What does the American flag stand for?

Expert Answers
jdkotliar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It has been said that the colors of the American flag were chosen in likeness to those of the French:  The red is the blood shed for liberty, the white for equality, and blue for fraternity/brotherhood.

Knowing that Thomas Paine and others spoke with philosophers such as Voltaire and  that Benjamin Franklin spent a good amount of time in France--there are yet descendents of his there--one is led to believe in this similarity.

I have to disagree with you on the Amercan colors being chosen in likeness to the French, because at the time the American flag was designed, the French flag was still the royal Fleur de lis of the bourbons rather than the tri-color.  The colors connect with the colors of the British Union Jack (the 18th century version, not the version used today which is post 1800).  The Britsh crosses of this older Union Jack represented England, Wales and Scotland, with Ireland being added later.  The colors for the English flag have the following heraldic meanings:

White: Peace and Honesty Red: Bravery, Strength and Valor Blue: Vigilance, Loyalty and Justice
whoa-nelly eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My answer to this question is that the American Flag is a SYMBOL that reflects the many attributes that makes up the United States.  In the pledge of allegiance, we say, I pledge allegiance to the FLAG...and to the republic for which it stands....

The flag is a symbol that stands for our country! It means many things. Obviously the stars and stripes represent the states/colonies.  But do you realize that the colors of the flag are also symbolic?  What about the stars?  Do you think they are to have a meaning?

What inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem?  The flag that he could see by the "Dawn's Early Light".

Check out this link for more information about the American Flag!

http://www.usflag.org/iamtheflag.html 

The flag stands for the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and the struggles that it has endured and the people that have fought to protect its freedoms!  There is so much more to appreciate than just a few stars and stripes!

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
What does the American flag stand for?

What does the American flag stand for?

  For me, the American flag is a symbol of freedom.  The flag is a symbol of patriotism, which was given its significance through the sacrifice of thousands and thousands of dedicated military service personnel who gave their lives for our freedom.  For over two hundred years, America has stood as an example of a free people engaging in the pursuit of the greatest opportunities that life has to offer.

The flag is a representation of national pride, it should be respected, not simply for that, but for the sacrifice that has been made to keep it proudly flying. 

cburr eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is no official answer as to the symbolism of the colors in the flag.  However, there are some traditions.  Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, said they stand for the following:

Red - Hardiness and valor

White - Purity and innocence

Blue - Vigilance, perseverance, and justice

Red, white and blue is a very common color combination for flags around the world.  Probably the most important connection is to the Union Jack -- the flag of the United Kingdom.  Even though the colonies had won independence from Britain, they probably also wanted to acknowledge their common heritage.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

@reply15

But your government's agents constantly organise the suppression of free speech in other countries and support brutal regimes that serve the nefarious schemes of the Washington Administraion.

Nicaragua? Saudi Arabia? Kuwait? Israel? Tajikistan? Pakisatan? Columbia? Chile? Half the countries in Africa? Turkey? Cambodia? Vietnam? Indonesia? East Timor? Phillipines? There are dozens more. Does the flag represent the supresion of other countries freedoms?

I'm afraid it's difficult to take you seriously after reading your eNotes bio.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It has been said that the colors of the American flag were chosen in likeness to those of the French:  The red is the blood shed for liberty, the white for equality, and blue for fraternity/brotherhood.

Knowing that Thomas Paine and others spoke with philosophers such as Voltaire and  that Benjamin Franklin spent a good amount of time in France--there are yet descendents of his there--one is led to believe in this similarity.

morrol eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm unsure if you are asking what the American flag stands for literally or figuratively.

Literally, the thirteen stripes on the flag represent the thirteen original colonies. The fifty stars represent the fifty current states.

Figuratively, the flag stands for freedom and democracy. It represents the unity of America, our common cause, and the hope for a better tomorrow.

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Liberty, justice, equality, cooperative effort, pride, glory, and much more.  I really do not believe that we should allow flag burning in our country since its such a great symbol of the greatness of America. Men and women have fought in the name of that flag, it is ridiculous that our government has not yet banned flag burning.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American flag stands for the United States of America. The 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies. Each of the stars signifies one of the 50 states.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

http://www.usa-flag-site.org/history.shtml

I think this is what you're looking for...Good Luck!

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How many government agents have beaten down your door since you wrote this post?

None?

