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Second Flag Act

2nd Flag Act.jpg

3rd Congress, 1st Session, January 13, 1794


The Flag Act of 1794 (1 Stat. 341)


An Act making an alteration in the Flag of the United States.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled, That from and after the first day of May, Anno Domini, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, the flag of the United States, be fifteen stripes alternate red and white. That the Union be fifteen stars, white in a blue field.


The Second Flag Act of the United States, enacted on January 13, 1794, was a legislative response to the admission of new states into the Union and aimed to standardize the design of the American flag. The Act followed the expansion of the United States beyond the original thirteen colonies and recognized the need to incorporate new stars and stripes to represent each state. As a result, the Act mandated that from May 1, 1795, the American flag would have fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, reflecting the addition of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union.

The Act was a direct amendment to the earlier Flag Act of 1790, which stipulated that the flag would consist of thirteen stripes and one star for each state. The Second Flag Act of 1794 recognized the growing number of states and emphasized the importance of visual representation of this expansion on the national flag. However, as the United States continued to grow with additional states joining the Union, it became clear that adding a stripe for each new state was impractical. This realization eventually led to the adoption of the 1818 Flag Act, which returned the flag to having thirteen stripes to honor the original colonies, while adding stars for each state.

In summary, the Second Flag Act of the United States in 1794 was a crucial step in acknowledging the nation's expansion and ensuring the representation of new states on the American flag. This Act laid the groundwork for the evolving design of the flag and highlighted the importance of symbolism and unity as the United States continued to grow and develop as a young nation.



Additional Resources:


Second Flag Act


Second Flag Act 1795: Official & Unofficial U.S. Flags

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