The theme of the Alt-South website Identity Dixie is to “Reclaim Everything!” The Gadsden flag does not belong to civic nationalist militias, libertarianism or the (pathetically mainstream) Tea Parties. The Gadsden flag belongs to the Southland!
The Gadsden flag is a yellow field with a coiled rattlesnake upon it, and the motto “Don’t Tread On Me” printed below the snake. It shows defiance, and aggressive defense –not offense.
The Gadsden flag was birthed during the American Revolution. While there had been rattlesnake symbolism associated with the colonies, it was Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina who designed the iconic flag that today bears his name. Christopher Gadsden was a representative to the Continental Congress and a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. The Gadsden flag was presented to the South Carolina legislature in February 1776, and it was noted that it was to be flown by the commander of the newly formed Continental Navy.
Of course, Gadsden was that creature most hated by the left and the antifa crowd –a straight, white male. Oh yes, and Christopher Gadsden owned slaves, and lived in a colony where large plantations were worked by Negro slaves.
There was another well-known variation of the Gadsden flag –the flag of the Culpeper Minute Men. The flag of the Culpeper Minute Men was a white field with a coiled rattlesnake on it, with the words “Liberty or Death” and “The Culpeper Minute Men” emblazoned in addition to the classic motto “Don’t Tread On Me”. Cool.
Of course, the Culpeper Minute Men were a militia unit from the area around Culpeper, Virginia. Once again, we have white male Southerners, this time with their guns in a militia unit. Can there be any doubt who “owns” the Gadsden flag?
In recent decades, the Gadsden flag has become popular with American patriot types, militias, libertarians, and the Tea Party movement. The Gadsden flag was one of the images that police were warned about by a Federal fusion center in the infamous M.I.A.C. report back in 2009.
My Dad has a bright yellow cap with the Gadsden snake and “Don’t Tread On Me” logo on it. Recently I was in a restaurant with my 71 year old Dad while he was wearing the cap. An old woman that he does not know walked up to him, reached out and shook his hand, and thanked him for his service. I guess this woman somehow connected the Gadsden flag to him being a member of the armed forces of Imperial America. Bizarre. (My Dad is an Air Force vet who was not deployed overseas, and does not wear Air Force insignia).
Last year, it was alleged that the Gadsden flag was a racist symbol. Apparently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was investigating a case were a black man who worked for the U.S. government alleged that he suffered harassment from a white coworker. This harassment consisted of the white worker coming to work while wearing a Gadsden flag cap. While all details were not then made public, it appears that there was not even an allegation of “racist” speech –just wearing a hat that depicted a flag from the American Revolution.
The civic nationalist types will squeal that the Gadsden flag is a non-racial symbol, associated with the American Revolution and universal liberty (aka libertarian theory). But in reality, they would be wrong. The men who created and first flew the Gadsden flag lived in a country that legally enshrined “white supremacy”. When they won the war they did not free their Negro slaves, and they made sure that the first (1790) Naturalization Law made it plain that only “free white persons” were eligible for citizenship. Just as two royal houses fighting for the throne does not make all of their subjects who engage in the battle for them a member of royalty, a group of white males fighting to maintain their political rights (America’s Founders) does not mean that they planned to free and enfranchise their Negro slaves.
The Gadsden flag is a symbol of the South, the culture that produced it, and of the white males who fought under it to secure liberty to themselves and their posterity. There is nothing shameful about that, and it is time that those who use the flag acknowledge its history. It is time for the South to reclaim the Gadsden flag.