1975 13¢ Flag Over Independence Hall
1975-81 Regular Issue Stamp
Issue Date: November 15, 1975
City: Philadelphia, PA
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Engraved
Perforation: 11 x 10 ¾
Color: Dark blue, red and brown red
Independence Hall – the Old State House
Independence Hall, also known as the Old State House, is the most famous building in the historic city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In fact, it can be considered the birthplace of the United States of America, as it has been the stage for many of the most important events in American history. It was constructed between 1732 and 1756, and has been restored several times to preserve its late-18th century appearance and style.
The list of historic events that occurred in Independence Hall is amazing. The Second Continental Congress met there in May 1775, and chose George Washington as commander in chief of the Continental Army. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed in the Hall. In 1777, the design of the American Flag was agreed upon in the Hall. The Articles of Confederation were signed there in 1781. The United States Constitution was drafted within Independence Hall, and signed on September 17, 1787.
The Flag Act Of 1818
On April 4, 1818, President James Monroe signed a flag act that changed the way the US flag was updated when new states joined the Union.
Many people claimed to have designed America’s first flag, including Betsy Ross and Francis Hopkinson. Regardless of who designed it, the Flag Resolution of 1777 declared that the flag contain 13 stars and 13 stripes, in honor of the 13 states of the Union.
However, that resolution didn’t specify the arrangement of the stars, the number of points they had, or whether the flag should have seven red stripes and six white ones or vice versa. So many early flags had different variations of this design. These included some with all the stars grouped to form one larger star, all the stars in a circle, and in rows.
In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased to 15 (to represent the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union). This was the flag that flew over Fort McHenry in September 1814 and inspired Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner.”
For over 20 years, the flag was not changed when states were added to the Union due to the belief that it would be overcrowded. By 1818, there were 20 states in the Union and Congress sought to resolve the issue once and for all. On April 4, 1818, Congress passed and James Monroe signed the Flag Act of 1818. The act changed the flag to a 20-star flag, one star for each state in the Union. The number of stripes was returned to 13, to honor the 13 original colonies.
From then on, the number of states in the Union would dictate the number of stars on the flag. The change would be made official on the fourth of July following the state’s admission. That act has continued to dictate how the flag is updated ever since, with the most recent change occurring in 1960. As of 2007, the 50-star flag is the longest-used flag in US history.
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