Monday, May 22, 2017

Quakers, Revolutions, and Cockades

The Quaker movement began in the mid-1600s as a group of people who wished to worship God in a way different from the established state church. They believed in non-violence and the equality and priesthood of all believers. Their opposition to slavery, refusal to take oaths, conscientious objection to war, and allowance of female leadership all brought them into conflict with the culture of their day.

Oh and one other item of conflict - their refusal to wear cockades!

We tend to picture the Quakers mostly in Great Britain and America, but by the late 1700s there was a branch in France as well.

The French Revolution began in 1789. You would think a revolution that touted "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" as its slogan would perfectly sympathize with the equality- and peace-loving Quakers. In fact, Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville, a prominent Girondin leader of the Revolution and a friend of Quakers observed, "We are all striving for the same object, universal fraternity; the Quakers by gentleness, we by resistance."

Unfortunately, that's not the view that the French National Assembly took of the matter. Quakers were not viewed kindly by the French revolutionary government. It was obvious to them that Quakers were a "public menace" because - wait for it - they refused to wear the tricolor cockade!

The Quakers had submitted a petition to the National Assembly asking for exemption from military service, exemption from taking civic oaths, and permission to carry on their own method of recording births, marriages and deaths. These liberties had already been granted to British and American Quakers, they reminded the Assembly.

Benjamin Angell's cockade
The issue was so important to Quakers internationally that American and British leaders of the sect visited France to plead for their brethren. Even though Quakers frowned on cockades and other "worldly" devices, cockades were required in revolutionary France. So this cockade was worn by one of the foreign suppliants, Benjamin Angell.

But in spite of this international support, things didn't turn out well for the French Quakers.

One of their leaders, Jean de Marsillac, observed, "It has pleased the lord to suffer us to fall under divers tryals, which in our weak state, we have found painful & grievious, the civic oath, the obligation imposed by the National Assembly to mount guard personally & the Arm, & to declare the arms every one had in his Possession, under the pain of being found guilty of treason & punished by Death….I was arrested at Paris because I had not the National Cockade, & signified my reasons for noncompliance, before the Judges of the Peace, & since that, before Petition Mayor of Paris, who had me set at liberty." 

Many French Quakers simply left France for England, which was more tolerant of their beliefs - and their refusal to wear cockades. A snarky cartoon of the times shows a Quaker asking a drover (symbolizing a recruiting officer), "Friend, where driveth thou that Calf - & why put a Cockade on his horn?" The recruiting officer answers, "He is a young Recruit & I am driving him to the slaughter house." This shows not only the Quakers' view on war but also their view of military cockades.

Pygmy Revels 1801. British Museum.

By 1801, apparently tolerance for Quaker beliefs was growing in France, as noted by two American travelers.

"It may not perhaps be amiss to mention how we were treated at the municipality, where we attended to present our passports. We were stopped by the guards, who had strict orders, it seems, not to suffer any man to pass unless he had what is a cockade in his hat, but on our desiring our guide to step forward and inform the Officers that we were of the people called Quakers, and that our not observing those signs of the time was not in contempt of authority, or disrespect to any office, but from a religious scruple in our minds, - it being the same with us in our own country – they readily accepted our reasons; and one of the officers came and took us by the guards, and so up into the chamber, where we were suffered to remain quietly with our hats on, till our passports were examined by two officers and again endorsed under the seal of the republic."

Cockades are wonderful emblems, in my opinion - but only when you are free to choose whether to wear one!


Memorial Day Sale

If you are a Quaker, you may not need my cockades. :) But the rest of y'all will be glad to know that I'm having a Memorial Day Sale for the rest of May!! Use the coupon code MEMORIALDAY for 10% off in my shops!

All non-custom items in my shops are ready to ship immediately. Custom orders usually only take an extra day or two, unless you are making a large order. As always, I'm happy to help you out with whatever cockades you need!


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Monday, May 1, 2017

Arkansas Secession Cockades

Arkansas's electoral votes went to Breckenridge for president in 1860. A large minority favored Bell and a small minority went for Douglas. No one voted for Lincoln because there weren't any Republican ballots in the state!

When Lincoln won the presidential election, the stage was set for Arkansas to secede. But events proved it wasn't that easy.


Wheeling Into Line

South Carolina seceded on December 20, sparking secession fervor across the South. Though a man's loyalty was first to his own state, the Southern states shared a feeling of unity in their culture, their ambitions and their sense of persecution by the Northern states.

