First Stars and Stripes

Date: June 14, 1777 to May 1, 1795

Thirteen five pointed white stars on a blue canton with seven red and six white stripes. (R14)

On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress resolved that "the flag of the United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, with a union of 13 stars of white on a blue field, representing a new constellation."

Unfortunately, the Congress in this first flag resolution did not specify an arrangement for the stars in the union, and as a result, there were many variation in the flags that followed.

Flag expert, Whitney Young says the circle pattern was scarcely used from 1777 to 1795. A 3-2-3-2-3 or 4-5-4 pattern was more prevalent. The circle pattern developed through paintings which were composed with little regard to historical accuracy.

When the resolution passed in 1777, there was no acknowledgement as to who designed the flag and no mention of who may have made the first flag. There are several conflicting stories and legends regarding the first flag's origins. The most prominent legends of the flag's origin are Betsy Ross, Francis Hopkinson, John Hulbert, the town of Easton, Pa, Abram Markoe and the Rhode Island Colonial Flags.