american flag with circle of stars
General Military Questions

American Flag With Circle Of Stars (Betsy Ross) Explained

What is the purpose of the American flag with a circle of stars?

The alternate U.S. flag is distinguished by a round pattern of stars as opposed to the traditional block of 50 stars.

But is there any larger meaning or symbolism behind the flag?

Learn more about the American flag with a circle of stars, often referred to as the “Betsy Ross flag”.

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American Flag With Circle Of Stars

betsy ross flag on display at barack obama inauguration
Image: Wikipedia.org

Have you ever seen the American flag with a circle of stars instead of the traditional block of 50 states?

The Betsy Ross flag is an iconic version of the U.S. flag that was designed during the early days of the American Revolutionary War.

For this reason, the American flag with a circle of stars only has 13 to represent the colonies that existed at the time.

Nevertheless, the Betsy Ross flag has witnessed a resurgence thanks to newfound popularity among special interest groups and activists.

Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find the American flag with a circle of stars hanging instead of the regular version of the U.S. flag.

Be that as it may, those who elect to drape the alternate U.S. flag should consider the history and cultural significance of it (more details, below).

The Betsy Ross flag was constructed in support of the Flag Act of 1777, which was passed shortly into the American Revolutionary War.

As a result, some modern Americans feel like they identify more with the flag compared to the standard, federal version because of its origins.

History

betsy ross flag explained
Image: Wikipedia.org

The American flag with a circle of stars is often referred to as the Betsy Ross flag.

Why?

Some historians believe that Betsy Ross was the seamstress who came up with the concept and design.

However, other historians and experts debate whether that is actually the case or more of an urban myth (see: American Flag With Circle Of Stars Controversy).

Regardless, most continue to refer to the American flag with a circle of stars as the Betsy Ross flag.

What is known is that Betsy Ross had a cousin who was associated with George Washington.

Thus, when Washington was considering early designs of the U.S. flag he hired Ross to produce her own version.

According to legend, the Framers of the United States had already settled on a concept featuring 13 six-pointed stars in a circle.

Despite this, Ross deviated from the standard format and produced a flag with a 5-point star design.

It’s documented that Washington favored the Betsy Ross flag, however, the rest of the Framers preferred the 6-point star design.

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Canby Account

In the past, the general perception was that Betsy Ross was solely responsible for designing the American flag with a circle of stars.

However, the subject has become one of speculation as some scholars argue that Ross was just one of many upholsters assigned to the project.

Nevertheless, the story took an interesting route in 1870, when William J. Canby claimed that his grandmother was the sole designer of the flag.

Canby had delivered a document to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania suggesting that Ross deserved credit for creating the first U.S. flag.

Ross, the daughter of a Quaker, operated an upholstery shop with her husband during the era of the American Revolution.

She assisted the Continental Army by producing cartridges and flags for military units.

Unfortunately, no official government records exist that acknowledge Betsy Ross as the designer of the first American flag.

Thus, while Canby’s account remains popular American folklore it’s also the subject of much debate.

Symbolism of Betsy Ross Flag

betsy ross flag meaning today
Image: Wikipedia.org

The Betsy Ross flag is an early design of the U.S. flag.

It features 13 five-pointed stars in a round circle which is starkly different from the modern, standard version.

Notwithstanding, the American flag with a circle of stars does feature the same red and white stripes as the current version.

The origins of the flag remain controversial yet most agree that the Betsy Ross flag is a symbol of defiance during the early days of American independence.

The circular presentation of the stars is not unique to the Ross version but was present in many different flag updates during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Previously, the circle of stars on the American flag was referred to as a “wreath” or “medallion” arrangement.

The purpose of this arrangement was to signify equality and neutrality among the states that exist in the Union, with no state more dominant than the other.

Additionally, circular arrangements were common in other early U.S. designs, including the second design for the Great Seal of the United States.

Thus, the American flag with a circle of stars remains popular to acknowledge the sacrifices and duty of the young Republic.

The Betsy Ross flag is featured in a variety of post-Revolutionary paintings, including:

  • Birth of Our Nation’s Flag (1893)
  • General George Washington at Trenton (1792)
  • Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)

It’s also found during presidential inaugurations and other special events.

Meanwhile, states like Rhode Island, Indiana, and Missouri also incorporate circular stars into their flag designs.

Since the first U.S. flag, it has been updated 27x over the decades to reflect the growth of the nation.

Currently, the standard version of the U.S. flag features 50 stars to reflect the 50 states of the Union.

Related Article – Here’s Why The American Flag Is Backwards On Military Uniforms

American Flag With Circle Of Stars Controversy

betsy ross portrait
Image: Wikipedia.org

William J. Canby insists that his grandmother was the sole creator of the first U.S. flag.

Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence that Betsy Ross even made the flag.

Despite this, Ross remains an important female hero during the American Revolution.

More importantly, the flag associated with her name also remains popular with modern Americans.

What is known is there were at least 17 upholsterers who worked in Philadelphia around the time period the flags were produced.

Furthermore, historians continue to speculate regarding the meaning behind the circular design.

In general, most discredit the wild theory that the American flag with a circle of stars derives from the Washington family coat of arms.

On the other hand, most associate the Betsy Ross flag with the American Revolutionary War and the young republic.

Thus, many recognize the American flag with a circle of stars as a reminder of the pain and suffering it took to gain independence.

However, others attribute the Betsy Ross flag to an era where slavery was still legal and the country was far more racist.

Accordingly, the Betsy Ross flag has been connected with everything from white supremacist groups to political activism.

Be that as it may, most agree that the American flag with a circle of stars does not have any evil or harmful intentions.

Rather, it reflects the beginnings of the nation and what it took to win independence from the British.

Related ArticleAmerican Flag With Green Stripe Meaning

Betsy Ross Flag Summary

What is the meaning of the American flag with a circle of stars?

The alternative design of the U.S. flag has a long history that dates back to the Revolutionary War.

It’s also known as the Betsy Ross flag because some historians believe that she was the designer of the flag concept.

However, other scholars argue this assertion and claim that there is no evidence to prove Ross was the lone creator.

Despite it, Betsy Ross remains a popular hero of the Revolutionary War and helped contribute to the symbolism behind the flag.

Featured Image Source – www.Wikipedia.org

Rob V.
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Betsy Ross Flag

Betsy Ross Flag

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The American flag with a circle of stars, also known as the Betsy Ross flag, was produced during the Revolutionary War.

Originally posted on 11/23/23

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