According to the MIAC Strategic ReportIn December 1775, Benjamin Franklin published an essay in the
under the pseudonym
in which he suggested that the rattlesnake was a good symbol for the American spirit:
I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she hasno eye-lids
She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.
She never begins anattack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.
As if anxious to prevent all pretentions of quarrelling withher, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth,so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defencelessanimal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defence, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:
Consciousof this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.
Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this astrong picture of the temper and conduct of America?
Apparently so, Mr. Franklin
, at least according to the MIAC’s rationale.
I will confess my affection for the symbolism expressed by the Gadson Flag.Maybe is because I am from South Carolina, maybe because I was raised toappreciate the same sensibilities that Ben Franklin so eloquently expresses, butto me if one possesses the means and might to strike with lethal force in defenseof life and liberty, honor demands a clear and ample
warning. “Don’t Tread onMe” is a simple, moral statement of clear intent that
we inherited from ourcivilized, peace and freedom loving forefathers. I honor this notion of fair play
and actually own a beautiful Gadson Flag, along with two American Flag’
s that Itreasure, but the MIAC has planted a seed of doubt.
Maybe I am considered to be “ONE of THEM”