(Description: Reproduction of painting by E. Percy Moran, showing three flags being raised, at the top, the first version of the stars and stripes, with 13 red and white stripes, and 13 stars, one for each of the states that joined the union. The flag raising is attended by soldiers in blue uniforms, and by townspeople.)
The caption under the picture reads, “The flag of the “Stars and Stripes” adopted by Congress June 14, 1777 was first displayed at Ft. Staniwix (now Rome, N.Y.), August 2, 1777.” The picture was painted by E. Percy Moran, who painted many scenes from American history in his career. He was not, however, an eye-witness of this event: he was born the best part of a century later, in 1862. This is his recreation of the event, which accounts for the cleanliness of the soldiers’ uniforms.
I thought the stars and stripes was the best star to choose for the 4th of July, but I wanted to use an image of the first version of the flag, because in the last day or two I have been fascinated by a snippet of history. It seems that in a early draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson used the word, “subjects” but he replaced it with “citizens.” The word was not just scratched out, or ruled through and the new word “citizens” inserted. “Subjects” was obliterated, expunged from the record. No one in the new country was to be a subject: all were to be citizens. (Barring black people, who for the most part didn’t even have the status of subjects. And indigenous people living with the borders of the colonies. And indentured servants. And women, who were allowed no part in governance. And so on.)
The story of the expunged word is in the Washington Post: Jefferson changed ‘subjects’ to ‘citizens’ in Declaration of Independence. I found the article through Arts and Letters Daily.