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Show American Pride with a Don’t Tread On Me Hat

If you don’t have one yet, you have already seen it, don’t tread on me hat, sticker, shirt, or decal. Apart from the national flag and anthem, the don’t tread on me symbol is the trendiest in America today.

But what does it mean, and where did this national heritage come from? Do people still value it as before? What has happened to the symbol overtime? Here’s all to know about the don’t tread on me symbol.

What Is the Don’t Tread On Me Symbol?

You can’t complete 200 meters walk in the city routes without spotting someone with a don’t tread on me hat, flag, or decal. That shows how people still appreciate the symbol. What you see on the flag is an aggressive rattlesnake that is on the alert.

But what’s the story behind the rattlesnake?

Symbolizing American pride, the Gadsden flag came into existence after Benjamin Franklin’s noticed the rattlesnake’s behavior. According to Franklin, the animal is vigilant but will only attack when provoked.   

In many of his political commentaries, Franklin occupied the young Americans with the rattlesnake’s stories until it became a national symbol and idol. In one of his comments, Benjamin Franklin suggested that Americans can send rattlesnakes to Britain in retaliation for sending convicted criminals to America.

Before Christopher Gadsden completed the flag’s design, many young Americans have already idolized the rattlesnake’s concept. In short, the picture in an average American mind is a people who are united, peaceable, but deadly when provoked.

What A Don’t Tread On Me Icon Mean Then Vs. Now?

Over time, the high spirits with the don’t tread on me symbol ebbed. Looking at its history, one can quickly tell why it doesn’t carry the same effect.

So what happened?

In the early 1970s, the Libertarian groups started using rattlesnake symbols in their flags. According to the group, the icon represents the boundaries beyond which government cannot interfere with individual rights.

What’s more?

Still, the Gadsden flag became more popular during the heat of the 9/11 attack. Many would assume the rattlesnake symbol would carry the same don’t tread with American ideology of the 1700s. But this time, it was more about gun owner’s rights. Again, many believed the phrase tries to prevent the government from enacting gun control laws.

Per the Second Amendment, many people take pride in displaying a don’t tread on me hat or flag to express their gun ownership rights. Besides, they also use the symbol to call the government’s attention to repeated human rights abuse and the practice of true democracy.

And Today?

Today, the flag’s interpretation is more individualistic; and it appeals to situations of injustice and suppression on American soil. Before now, the flag represents a united front against the threat of colonial masters.

Though many people may not want to display the flag because of the numerous controversy surrounding its origin and interpretation, it’s one of the best ways to show American pride. Whether the symbol is associated with political parties, nationhood, patriotism, or resistance groups, individuals can decide its meaning.


While a don’t tread on me symbol is among the most senior American traditions, it has more than one meaning and history. People still have different understanding or interpretations of the flag. However, its use should not interfere with people’s rights.

Though one might think that the stars and stripes symbols are the biggest unifying icon in America, we should never underestimate the role of the don’t tread on me icon in America’s freedom journey.

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