Gee, isn't freedom of speech a great thing?!

emtheawesome | Student

It depends on what you are asking. If you are asking about the American Flag as a whole, it represents freedom and democracy around the world. If you are asking about it not as a whole, then the stars and stripes represent different things. The stripes represent the original thirteen colonies that fought against the British in the American Revolution. The stars represent each state within the United States.

ssandhu05 | Student

Well, there's two ways that you can answer this question. The first way is answering it by saying what the American flag represents as a whole. The other way is by stating what each part of the flag represents.

If we break the flag down into pieces, then we see that each part has a different meaning. The fifty stars on the left hand corner of the flag represent the fifty states. The thirteen red and white stripes represent the thirteen colonies from the 1700-1800s.

The flag as a whole represents, most obviously, America as a whole country. It says visually that all of our fifty states are one nation. The flag symbolizes freedom.

taangerine | Student

The 50 stars of the American flag represents the 50 states, while the 13 red stripes represent the 13 colonies. The American flag gives off a sense of pride and freedom -- nationalism. 

atyourservice | Student

50 stars = 50 states

13 stripes = 13 colonies

melissa1106 | Student

The american flag represents for many people america's sense of pride and freedom. It is a sign of our liberty and what we fought our when we established our country,.

The 50 stars stand for the fifty states and the 13 stripes stand for the thirteen original colonies the United States of America was started with when it was founded. 

kevin0001 | Student

The American flag stands as the national flag for the United States of America. The 50 white stars stand for the 50 states of the United States of America. The 13 red stripes represent the 13 colonies that were settled on America when the British moved there to find freedom. The entire flag stands for freedom, justice, and liberty in the united States.

There can be many different opinions on what the flag itself can stand for however by following the pledge, i believe the american flag itself is a symbol of all of a united nation, that stands for liberty. The fact of this is the symbols inside the flag: the 13 stripes stand for the 13 original colonies, and the 50 starts stand for the 50 new states. 

jess1999 | Student

The thirteen stripes on the American flag symbolizes thirteen colonies . The fifty starts on the American flag symbolizes the fifty states , one for each state .

crystaltu001 | Student

The 50 stars stand for the 50 states we have and the 13 red and white stripes stand for the 13 colonies that the United States started with.

Wiggin42 | Student

The American flag consists of red and white stripes, a blue block in the top left hand corner with 50 white stars inside it. There are 13 red and white stripes that symbolize the 13 original colonies that America was built upon. The 50 stars represent the 50 states. 

ik9744 | Student

The flag stands for the country itself. Each star represents the 50 states while the 13 stripes represents the 13 colonies. Thus making it the flag it is.

Jyotsana | Student

The flag stands for liberty. The 50 stars represents the 50 states and 13 stripes represent 13 colonies. Color Blue symbolizes justice, freedom. Color Red symbolizes hardness and valor. Color White symbolizes purity.

Chantelm | Student

The 50 stars represent the 50 states we have

The 13 stripes represent the 13 colonies it began with

Red symbolizes blood

Blue symbolizes justice and freedom

White symbolizes purity

parama9000 | Student

It stands for 13 colonies 50 states.

Yojana_Thapa | Student

Moreover, the Flag symbolizes America.The flag stands for the components of the country- the original thirteen colonies and the current 50 states. The colors in the flag are white (purity), Red (valor), Blue (justice). 

laurto | Student

The flag has 13 stripes which stand for the 13 original colonies/states. The number of stars stand for the number of states (there are many different flags because new states were added). The present day flag has 50 stars for 50 states. 

The flag is a symbol of America. The colors all mean something. 

White- purity and innocence

Red- hardiness and valor

Blue- vigilance, perseverance, and justice

Hope this helped!

gbbyfrnandez | Student

@reply15

But your government's agents constantly organise the suppression of free speech in other countries and support brutal regimes that serve the nefarious schemes of the Washington Administraion.

Nicaragua? Saudi Arabia? Kuwait? Israel? Tajikistan? Pakisatan? Columbia? Chile? Half the countries in Africa? Turkey? Cambodia? Vietnam? Indonesia? East Timor? Phillipines? There are dozens more. Does the flag represent the supresion of other countries freedoms?

how did they suppress Vietnam , Israel , Chile? or any of the countries?

melonsmasher | Student

The American Flag symbolizes many things; it symbolizes our freedom, our dignity, the true meaning of being an American, and many more things. It has fought our country's wars, cried our country's cries, and laughed our country's happiness. It has been with us through our war times, our sad times, but mostly our joyful times. The flag has gone through many transactions and changes before it came to be the flag we all know and love. Actually it took a very long time, from January 1, 1776, till August 21, 1960. There has been a mystery about who designed the first flag, after all this time.

elie2107 | Student

13 stripes represent 13 colonies. The rest of the flag has to do with the Wars that America has been through in past history

katelynnicoleburch | Student

American flag stands for freedom.

etotheeyepi | Student

I live in a community of immigrants in California, a State of the United States.  Many of my neighbors came here because of political or religious persecution in the old country. Here in the United States they can worship their god (or not), express a political opinion (or not), and raise their children (or not) in a safe environment.