A South Carolina newspaper reported on secession feeling in Arkansas:

Arkansas. – The following dispatch shows that Arkansas is wheeling into line with her Southern sister States:
Little Rock, Dec. 21. –The bill for calling a State Convention has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 81 to 30, and all parties, especially the Bell and Everett party, are for it. The Convention will meet in February, and I can tell you that if the secession feeling increases in intensity from now until then as it has increased within the last two weeks, an ordinance of immediate secession will be passed at once. Even the so called “moderate men” are for action with the Cotton States. There is nobody for unconditional submission.

Blue cockades are to be seen everywhere in abundance. If a man wants a fight, he has only to abuse South Carolina in the streets, and if the Palmetto State should need assistance, be assured she can rely on Arkansas sending her 10,000 men, able and willing to fight for her and maintain the cause of the South.

1860s view of the Arsenal

The Convention and the Arsenal

However, before the secession convention could be held, rumors began to fly. Back in November, Captain James Totten and 65 men of the 2nd U.S. Artillery quietly arrived to garrison the previously unguarded Federal Arsenal in Little Rock. Now the report was that more US troops were being sent. The message from the Federal government was clear: Arkansas was going to remain in the Union - by force if necessary.

As tempers flared and rumors spread, men from around the state converged on the city with the purpose of taking the arsenal. In order to prevent bloodshed, the governor requested Capt. Totten to surrender - and he did.

The convention to vote on secession met in March. Despite the large secession vote and a vast deal of speech-making, Arkansas ended up voting down secession by a narrow margin. Many still feel loyalty to the Union, though almost everyone - Unionist and Secessionist - agreed that concessions needed to be made by the Federal government to the Southern states.

A Declaration of Hostilities

In spite of the surrender of the Arsenal, things seemed to be going smoothly for the Unionist cause - and then the blow came. South Carolinians fired on the U.S.-garrisoned Fort Sumter. President Lincoln promptly called for troops from each state - 780 from Arkansas - to suppress the secessionists.

That was going too far.

Arkansians refused to be forcibly coerced into remaining in the Union. And they absolutely refused to be the tool to forcibly coerce anyone else to remain either. Southerner would not fight against Southerner.

The Governor explained:

Immediately following the proclamation issued by the President, I had the honor of receiving from the Hon. Simon Cameron, secretary of war for Mr. Lincoln's government, a requisition for seven hundred and eighty men to be raised from my fellow-citizens of Arkansas, for the very humane and christian purpose of "wiping out" and desolating the south by fire and sword...To the communication of Mr. Cameron, I returned the following reply—brief but clearly indicative of what I, as the executive of this free people, conceived to be a fitting response to such a piece of presumption and ignorance....

Hon. Simon Cameron,
Secretary of War, Washington City, D.C.
In answer to your requisition for troops from Arkansas, to subjugate the southern states, I have to say, that none will be furnished. The demand is only adding insult to injury. The people of this commonwealth are freemen, not slaves, and will defend to the last extremity their honor, lives and property, against northern mendacity and usurpation.
HENRY M. RECTOR,
Governor of Arkansas.


The Side of Truth and Liberty

On May 6, 1861, the Arkansas secession convention reconvened and voted nearly unanimously to secede from the United States. Three days later, a report appeared in a Little Rock newspaper: 

Neat and Appropriate.-We have received, from a young lady in Burrowsville, Searcy county, a tasteful presentation in the shape of a rosette. It is so simple and pretty that we will endeavor to describe it. A grain of corn is fastened, by means of a hole drilled through it, to a floss of cotton, spread so as to form a circle; this is also attached to a light blue circle, and the whole to a deep blue, of the usual size of a rosette. By using a grain of red corn, we have the colors of the Confederacy flag; red, white and blue, while the corn and cotton are emblematical of the Confederacy. The design and execution are both excellent. –The present was sent with a patriotic note from the true hearted donor. In the revolution of ‘61 as in ‘76, the women are on the side of truth and liberty and, if need be, will show themselves to be  heroines as did their foremothers. God bless them and the Southern Confederacy.

This was a fun cockade to reproduce! Appropriate for both gentlemen and ladies, it's full of Southern pride and sure to be a fun conversation starter. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cockades and the Great War

On April 6, 1917 America entered the Great War to End All Wars - now known to history as World War I. Obviously it didn't end all wars, but it did create massive change in culture around the world. As we look back 100 years later, I think the story of how the Great War changed cockades is a symbolic picture of how the Great War changed society in general.

