What Does The Don’t Tread On Me Flag Mean?

The Don’t Tread On Me flag has a long history as an icon of American independence. It was designed by Christopher Gadsden, who served in the Continental Congress and fought for American liberty. The flag is still used today as a symbol of freedom.

What Does Don't Tread On Me Mean?

It’s a symbol of freedom and independence. The rattlesnake is a symbol of American resolve. As the story goes, in 1775, British troops were marching toward Lexington and Concord to seize colonial weapons. A colonist named John Gadsden made a flag with a coiled rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me” that was meant to send a message to British soldiers not to cross through their territory because they would rattle their tails in warning when threatened. Today it represents patriotism.

Note:  The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the rattlesnake are the words "DON'T TREAD ON ME," and above it, there's a small scroll also with the words "DON'T TREAD ON ME." It was designed in 1775 by American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was used as a military standard by the Continental Marines as well as pirates.

When And Who Designed The Tread On Me Flag?

The Don't Tread On Christopher Gadsden designed me flag in 1775. He was a captain in the South Carolina Navy during the American Revolution and is also credited with designing another important symbol of freedom, the rattlesnake shown on the Charleston city flag.

According to legend, Gadsden threw a party for his officers after they captured an English ship called The Gaspee in December 1772. At this party, he flew a striped banner with a picture of a coiled rattlesnake and 13 stars underneath it (representing America's first 13 colonies). It was meant to show that he would fight anyone who tried to "tread" on his land, whether they were British or his own government!

How Does It Represent The Seal Of The War Office?

In 1775, the War Office was established by Congress as the War Office of the Continental Army. It was charged with procuring supplies for the army and managing its logistics. The seal depicted a rattlesnake holding a scroll that reads "This We'll Defend," symbolizing resistance to British rule.

This predecessor to what we now know as the Department of Defense is an important part of our nation’s history and its independence from Great Britain.

Where Does Don't Tread On Me Come From?

The phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” is from a speech made by American Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene. It was first used as a flag motto by the Continental Navy in 1775 and has since been adapted for use on many other flags, including the Gadsden flag and the U.S. Marine Corps flag.

The original phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” comes from a speech made by American Revolutionary War hero General Nathanael Greene during the Battle of Guilford Court House in 1781. In his address to his soldiers, Greene told them they were fighting for freedom and not just their own land but that of others as well.

You will now have an opportunity of showing the world that you are worthy descendants of those heroes who fought so bravely in defense of American liberty; that you are not degenerate sons; be therefore vigilant and cautious, watchful and circumspect, courageous yet humble; be quick to hear, slow to speak; modest in your expectations of victory; learn war no longer from books but its practice; study it yourselves, be convinced that it is a science which only experience can teach.

What Does The Don’t Tread On Me Flag Symbolizes?

The Don't Tread on Me flag was first used in the early 1900s. During the Spanish American War, it was used by the marines as a symbol of various units. After this conflict, it was also adopted by the army and marine corps as a symbol of units that fought in both the Philippine-American War and the Boxer rebellion. It was also seen during World War I and US military action in Mexico against Pancho Villa's forces.

What Is Don't Tread On Me Flag Linked With?

As the United States entered World War I, patriotic fervor swept the country, and many flags were adopted as symbols of this patriotism. Among them was the rattlesnake flag, rediscovered and embraced by anti-tax protesters in New Hampshire in 1909. 

The original Don't Tread on Me flag was created by Colonel Christopher Gadsden, commander of South Carolina's Provincial Marine Company during the Revolutionary War. He presented it to his regiment as a standard to fly over their ships from 1775 to 1778. Its message became particularly significant during World War I when it was used as an unofficial symbol by soldiers from all branches of service (Army and Marines), who carried their units' colors into battle under its banners. Other branches also used versions of this banner in battle, including:

  • Army Infantry - 29th Infantry Regiment
  • Navy Submarines - USS R-6

How Is the “Dont Tread On Me” Flag Linked With Some Groups Protesting Restrictions?

In 2017, the Don't Tread on Me flag was adopted by some groups protesting restrictions on their rights in light of pandemic-related social distancing guidelines. The flag is historically associated with American patriotism and heroism.

What Does The Flag Represent?

The DSA flag was designed by a man named Christopher Gadsden. It was originally used to symbolize American independence and patriotism during the Revolutionary War. This is why it's often referred to as the "Don't Tread On Me" flag because that's what Gadsden wanted Americans to do if they saw this flag: Don't tread on them!



The Don’t Tread on Me flag is a powerful symbol of American independence and patriotism. It has been around since before the United States even existed and is still relevant today.


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