U.S. History/bill of rights


during the time when the second amendment passed, which version of the american flag was the current american flag being used? Was it the "Betsy Ross" flag with the 13 stars?

Hi Charles,

One thing to remember is that there was not the strict design with US flags that we have today.  Flag makers were free to arrange stars however they liked.

In 1789, when Congress proposed the Bill of Rights, including what became the 2nd Amendment, the most common flag design was the tradition Betsy Ross design, with 13 flags in a circle.  But there were alternative designs also in use at the time.  You can view some of them here:


By 1791 when the Bill of Rights was finally ratified, a 14th State, Vermont, had joined the US.  This meant that many flags had added a 14th Star.  A common configuration was the 13 star circled with a 14th star in the center, like the one shown here:


There were likely other 14 star designs as well.  But that window was very short as the US only had 14 States for a few months until a 15th, Kentucky, joined in 1792.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

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Truman Scholar

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