Marc Leepson: The Biography of the Flag

Roundup: Talking About History

Marc Leepson, in Newsweek (7-3-05):

[Marc Leepson is the author of the recently published"Flag: An American Biography."]

On July 4 Americans will fly Old Glory from our front porches to our Porsches and pickup trucks. We will wear star-spangled images on our T-shirts, baseball caps, headbands, earrings and boxer shorts. No country in the world matches the intensity of the American citizenry's attachment to its national flag.

So it's more than a little ironic that the origins of the flag are shrouded in mystery and legend. Just about the only thing we know for certain is that on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress, without a word of debate, chose 13 stars"white in a blue field representing a new constellation," and 13 stripes"alternate red and white" to honor the 13 original states.

We do not know the identity of the individual who came up with the 13-star, 13-stripe design or exactly why Congress chose the stars and stripes and the colors.

And the Betsy Ross story? It's mostly a myth that was used to promote pro-flag political movements in the latter part of the 19th century.

Acceptance of the story, first promulgated by Ross' grandson in 1870, came at a time when Americans were beginning to heal the wounds of the Civil War - and as the feminist movement started making political waves and immigrants began pouring into the country from Europe.

The tale of a strong-willed woman, twice widowed, running her own successful business out of her home while caring for her children might be seen as pro-feminist. But in the latter half of the 19th century the story was regarded primarily as a rebuke to the emerging feminists seeking the right to vote. Here was a woman doing a traditional woman's job of sewing at home, surrounded by her family and doing the work for her country.

The nativist movement that emerged in the 1880s as a backlash against the influx of foreigners also embraced the story in promoting a surge of nationalism and patriotism surrounding the American flag. Flag Day was born in 1885; the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, and a movement grew during that time to require all public schools to fly the flag.

During that period, as well, the Betsy Ross story was memorialized and popularized in prominent magazine and newspaper articles, in books, and in Charles Weisgerber's 1893 painting,"Birth of Our Nation's Flag," in which Ross is seated in her parlor, sunbeams pouring down on her, the flag draped on her lap in the company of George Washington, George Ross and Robert Morris. That much-reproduced scene, which even appeared on a postage stamp in 1952, almost certainly never happened.

Historians' best guess is that the flag's designer was Francis Hopkinson, a member of the Continental Congress from New Jersey. In 1780, Hopkinson sent an invoice to Congress for three designs: the Treasury Board seal, seven types of continental currency and"the Flag of the United States of America." No law, resolution or executive order exists providing an official reason for the choice of red, white and blue.

The closest thing consists of the views of Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress who designed the Great Seal of the United States."The colours" of the Great Seal, Thomson said in 1782,"are those used in the flag of the United States of America. White signifies purity and innocence. Red hardiness and valour and Blue ... signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice." ...

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Rex Curry - 10/16/2005

Marc Leepson's book "Flag: An American Biography" covers up the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance in the same way that government schools cover up.

Leepson's book needs more information about the original socialist gesture to the U.S. flag in the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge is not libertarian. The pledge was written by a national socialist (Francis Bellamy) in the USA and the original salute was a straight-arm salute (as shown in web image searches for "original socialist salute"). The book suggests that the author is unaware of the news-breaking discovery by the historian Rex Curry that the straight-arm salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) came from the USA's pledge of allegiance and from the military salute, and not from ancient Rome. Bellamy put flags in every school to promote a government takeover of education for widespread nationalization and socialism.

As a libertarian lawyer, I provide pro bono services in schools nationwide (and via this letter) to educate the public about the news:

1. The USA’s first Pledge used a straight-arm salute and it was the origin of the salute of the monstrous National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis). It was not an ancient Roman salute.

2. The Pledge began with a military salute that then stretched outward toward the flag. Historic photographs are at and at Due to the way that both gestures were used, the military salute led to the Nazi salute. The Nazi salute is an extended military salute.

3. The Pledge’s creator was a self-proclaimed socialist in the nationalism movement in the USA and his dogma influenced socialists in Germany, and his Pledge was the origin of their salute. "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party." A mnemonic device is the swastika (Hakenkreuz in German). Although the swastika was an ancient symbol, it was also used sometimes by German National Socialists to represent "S" letters for their "socialism." Hitler altered his own signature to use the same stylized "S" letter for "socialist."

The Pledge is part of the USA’s growing police-state. The insane government in the U.S. could cause comatose persons to Pledge dis-allegiance, desecrate the flag, and recite a declaration of independence. Remove the Pledge from the flag, remove flags from schools, remove schools from government.

Edward and Francis Bellamy were cousins and were national socialists who idolized the military and wanted to nationalize the entire US economy, including all schools. It was a philosophy that led to the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) where millions were murdered (62 million by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 35 million by the Peoples' Republic of China, 21 million by the National Socialist German Workers' Party) in the worst slaughter in history. That is why the Bellamys are known as America's Nazis. All Holocaust Museums could expand four-fold by adding Wholecaust Museums.

