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The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend “Don’t Tread on Me”. The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by The United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag.
The use of the timber rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1751, he made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, and Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes to England. The words “DON’T TREAD ON ME” mean liberty.