The Gadsden flag is an American flag with a coiled rattlesnake waiting to strike. Beneath the snake are the words "Dont Tread on Me".It was used by The United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag. The flag is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden.
The "Don't Tread on Me" rattlesnake is often times used as a symbol of American patriotism or as a symbol of criticism of the government.
Unofficial flying of the Gadsden flag by the U.S. Government has been common, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, most notably by individuals serving abroad in the U.S. Military.
The First Navy Jack which is directly related to the Gadsden flag, has also been in use by the U.S. Navy, and since 9/11 is flown on all active naval ships.
The use of rattlesnakes as a symbol of America can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin.
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