There were many outcomes, good and bad, from the war. But one of the biggest was CHANGE!

Women At Work
A big societal change brought about by the war was the movement of women into industrial jobs. With the mass exodus of men into the military, women were often required to fill in the manufacturing jobs formerly occupied by men.

How did that affect cockades? As a consequence of this alteration in their workplaces, women had less time for sewing "trifles" - including cockades.


Uniforms of Solidarity
Another interesting change brought about during the war years was the huge amount of people wearing uniforms. Not only were there millions of men in uniform, but women joined the military for the first time, thus wearing uniforms too.

For women in the workplace, dresses and skirts got in the way of factory work so it made sense to wear a pants uniform on the shop floor.

Men and women also wore uniforms for home front activities and associations. Uniforms were often created for aid societies as a show of solidarity and patriotism.

Consequently, the wearing of individually styled cockades fell out of use for the military due to uniform regulations, and for civilians as mass-produced buttons, ribbons and membership medals took their place.

New Ideas, New Words
Though war brings destruction and killing, it also often brings bursts of progress. Warfare changed dramatically during World War I and many technological and medical advances occurred too. Ambulances, antiseptics and anesthesia...tanks, flame throwers and aircraft carriers...modern rubber, ultrasound, and plastic surgery - all had their start during the war.

Along with those technological changes came changes in ideas. Communism, socialism and women's suffrage gained traction worldwide. A surge of cynicism over the war's carnage rose, but was also accompanied by a rush of patriotism in all levels of society.

New words were added to cover new situations and norms. Consider phrases we use today that had their origination in World War I - in the trenches, over the top, no man's land, shell shock.

As language reflected the addition of new ideas and the dropping of old, I've found that the very word "cockade" began its gradual disappearance from American publications.

Cockades of the World Wars
You might be concluding from all of this that cockades vanished in World War I - but not to worry! They were still around and still worn by patriotic people.

I have both American and French cockades in my collection dating to the World War years. And I've enjoyed the highly fashionable images I've found from this era of ladies wearing them. Here's a sampling for some "eye candy."



However, as mass production became easier, people also began to wear the forerunners of our modern metal buttons and pins. Some were made in the round shape we now associate with patriotic buttons, but some were still in the shape of cockades! Celluloid, an early form of plastic, was used as well as pasteboard and metal to form these emblems.



In this picture of some cockades in my World War collection, you can see the two ribbon cockades with a celluloid cockade in between them.



The Modern "Cockade" Is Born
Just as the Great War changed the face of culture around the world, so the patriotic cockade was also changed. As industrialization, modernization and mass production brought uniformity to culture, it brought the same to the patriotic emblems we now wear.

Just as today it's unusual to see someone in a hand-sewn outfit, it's also unusual to see them wearing a hand-sewn cockade.

But patriotism still flourishes in America even though our expressions of it have changed. And if you look closely, you'll still see people wearing modern "cockades" - lapel pins, t-shirts and jewelry that show our love of our country.

Need A Great War Cockade?
Using vintage striped ribbon and getting inspiration from my World War originals, I have created a cockade for the modern era. Show your patriotism anywhere - or reenact the Great War - with this red, white and blue emblem of the good ole USA!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Secession Cockades in South Carolina

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the United States. This was the opening step in a movement that would end with new country formed - and America's bloodiest war. Ripples from that event are seen even today. People who feel marginalized by our system still threaten to go back to the first remedy for bad government that our Founders conceived: Secession.

We hold these truths to be self-evident.... That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Secession fervor reached its height in South Carolina during November and December 1860. And naturally, the cockades were seen everywhere! Here's a fun sampling of the descriptions mentioned in the newspapers.

"Black Cockades."
These insignia of Treason are being worn in South Carolina. They are among our early remembrances, and are suggestive of every thing unpatriotic. They were worn by the opponents of Jefferson, Madison, and the Republican Party in 1808-9, as they are in hostility to Lincoln and the Republican Party in 1860. They then preceded and foreshadowed the “Hartford Convention’ of 1814, as they are now precede and foreshadow the Treasonable Gatherings of men who seek to Dissolve the Union.

Ashtabula (OH) Weekly Telegraph, 08 Dec. 1860

Business at Charleston.
The Charleston correspondent of the New York Tribune writes that Jeff. Davis continues to be the favorite candidate for the Presidency of the Southern Provisional Government. Charleston is in the most perfect tranquility; it is really painful to see this beautiful harbor entirely deserted by shipping; the quays destitute of all commercial activity; other indications of gloom seem to daily increase, in the calamities which befall the several traders, the interruptions of the pleasures of the season, and the diminution, I may say cessation, of travel from the North.

