FAMILYFOUNDATION.BLOG reports that “Don’t Tread On Me” Plates Bill To Come Before General Assembly.
Not only will Virginians have the opportunity to drive around with an attractive In God We Trust license plate, approval for a Don’t Tread On Me plate also will be before the 2011 General Assembly. Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73, Henrico) has introduced HB 1418 to establish the plate but, as with the all specialty plates, the General Assembly requires at least 350 pre-filed applications to be on hand for the legislation to be approved. Delegate O’Bannon spoke about the plate this morning on WRVA-AM’s Richmond Morning News with Jimmy Barrett (listen here).
“Don’t Tread On Me” Plates Bill To Come Before General Assembly also explains how to order the plates. If you want one, I suggest reading the full post.
Why should you want a DON’T TREAD ON ME license plate? It is unfortunate, but too many of us do not well know our nation’s history. That includes the historical significance of the Gadsden flag, that is, the flag on which the design of the DON’T TREAD ON ME license plate is based. Therefore, I have provided several references.
- Gadsden flag – a Wikipedia article
- Don’t Tread on Me at FoundingFathers.info
- The Gadsden Flag at http://www.usflag.org
- The Gadsden Flag: ’Don’t Tread on Me’ from The Corps’ Official Magazine
What all theses stories relate is that Benjamin Franklin originally represented the thirteen American colonies as a rattlesnake. He did so in America’s first political cartoon.
(from here at the Library of Congress)
As strange as it may seem to us now, much of America once saw itself a somewhat noble rattlesnake. Here is how Wikipedia relates Franklin’s thoughts on the matter.
In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. It represented the colonies, with New England joined together as the head and South Carolina as the tail, following their order along the coast. Under the snake was the message “Join, or Die“. This was the first political cartoon published in an American newspaper.
As the American Revolution grew, the snake began to see more use as a symbol of the colonies. In 1774, Paul Revere added it to the title of his paper, the Massachusetts Spy, as a snake joined to fight a British dragon. In December 1775, Benjamin Franklin published an essay in the Pennsylvania Journal under the pseudonym American Guesser in which he suggested that the rattlesnake was a good symbol for the American spirit:
“I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?”
Thus, the DON’T TREAD ON ME or Gadsden Flag symbolizes American unity, magnanimity, and courage in the defense of liberty.