They see the flag as a symbol of all that.

silven | Student

On the surface, the American flagstands for a number of things. The thirteen stripes stand for the original 13 colonies who came together to issue the declaration of independence. The stars represent the states in the union, currently ten rows of five stars equaling 50 states. even though America was splitting from mother England, the red white and blue colors represent an enduring tie to the colors of the United Kingdom's own red white and blue. The flag itself stands for the united republic, which was a totally untried experiment at the time.

goldsmith077 | Student
What does the American flag stand for?

What does the American flag stand for?

American freedom and peace

eastglam | Student

The colours stand for revolution, the red represents the blood of British soldiers shot at North Bridge, the stars are their spirits rising to heaven, the blue is for opacity and misinformation in history, the white represents cowardice.

But on a more serious note the Washington coat of arms is/was a white shield on which two red horizontal bars are imposed.  Above the bars are three red stars.  This device also happens to be the crest of the borough of Washington in north England.  George Washington’s family were rich, extensive farm and land owners before emigration to New England.

lol190 | Student
What does the American flag stand for?

What does the American flag stand for?

The American flag stands for the Americans' pride and liberty.

The 50 stars represent the 50 United States.

The 13 stripes stand for the 13 original colonies of America.

:D

hardworker47 | Student

The stripes stand for the original 13 main colonies and the stars stand for the 50 current states.

fastestcar5601 | Student

The 50 stars for the 50 states and the 13 stripes for the 13 colonies.

 

samjazael123 | Student

To me it stands for nothing, but how much territory we took away from the american indian's, but for some it stands for democracy and is in fact our banner towards freedom against tyranny and in fact brought new concepts to modern society even.......

shweta12patel | Student

it stands for unity and the freedom of US and the red and white stripes which are 13 stand for the 13 great britain colonies and the 50 blue stars represent the 50 states of US

patelmilia98 | Student

American flag stands for United states of america that is our country

agvickers | Student

to me i believe the american flag represents freedom, democracy, and duty.

kendall1011 | Student

it can stand for liberty and the freedom we now have. long ago our four fathers fought against England and strived to get freedom. the American flag is kinda symbolic in many ways. but your question was what did it stand for and i say in my own opinion, it stands for liberty and justice for all.

Hicks and Chicks and Guns and Sweaty Balls

spatrickdavis | Student
What does the American flag stand for?

What does the American flag stand for?

 United states and freedom.

smartipi | Student

There are 50 stars for 50 states, and 13 stripes for the 13 original colonies. The red stands for blood and liberty while white is for equality, and blue is for brotherhood. Some also believe it is chosed in likeness to the French.

 

Hope this helps

bowerk | Student

The American flag stands for freedom and everything that the colonists had to endure before the United States of America was created on July 4th 1776.

janeblue | Student

It stands for so much. It stands for everyone coming together and becoming part of America. I love America and I am constantly thinking about it's origins.

In class the other day my teacher brought up the painting One Nation Under God by Jon McNaughton (http://www.mcnaughtonart.com/artwork/view_zoom/?artpiece_id=353) and asked us if we thought it was a true representation of America and what surrounds out Constitution.

At first I was thrown off because of Jesus in the center but after a hour long class discussing the painting I was more intrigued about the messages coming from the painting and hardly notices Jesus as a main subject.

 

reeses97 | Student

My answer to this question is that the American Flag is a SYMBOL that reflects the many attributes that makes up the United States.  In the pledge of allegiance, we say, I pledge allegiance to the FLAG...and to the republic for which it stands....

The flag is a symbol that stands for our country! It means many things. Obviously the stars and stripes represent the states/colonies.  But do you realize that the colors of the flag are also symbolic?  What about the stars?  Do you think they are to have a meaning?

What inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem?  The flag that he could see by the "Dawn's Early Light".

Check out this link for more information about the American Flag!

http://www.usflag.org/iamtheflag.html 

The flag stands for the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and the struggles that it has endured and the people that have fought to protect its freedoms!  There is so much more to appreciate than just a few stars and stripes!

thanks for your help. but what EXACTLY do the colors stand for? And are they symbolic?

