Don’t Tread On Iowa: The Saying That May End Up on Your License Plates
I'll be honest. The first time I remember seeing the Gagsten flag was in a Metallica documentary, "A Year and a Half in the Life Of" back in the early 90's.
To me, it was a flag with the snake from the cover of the "Black Album" and the words of one of the best songs on the album, "Don't Tread On Me". But for some reason on a yellow flag...not a black one.
Turns out, I'm an idiot and they didn't just fashion a flag based on the popular thrash metal band's songs...it actually has a lot of history behind it. It has a long history of being associated with individual liberty and anti-establishment causes.
Join or Die
Benjamin Franklin designed a flag during the French and Indian War in 1751 that featured a diced-up rattlesnake with the words, "Join or Die". This was a brutal reminder that if we didn't stand together the country would cease to exist.
Who Invented the "Don't Tread on Me" Flag?
Christopher Gadsden was one of the founders of a group called the Sons of Liberty. He even went to the Continental Congress and signed an important agreement, the Continental Association. During the Revolutionary War, he was a soldier and an officer and that's when he created the flag.
It was a symbol of the original colonies standing united against a formidable threat.
Iowa Licence Plates
A bill has been proposed in the Iowa Senate that would allow Iowans to buy license plates featuring the Gadsden flag. The bill has received a recommended passage in the subcommittee, but there are some controversies around the flag. If the bill passes, Iowa would join several other US states that already offer the Gadsden flag specialty license plate.
Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia all have the plate as an option.