The shops which have made the most profit out of the political troubles of the time are those which sell arms, powder and cockades. Of these last articles nearly 25,000 have been sold at prices varying from 25 cents to 50 cents each, and the demand still continues, not only from the South, but for exportation to the Northern States also.

Cleveland (OH) Morning Leader, 28 Jan. 1861


South Carolina.
The cockade is made of three layers of very dark cloth, stitched at the edges and fastened together by a gilt button, on which the following appears in relief: In the center is the "Palmetto," with two arrows (crossed,) and fastened together at the point of crossing with a bow knot of ribbon. The following is the motto around the button: Animous opibusque parati - "Ready with our minds and means."

Glasgow (MO) Weekly Times, 27 Dec. 1860

The Minute Men.
We are glad to see the people of our State everywhere preparing for the crisis which is at hand. As an offset to the "Wide-Awakes" of the North, "Minute Men" are organizing in all the principal districts of South Carolina. Their object is to form an armed body of men, and to join in with our fellow-citizens, now forming in this and our sister States as "Minute Men," whose duty is to arm, equip and drill, and be ready for any emergency that may arise in the present perilous position of the Southern States. In Kershaw, Abbeville and Richland Districts the organization is already complete and powerful, embracing the flower of the youth, and led on bv the most influential citizens. The badge adopted is a blue rosette – two and a half inches in diameter, with a military button in the centre, to be worn upon the side of the hat. Let the important work go bravely on, and let every son of Carolina in prepare to mount the blue cockade. – Charleston Mercury

The Camden (SC) Weekly Journal, 23 Oct. 1860

THE BADGES OF LOYALTY.
The scarlet cockade and steel button, of which we spoke yesterday, has, we learn, been unanimously adopted by the Edgefield Riflemen, and is now a pledge by them to resist Black Republican rule in or out of South Carolina. The motto is "Blood and Steel"—a reliable cure for present troubles. We noticed yesterday quite a number of gentlemen wearing a plain blue silk ribbon on the coat lappel. The Palmetto tree, the lone star and the coiled rattlesnake, appear in gold upon the face of the badge….

A new style of cockade has made its appearance in Charleston. It is made of Palmetto leaves plaited with a border of blue ribbon. Also another pattern - a scarlet rosette with steel button in the centre.

The (Baltimore) Daily Exchange, 19 Nov. 1860

The Carolina Cockade.
The cockade most used by the Carolinians, just now, is a little larger than a Spanish dollar, made of light-blue ribbon, with a small brass button in the center, on which is a palmetto tree surrounded with an inscription signifying: "Prepare with our fortunes, and in our minds. We pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

Cincinnati (OH) Daily Press, 19 Dec. 1860

Cockades are as plentiful as heads.
They are worn by the old and the young. Across all the streets, and from the doors of nearly all the business houses Palmetto and Lone Star flags are flying. They are to be seen upon the stage coaches, and from the heads of the omnibus horses and full length across the depot horses. It is impossible to turn any way without seeing some indication of the prevailing sentiment. Corps of Minute Men are organized in every neighborhood. The patent leather caps with the ominous "M. M," on the front, are nearly as frequent as the cockade. I give you these things that you may form some idea of the state of feeling in South Carolina.

Nashville (TN) Union and American, 23 Nov. 1860

Sturdy Patriots
The Charleston Mercury has the following:
Sturdy Patriots.—A number of charcoal dealers, from the interior of this district, were yesterday
here on business, wearing—not the blue silk cockade—but plain strips of brown paper, bearing such mottoes as "Resistance," "Remember Harper’s Ferry," etc. We could not but admire the stern simplicity of this unpretending badge of devotion to South Carolina:—

The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king of men for a' that.

Semi-Weekly Mississippian, November 23, 1860

I Have South Carolina Cockades!
All of my South Carolina cockades are based on originals and original descriptions. Not only are these beauties colorful, they are authentic! The wide variety and the fascinating stories behind each South Carolina cockade have made it a fun topic to research.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor & American Cockades

World War II had a dramatic effect on the cockades of the world.

▪ It was the last time Americans would widely wear ribbon patriotic cockades.

▪ It was the first time Americans would widely wear metal patriotic "cockades."

▪ Modern American airplane roundels were created - based on cockades!

An Infamous Date
75 years ago, on December 8, 1941, President Roosevelt addressed Congress and the nation with one of the most remembered of all American speeches.

