History and Symbolism of the Gadsden (Don’t Tread On Me) Flag

The Gadsden flag was a conception of an American General and Politician Christopher Gadsden. He designed the flag in 1775 during the American Revolution. The use of a Rattlesnake on the flag did not happen by chance. In fact, the timber and diamond black species of rattlesnake were abundant within the original colonies.

Gadsden ‘Don’t tread on me’ flag shows a yellow field with a rattlesnake coiled at the center ready to strike. The words positioned below the rattlesnake are “Don’t Tread on Me.” During the American revolutionary period, colonies were fighting for their freedom and the Gadsden flag was an indication to the British forces that they should not take advantage of the American people and that the Americans were ready to fight back against perceived aggression.

Early Use

It used to be Great Britain’s policy to send its convicts to the Americas. Benjamin Franklin made a sarcastic remark in response to this practice by saying that Americans should return this British favor by sending rattlesnakes to England. Benjamin Franklin also used a timber rattlesnake in what is believed to be the first American political cartoon.

The picture depicted American colonies as segments of a snake and the famous line ‘join or die’ written beneath it. In 1775, George Washington in his role as the Commander in Chief of all continental forces in America established the Continental Navy to intercept British cargo supplies for troops fighting against the American colonies.

To aid the Navy during their missions, Congress authorized the formation of Marines – a special force to accompany US Navy on their missions at sea. The marines carried with them drums painted in yellow with a rattlesnake and a motto that said ‘don’t tread on me’ this is considered to be the first known use of Gadsden flag symbolism in United States history.

Before departing on their first mission, US Navy commander in chief Commodore Esek Hopkins received the famous Gadsden flag from General Gadsden himself, which then appeared on the ship’s main mast during its first mission in December 1775.

Gadsden Symbolism on the First Navy Jack

The current Navy jack which is the national maritime flag and also an official symbol of the United States government uses the symbols used in the original Gadsden flag. The flag consists of 13 stripes denoting the original 13 colonies that first united to form the United States of America.

Over the stripes is a rippling rattlesnake with the same motto which is ‘Don’t tread on me.’ The message for the enemy is the same that it should beware of the swift movement of the rattlesnake as it can always coil and strike when the time is right.

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault, (born October fifteen, 1926, Poitiers, France – died June twenty five, 1984, Paris), French philosopher as well as historian, one of probably the most important and debatable scholars of the post World War II period.

The son as well as grandson of a doctor, Michel Foucault was created to a solidly bourgeois household. He resisted what he regarded as the provincialism of the upbringing of his and the native country of his, and the career of his was marked by regular sojourns abroad. A notable but at times erratic pupil, Foucault received entry at the age of twenty to the École Normale Superieure (ENS) in Paris in 1946. There he studied philosophy and psychology, adopted and then abandoned communism, as well as established a good reputation as a sedulous, amazing, and eccentric pupil.

After graduating in 1952, Foucault started a career marked by continual movement, both professionally and intellectually. He taught at the Faculty of Lille, then wasted 5 years (1955 60) working as a cultural attache at Uppsala, Sweden; Warsaw, Poland; and Hamburg, West Germany (now Germany). Foucault defended the doctoral dissertation of his at the ENS in 1961. Circulated under the title Folie et deraison: histoire de la folie à l’âge classique (“Madness and Unreason: A History of Madness in the Classical Age”). It won critical praise but had a limited audience. (An abridged version was translated into English and published in 1965 as Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason.)

His other early monographs, written while he taught at the University of Clermont-Ferrand in France (1960-66), had much the same fate. Not until the look of Les Mots et les choses (Things” and “words; Eng. trans. The Order of Things) in 1966 did Foucault start attracting large notice as one of probably the most unique and debatable thinkers of his days. He decided to view his developing ideas from a distance – at the Faculty of Tunis in Tunisia (1966-68) – and was still in Tunis when student riots erupted in Paris of the spring of 1968.

In 1969 he published L’Archeologie du savoir (The Archaeology of Knowledge). In 1970, after a short tenure as director of the philosophy department at the Faculty of Paris, Vincennes, he was given a chair in the history of systems of thought at the Collège de France, France’s most prestigious post secondary institution. The appointment granted Foucault the chance to conduct intense research.

Between 1971 as well as 1984 Foucault wrote a few works, like Surveiller et punir: naissance de la prison (1975; Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison), a monograph on the growth of the contemporary prison; 3 volumes of a record of Western sexuality; in addition to countless essays. Foucault continued traveling widely, and also as his status grew he spent lengthy periods in Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

He became especially connected to Berkeley, California, and the San Francisco Bay area and became a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of California at Berkeley for a few years. Foucault died of a septicemia typical of Aids in 1984, the fourth volume of the history of sexuality however incomplete.