Many people forget that "Nazi" means "National Socialist German Workers' Party," and one reason people forget is because the word "Nazi" is overused by the writers like Leepson who never say the actual name of the horrid party. Leepson's intellectual dishonesty ties in with his cover up of Bellamy's National Socialism and the origin of the Nazi salute from the Pledge of Allegiance. A good mnemonic device is that the sick socialist swastika represented two overlapping "S" letters for "socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers' Party, as exposed in the book "Swastika Secrets."

Bellamy believed that government schools with pledges and flags were needed to brainwash children to embrace nationalism, militarism, and socialism. The Bellamys wanted the government to takeover everything and impose the military's "efficiency," as he said. It is the origin of the modern military-socialist complex. Francis Bellamy wanted a flag over every school because he wanted to nationalize and militarize everything, including all schools, and eliminate all of the better alternatives. During Bellamy's time the government was taking over education.

As revealed in the book "The Pledge of Allegiance and the Bellamys," they wanted government schools to ape the military. Government schools were intended to create an "industrial army" (another Bellamy phrase, and the word "army" was not metaphorical) and to help nationalize everything else.

Because of the Bellamy way of thinking, government-schools spread and they mandated segregation by law and taught racism as official policy and did so even after the National Socialists were defeated, and well beyond.

Thereafter, the government's segregation legacy caused more police-state racism of forced busing that destroyed communities and neighborhoods and deepened hostilities.

Because of the Bellamy way of thinking, government-schools spread and they mandated the Nazi-style salute by law, flags in every classroom, and daily robotic chanting of the pledge of allegiance in military formation like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state.

The hypnotic "Sieg Heil" salute to a flag symbol mesmerized Americans long before it brainwashed Germans. The bizarre practices served as an example for three decades before they were adopted by the National Socialist German Workers' Party. When Jesse Owens competed in the 1936 Olympics in Germany, his neighbors attended segregated government schools where they saluted the flag with the Nazi salute.

As under Nazism, children in the USA (including Jehovah's Witnesses and blacks and the Jewish and others) attended government schools where segregation was imposed by law, where racism was taught as official policy, and where they were required by law to perform the Nazi salute and robotically chant a pledge to a flag. If they refused, then they were persecuted and expelled from government schools and had to use the many better alternatives. There were also acts of physical violence.

Jehovah's Witnesses were among the first people to publicly fight the government and its pledge ritual in the USA, during the same time that they fought it in Nazi Germany. They eventually achieved total victory over Nazi socialism. They achieved only partial victory over similar socialism in the USA. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they could not be forced to perform the pledge. Laws still make teachers lead children in robotic chants of the socialist's pledge daily, on cue from the government. Jehovah's Witnesses and other children in government schools must watch the ritual performed by others.

The pledge gesture was altered and explicit school segregation by government ended. The Government's schools still exist, the federal flag brands government schools, and government's teachers must chant the pledge daily. Students are kept ignorant of the pledge's original salute and history. That is why the pledge still exists.

The USA also continued its Nazi numbering (social security from 1935) and its robotic pledge, with no stopping.

At the height of Nazi power, the USA's government deliberately stepped onto the same path with national numbering imposed in 1935 with the social security system. The federal government was growing massively and attempting to nationalize the economy in many ways. The US Supreme Court struck down much of the new legislation as unconstitutional until the craven FDR pressured the Court into the "switch in time that socialized nine."

Today, the USA numbers babies, and government schools demand the numbers for enrollment, and the numbers track homes, workplaces, incomes, finances, and more, for life. School laws still tout the daily pledge, a bizarre ritual shunned by every other country.

The pledge of allegiance is an example of why some educated socialists (socialists who know the origin of the pledge) laugh at so-called "conservatives," because socialists presume that conservatives have been duped into supporting socialism and are ignorant of the pledge's socialist past.

The author does not seem to have a problem with "patriotism" and the pledge of allegiance. Big problem: The author probably does not arise each morning to gather with neighbors and robotically chant. Most people only "love" the pledge when government's schools lead children in robotic chanting every morning for twelve years of their lives upon the ring of a bell, like Pavlov's lapdogs of the state. Did I mention that the pledge is an example of why government schools are unconstitutional and have destroyed a "free press" and why government schools must end?

The author is not libertarian and he uses the misnomer "public schools" to mean "government schools." No one would trust the government to tell the truth if it published books like this one. Why would the government tell the truth in government schools?

It is amazing that books don't examine the issue of whether the pledge should be dropped entirely, especially for young children in government schools. As the new saying goes "Remove the pledge from the flag, remove the flag from schools, remove schools from government."