Q:

Why does the flag have 13 stripes?

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Quick Answer

The flag of the United States has 13 stripes because the stripes correspond to the first 13 colonies that declared independence from England. The stars on the flag match the current number of states in the union.

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Full Answer

Since the 1770s, the U.S. flag has gone through multiple changes. One of the first versions featured the thirteen stars with a British Union Jack in the upper corner. In 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that the flag should have thirteen stripes and thirteen white stars in a blue background. In 1795, the number of stripes and stars increased from 13 to 15. In 1818, President James Munroe signed a Congressional act that reduced the 15 stripes back to 13 to commemorate the original colonies. This act also raised the number of stars to 20 and stipulated that a star would be added with the admission of each new state to the union.

In 1912, President William Howard Taft signed an executive order standardizing the placement of the stars on the flag, and in 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order changing the arrangement of the stars to reflect the addition of new states to the union. As of 2014, the United States flag has 50 stars in alternating rows of five and six.

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Related Questions

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    What did the Declaration of Independence do?

    A:

    The Declaration of Independence set forth a formal assessment of grievances against the British government and declared that, because their rights had been violated repeatedly, the 13 North American colonies were formally declaring their independence from British rule. It had the additional benefit of bringing all the colonies together as a unified group and provided justification for intervention by future allies, such as France.

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    What do the stars and stripes on the flag represent?

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    The 13 stripes on the American flag represent the original 13 colonies, and the 50 stars represent the number of states in the Union. Originally, both were meant to represent American states, but since 1818, the number of stripes has been standardized at 13.

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    Why was shipbuilding important in the middle colonies?

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