Hawaii’s statehood. Since being adopted in 1960, it has continued to serve as the country’s official flag. This makes it the oldest version of the American flag to date.