The American flag in its red white and blue layout means a lot of different things to different people. Understanding where the American Flag originated from and how it has changed will shed some light on what it means as a symbol and why it is so revered by Americans and those around the world.
The Current Incantation of the American Flag
In the current formation, the fifty blue stars represent the fifty states in the American union, while the thirteen red and white stripes represent the original thirteen states which seceded from England back in 1776. Other incantations of the flag had only thirteen stars and the American Flag has been modified and changed as history has left its mark on it.
After declaring independence from England, the American nation was set up as a democracy with a segregation of powers that prevented one man or group from assuming control. While different groups advocated a powerful President (federalist) the power of the President was drastically less than that of a monarch. Modern ideas of democracy were later copied in France and Western Europe, but were originated and best symbolized by the American Flag.
Multiculturalism and Opportunity
The United States has prospered and grown like few other nations to economically dominate the world for a long period of time. While many factors contribute to this such as a general migration from the eastern to Western Hemisphere, the open economic policy and economic and social mobility of American institutions also opened the way for Americans to prosper. The American Flag symbolizes this ability to prosper without being limited or judged by social status barring the door to your own personal success. So next time you grab an American flag hold it with pride and a sense of the many historical accomplishments of the American people.
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