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.



And thus our nation entered one of the greatest conflicts the world has known.

Patriotism in America was already high. Most sympathies were with the European Allied nations fighting the power of Germany's Hitler, Japan's Hirohito, and Italy's Mussolini. So the people of United States willingly settled in for the long fight to preserve freedom in the world.

Fabric to Metal
One example of people's patriotic fervor was the "victory ribbons" they wore to public events. But as time went on, many items became rationed in order to help the war effort. This included textiles, which were devoted mainly to the army's use.

So people began what would become a permanent switch - from ribbon cockades to plastic and metal pins. You can see this example of a celluloid "victory pin" in my collection. It's shaped like a cockade, but made out of early plastic.

French cockades, by the way, underwent the same transformation. This is a picture of a World War II metal cockade with the French slogan "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," written on its pendants.

Cockades In the Air
But the most dramatic new use for cockades was in the air. National emblems, usually based on cockades, were painted on airplane wings and tails as a mark of identification. These were called "roundels."

Actually, the first use of roundels was in World War I. But it was during the second world war that a version of the modern United States roundel was introduced.

Throughout the war, it went through many changes. The early design featured a blue circle, white star and red circle in the middle. Unfortunately, this was rather close to the Japanese roundel of a red circle on a white circle. So the American roundel was changed - quite a few times! Eventually the US government chose the modern design of a white star on a blue ground flanked by white bars. (See the complete history of how it changed and why here.)



Whether the national colors were worn as ribbon cockades, metal or plastic pins, or roundels on airplanes, the people of the United States were proud of their country and willing to fight for freedom. President Roosevelt said it well:

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Buff and Blue... And Cockades

Many of the portraits of our founding fathers show them in Continental Army uniforms of buff (tan) and blue. By the end of the Revolutionary War, these were considered the basic uniform colors for the army. George Washington himself was apparently involved in the choice of those colors - and the choice was not arbitrary.

There's a story behind buff and blue - and yes, it involves cockades!


George Washington's adopted son, George Custis, gives us a hint of this story when he described his father's uniform: "His uniform (Blue and Buff, the antient Whig colours of England) was as plain as hands could make it..."

The Polling, by William Hogarth
Whig Colors
By the time of the Revolutionary War, the Whig party in England was firmly identified with the colors of buff and blue. Their archrivals were the Tory party, whose color was simply blue. 

Up until the middle 1700s, the Whig color was buff alone. An old painting by William Hogarth shows a polling place with a flag of each color, representing each party. The voters wear cockades of their party's color in their hats.

By the time of the Revolution though, the Whigs had added blue to the mix. An old book I found states that blue is the color of fidelity. Buff comes from the color of buffalo leather, and the old term "to stand buff" is based on the sturdiness of that leather. 

So the colors of the Whig cockade said they were faithful, true blue and sturdy citizens!

A Whig caricature in buff and blue,
taking aim at a symbol of the crown
Whig Ideals
Now we know the story of the colors, but that still begs the question: Why did our founders choose Whig colors for their uniforms?

American revolutionaries were, of course, British citizens until the United States declared their independence. And so they identified closely with British politics. The two main British parties of the day were Tories and Whigs. 

A quick look at the principles of the Whigs - particularly the "radical Whigs" - shows us why American patriots chose their colors and their ideals. 

Religious liberty - unlike the rest of the western world at the time, radical Whigs actually were in favor of allowing dissenters from the state religion. Though they were anti-Catholic, their opposition was rooted in the fact that the Catholic church of the day was political and absolutely quashed all religious dissent. 

Constitutionalism - at a time when nearly all nations believed in the divine right of kings to dictate however they wished, radical Whigs instead said that kings must be confined to constitutional limits.

Representation in government - radical Whigs espoused the new idea of Parliament having supremacy over the king. The representatives of the people, they said, should have more power than a single monarch.

A British election celebration in 1755.
Note the buff and blue cockades.
There is much more Whig philosophy that our founders believed, but this gives you a quick taste. Whigs liked the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Algernon Sidney, and Baron Montesquieu. They brought up new theories about things like social contract, natural rights, separation of powers, republic vs monarchy, free trade, religious liberty and the protection of property. 

Those are the ideals on which the American Revolution - indeed, the whole American story - were based.

So it makes sense that our national uniforms would be based on the Whig cockades!

If you want to read in more depth about Whig influence on American thought, here's a good article to start with.

So the next time you see a portrait of an American founder in buff and blue, you'll know what those colors represented!

