The Evolution of the American Flag: From the Grand Union Flag to the Official 50 Star Version

TLDR The American flag has undergone numerous changes throughout its almost 250 years of existence, starting with the Grand Union Flag in 1775. The Flag Act of 1818 defined the current design of the flag with thirteen stripes and a Union of stars, with the 50 star version being the official flag today.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The American flag has changed almost once a decade in the almost 250 years the United States has been in existence.
02:25 The first flag representing the 13 American colonies appeared in 1775 and was called the Grand Union Flag, consisting of 13 stripes and the British Union Jack in the upper left corner.
04:32 The Grand Union flag, although unofficial, quickly gained popularity and was used by the Continental Congress and George Washington, until the Continental Congress formally approved their own American flag in 1777.
06:45 The Betsy Ross flag, although popularly attributed to her design, was not actually created by her and there is no evidence to support the claim that she made the first American flag.
08:46 The Flag Act of 1818 defined the American flag as having thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, with a Union of twenty stars white in a field of blue, and stated that a star would be added to the Union for each new state.
10:57 The Flag Act of 1818 set a schedule for flag updates when new states were admitted, resulting in changes to the flag throughout the 19th century, and in 1912, President William Taft issued an executive order specifying the dimensions and layout of the stars on the flag.
13:07 All 27 previous versions of the American flag are still valid, but the 50 star version is the official one, with designs for a 51 star flag already being considered.
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