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Confederate Symbolism in the Flags of the American South

Thought I’d do a slightly different post today. There’s been a lot more awareness recently of what the Confederate flag truly represents, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s an odious symbol and I think it’s important for it to be removed from public life.

But with all the obvious examples of Confederate flags (your statehouses and bumper stickers and what have you) it can be easy to miss some of the deeper, more buried Confederate imagery lingering on in the South. Case in point, the state flags. Nearly all of the former Confederate states have flags that can be clearly traced back to the Civil War. Some are directly from the era and some are just based on flags from that era, but the Confederate connection is always pretty clear once you know what you’re looking for.

Would there even be a strong tradition of state flags anywhere in America if not for the Civil War? I’m honestly not sure. There were a handful of antebellum examples, but it was secession from the Union that prompted the creation of most of the earliest state flags. Would these states have seen a need to symbolically distance themselves from the federal government if they hadn’t been pursuing this white supremacist mission?

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