Friday, November 21, 2008
Another U.S. Vertical Striped Flag; American Ensign
The American Ensign flag had 35 stars with 13 Vertical Red and White Stripes. The "Cartel for the Exchange of Prisoners of War between Great Britain and the United States of America," dated May 12, 1813 mentions a flag called the American Ensign. The exact origin and use of this flag is not known. A picture of the American Ensign may be found in Illuminated History of North America (1860). The American Ensign incorporates the blue stars similar to those of the Revolutionary war era Guilford Flag and the vertical stripes of the Civil Flag of the United States.
The Civilian Flag of the United States of America was flown, for over 100 years, by a select citizenry that could afford to buy them. Most used the design of the Customs Bureau and it's American Eagle, many used the design of the American Ensign. These were not official flags like those created by Congress for military use, but existed more or less by custom.
Nathaniel Hawthorne describes the Civil Flag of the United States for us in a chapter of the Scarlet Letter titled “The Custom House”. As Hawthorne gives a description of the Custom House in Salem he writes:
“From the loftiest point on its roof, during precisely three and a half hours of each forenoon, floats or droops, in the breeze or calm, the banner of the republic; but with the thirteen stripes turned vertically, instead of horizontally, and thus indicating that a civil, and not a military post of Uncle Sam’s government, is here established.”
Some historians believe that the Civil Flag was discontinued after the Civil War when the federal government imposed military governments in the States and disbanded civilian government. As a show of it's power over the States, Civil Flags were discontinued and Old Glory became the sole emblem representing the People of the United States of America, united under military (or admiralty) rule. This is illustrated by the mention in Andrew Johnson’s appeal to the people of Tennessee on March, 18, 1862, when he said in part “.... the President conducted this mighty contest, until as Commander-in chief of the Army, he has caused the national flag again to float undisputed over the Capitol of our State.”
The practice of using the Customs Flag as a Civil Flag became encoded in law in 1874 when Treasury Secretary William. A. Richardson required all customhouses to fly the Civil Flag. The Civil Flag had all but disappeared, by 1900, except for the occasional use by the government's revenue cutters and more recently, the Coast Guard with a modified design in 1915. At that time the U.S. Coast Guard became an independent bureau from the Treasury Department, absorbing the Revenue Cutter Service. The Civil Flag used by the cutter service was modified and adopted under Coast Guard authority, losing it's original significance of civilian authority, which by then, had been long forgotten as the Federal government acquired more control over the States and their citizens.
From the time of the Civil War onward, the government of the United States continued under military rule. All subsequent actions of congress and the President were carried our under the War Powers. The President acted under the authority of his office as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces. It was in this capacity that William Howard Taft issued his Executive order of June 24, 1912 specifying the size and demotions of the Flag of the United States.
It appears the elimination of the Civilian flag in practice and in Law was another way to limit the Sovereignty of the American People. Another trick of the wizard to get God's people to cede their rights willingly to the State. The growth of the modern U.S. Civil Flag in usage is another sign of the resurgence of knowledge within the core of the American patriot movement, or you could call it the Second American Revolution.