WTP1787

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Although intended just for Customs house usage, the new Civil Flag became adopted by both customhouses and merchants, and others who could afford them, to show their civilian nature and not under military control. The practice of using the Customs Flag as a Civil Flag became encoded in law in 1874 when Treasury Secretary William. A. Richardson required all customhouses to display the Civil Flag.

On May 26, 1913, with the approval of Senate Bill S. 2337, (shortly after the fraudulent declaration by Secretary of State Philander Knox, that the 16th Amendment had been ratified, and during the same weeks that the Federal Reserve system and the IRS were established) the U.S. Coast Guard absorbed the Revenue Cutter and the Life Saving - Lighthouse Services, becoming a part of the military forces of the United States, operating under the Treasury Department in time of peace and as a part of the Navy, subject to the orders of the Secretary of the Navy, in time of war.

The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777, for use on military installations, on ships, and in battle, directing that a U.S. flag consists of 13 stripes, alternating red and white; that a union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.

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The Civil Flag used by the cutter service was modified, placing the Coast Guard insignia on the stripes in the field, and was adopted under Coast Guard authority, losing its original significance of civilian authority, which by then had long been forgotten. As the Federal government acquired more control over the States and their citizens during and after World War II, by 1951 the original Civil Flag had been phased out completely, it's existence left as an artifact of the time in a few old photographs and a rare mention in old books.

Today, the last vestige of the Civil Flag, the U.S. Coast Guard flag, being under the civil jurisdiction of the Department of Treasury during peacetime, is identical to the revenue cutter ensign, but with the service, insignia emblazoned on the stripes in the field.

The job of designing the distinguishing ensign eventually fell upon Oliver Wolcott, who had replaced Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795. On June 1, 1799, Wolcott submitted his design to President John Adams for approval.


Wolcott's proposal featured an ensign of sixteen stripes, alternating red and white, representing the number of states that had joined the Union by 1799, with the Union to be the Arms of the United States in dark blue on a white field.


It is significant that Wolcott turned the arrangement of the stripes ninety degrees to vertical to differentiate the new revenue cutter ensign from the U.S. Flag, to denote civilian authority under the Treasury Department, rather than military authority under the War Department.

We The People 1787

                   We the People of the United States, 
actually have two national flags, a military flag and a civil flag for peacetime.
They have several important distinctions and meanings.

Almost all Americans think of the Stars and Stripes "Old Glory" as their only flag.

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