20 Star Flag

Guckenberger Farm Racine County, WI 60 “ x 36 “

 

 

 

This becomes the official flag of the United States on April 13, 1818 when five states are admitted to the Union, including Indiana (19th State). Now Congress is faced with the task of redesigning the 15 star and 15 stripe flag of 1895. The task is charged to Captain Samuel C. Reid, a naval hero of the war of 1812. With his mariner's eye, Capt. Reid realizes that narrowing the stripes further will not only divest the flag of all dignity, but greatly reduce its visual impact at sea. Because the United States is primarily a seaboard with access to international trade at the heart of its survival, Reid recommends returning the original 13 stripes and adding a new star for each new State. The change is greeted enthusiastically by Congress and it becomes our official flag on April 13, 1818.

 

Indiana's recorded history begins in the late 1600's when French fur traders begin to settle in the area bringing their slaves with them. When the British take control of the area in the 1760's, the French are allowed to keep their slaves. While they lived in bondage, the slaves retained certain rights through the French "code noir" which allowed blacks to be baptized and marry in the Catholic Church, appear in court and keep their families together. In 1763 Indiana becomes a US Territory and under territorial law slavery was prohibited. This will be a central issue in Indiana's path to statehood.

 

William Henry Harrison, first territorial Governor, created a political party based on legalizing slavery attracting many immigrants from Kentucky and Virginia. Slavery continued to be an issue in the territory and many of its citizens felt that without access to cheap labor slavery was necessary for the economic expansion of the State. Opponents of slavery pressed the issue of statehood, seeing it as a means to end slavery in the State. In 1805 the State elects its first legislature (prior to this legislators were appointed by Harrison) and the anti-slavery party soundly defeats Harrison's candidates. In 1816 the proposed Indiana constitution is accepted by Congress and Indiana becomes the 19th State. Slavery is permanently outlawed by the constitution.

 

During the Civil War, Indiana will remain on the side of the Union and Hoosiers will be present at the first and last battles of the war.

 

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