Red: Hardiness and Valor
White: Purity and Innocence
and 
Blue: Vigilance, Perserverance, and Justice


justinvontran | Student

Freedom: The stars stand for the original 13 colonies and the stripes stand for the current 50 states.

bupita | Student
What does the American flag stand for?

What does the American flag stand for?

50 stars for the 50 states

13 stripes for 13 colonies

sixdogs | Student

The literal meaning is 50 stars for the fifty states (and one was added in my life - and like an additional state... now one less planet) and the stripes are for the original colonies....  Hopefully, it has a deeper meaning than this... freedom, opportunity and brotherhood

cationz | Student

The 13 stripes represent the 13 states formed in 1776 after independence whereas the 50 stars represent the current 50 states

lovepeacea | Student

The American U.S. Flag, stands for the United States Of America:D, Shown below are what the colors of the flag stands for:)

 

Red - Hardiness and valor

White - Purity and innocence

Blue - Vigilance, perseverance, and justice

gurden | Student

The Unites States Flag Stands for: 
Writers and speakers often attribute meaning to the colors of the flag. But, in truth, the Continental Congress never spoke about what the colors represented.
But the red, white, and blue colors included in the Great Seal of the United States, which first appeared 1782, did purportedly represent ideals and beliefs of our Founding Fathers. Their significance was explained by Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, and included in the book "Our Flag," published in 1989.
Note that many, many flags around the world use the colors red, white, and blue including the British union jack. Some of the designers of the American flag consciously wanted to connect it with the British flag.
The flag of the United States of America consists of 13 equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton bearing 50 small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 U.S. states and the 13 stripes represent the original Thirteen Colonies that rebelled against the British Crown and became the first states in the Union.

studyingafn | Student

MOST IMPORTANTLY, AND MOST OBVIOUS THAT THE 50 STARS REPRESENT THE 50 STATES THAT MAKE UP AMERICA

ebbie479 | Student

Of course, the flag itself stands for the components of the country- the original thirteen colonies and the current 50 states. But the deeper meaning of the flag can be one of many things depending on the viewpoint. American patriots will tell you that the flag stands for democracy, freedom, and the sacrifices men and women have made to ensure the preservation of the United States. A Native American may tell you differently. It was the creation of the United States that was, essentially, the demise of native tribal ways of life. For natives, the flag may stand for deception, tyranny, and destruction. An enemy of the Unided States may tell you it stands for the evil of the infidels. Dig a bit deeper and read through "alternative" history books where you'll find a non-traditional history of the US- one that suggests that the Constitution, a document that is revered, was nothing more than a way to protect slave holders, land owners, and business men. In that case, the flag would mean that thirteen original colonies and 50 current states fell hook, line, and sinker for one of the greatest and widespread deceptions of all time. In conclusion, the flag could mean one of any number of things, all depending on the point of view of the observer.

frizzyperm | Student

@reply15

But your government's agents constantly organise the suppression of free speech in other countries and support brutal regimes that serve the nefarious schemes of the Washington Administraion.

Nicaragua? Saudi Arabia? Kuwait? Israel? Tajikistan? Pakisatan? Columbia? Chile? Half the countries in Africa? Turkey? Cambodia? Vietnam? Indonesia? East Timor? Phillipines? There are dozens more. Does the flag represent the supresion of other countries freedoms?

kkaayylla | Student

The American flag stands for the United States of America. The 13 stripes represent the original 13 colonies. Each of the stars signifies one of the 50 states.

thanks for replying. i appreciate it.

kkaayylla | Student

My answer to this question is that the American Flag is a SYMBOL that reflects the many attributes that makes up the United States.  In the pledge of allegiance, we say, I pledge allegiance to the FLAG...and to the republic for which it stands....

The flag is a symbol that stands for our country! It means many things. Obviously the stars and stripes represent the states/colonies.  But do you realize that the colors of the flag are also symbolic?  What about the stars?  Do you think they are to have a meaning?

What inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem?  The flag that he could see by the "Dawn's Early Light".

Check out this link for more information about the American Flag!

http://www.usflag.org/iamtheflag.html 

The flag stands for the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and the struggles that it has endured and the people that have fought to protect its freedoms!  There is so much more to appreciate than just a few stars and stripes!

thanks for your help. but what EXACTLY do the colors stand for? And are they symbolic?

kkaayylla | Student

I'm unsure if you are asking what the American flag stands for literally or figuratively.

Literally, the thirteen stripes on the flag represent the thirteen original colonies. The fifty stars represent the fifty current states.

Figuratively, the flag stands for freedom and democracy. It represents the unity of America, our common cause, and the hope for a better tomorrow.

thanks for replying . i appreciate it.

 

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