What Does the French Flag Represent?

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The French flag is a tricolor of blue, white and red, with the white being the royal color of the king and the blue and red representing the city of Paris. The people of France have associated the red, white and blue of the flag with liberty, equality and fraternity, respectively.

The values of liberty, equality and fraternity are all ideals of the French Revolution. During the Revolution in July 1789, a militia was formed with a distinctive blue and red cockade. Because the colors are the ancient colors of the city of Paris, they helped the citizens to recognize militia members who were there to calm the agitated city. When King Louis XVI came to the city on July 17 to recognize the militia, who became the new National Guard, Commander Lafayette added the white, which was to represent the royal house of Bourbon.

Under the law of 27 pluviôse, Year II, the tricolor was established as the national flag of France with the stipulation that the blue should be flown closest to the flagpole. Later, there were periods of upheaval during which the flag was changed and then reinstated. The 1946 and 1958 constitutions officially adopted the tricolor as the flag of the republic. Its design consists of three equal-sized bands, one for each color.