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Monday, July 4, 2016

240 Years of Independence Cockades

There's been a lot of excitement over "Brexit" the last few days - Great Britain exiting the European Union. Today we get to celebrate a different "exit" - the 240th anniversary of the American Colonies' "exit" from Great Britain!

A quick look at American history - and American cockades - shows that Americans love independence. I've spent five years researching the cockades of the past and I've gotten to know quite a bit about some of these independence cockades and the movements they represented.

Here are a few vignettes of American independence cockades - and a peek at the cockades I recreated!

Alliance for Independence

America became an independent nation when we seceded from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.

Already involved in a war with the mother country, we needed allies. The United States signed the Treaty of Alliance with France on February 6, 1778 and French troops entered the American War for Independence. At first their participation was mostly on the seas but by 1779 they were landing troops on American soil.

The national cockade of France was white. Traditionally, Americans had worn British black cockades. In 1780, as a symbol of the two nations’ alliance, General George Washington established that the American military cockade would be an Alliance Cockade – black with a white center. Many of the French troops likewise wore an Alliance Cockade of white with a black center.

Either way, the cockades said: Independence for the new United States!

Exporting Independence

Just a few years after we gained our independence, our ally France had an independence revolution too.

Shortly after the Bastille fell, the tri-color cockade became the symbol of the French Revolution and later of the Republic. It combined red and blue, the colors of Paris, with the French royal color of white.

James Monroe was America's ambassador to France in the 1790s, when the American patriotic cockade was still black. However, to show his support for the French Revolution, Monroe wore a star-shaped tricolor cockade.

Eventually the tricolor came to America and took the place of the American black cockade.

Now both countries celebrate independence with red, white and blue!

Defending Independence

In 1812, the British decided to see if we really meant it when we seceded. As the old song says, "We fired our guns but the British kept a-comin'...."

American troops of the 1800s were much advanced from the ragtag colonial army that George Washington had to contend with. Uniforms, rank, and pay were far more standardized - and so were the cockades.

An eagle had been added to the original black cockade to "Americanize" the design. Regulations from Secretary of War James McHenry said: "All persons belonging to the army, to wear a black cockade, with a Small white Eagle in the centre. The cockade of non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates, to be of leather, with Eagles of tin."

The 1812 eagle holds both arrows and an olive branch. The message: We're ready for war or peace.

Nullify for Independence

As the fledgling nation grew, so did the factions and tensions between regions. Accusations flew between North, South and West, each insisting the other was taking advantage of the rest of the country.

When the "Tariff of Abominations" was passed in 1828, a movement grew in South Carolina to nullify the law which imposed such harsh regulations on South Carolinians.

In 1832, South Carolina nullified the tariff. Congress promptly passed the Force Bill authorizing the president to send troops. But um, they also passed a compromise tariff. So South Carolina withdrew their nullification of the 1828 tariff. But they nullified the Force Bill - just to make their point clear.

The symbol of nullification in 1828-1833 was a blue cockade inherited from the Gordon Riots in England a few years earlier. It was usually adorned with a South Carolina militia button.

The point was clear and concise: No government tyranny or we fight!

Second War of Independence

An uneasy peace reigned for several decades after the Nullification Crisis, but the tensions were still there. They finally boiled to the surface with the election of President Abraham Lincoln, who didn't even get the majority of the people's vote.

South Carolina was once again the leader and seceded from the Union in December 1860. Two of the first flags associated with the newly independent state were red and white. Thus, red and white came to be known as the colors of the Confederacy.

One source states that the white symbolized truth and purity and the red symbolized sacrifice. Many secession cockades across the South were made from red and white colors.

Though the South eventually lost the war, they made their point: We will sacrifice everything for independence.

Preserving Independence

As the now-united USA proceeded into the 20th century, turmoil churned around the globe. When it finally exploded into the first World War, America was ready with support for nations fighting for their independence.

A second World War pulled us even further into global affairs. Our money, men and munitions poured into the effort to push back tyranny and oppression.

Across the globe, the American red, white and blue symbolized the nation that fights for freedom - for everyone.

American Cockades: Our Heritage of Independence

Americans have a right to feel proud of our heritage. Not only did we fight for our own liberation from tyranny, we have liberated thousands of others around the world.

As we celebrate this 240th Independence Day (hopefully with a cockade!) let's remember our history and uphold the tradition of freedom for future generations!

Click here to see my patriotic cockades!

THREE CHEERS FOR THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE!

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