The American Flag

An Encyclopedia of the Stars and Stripes in U.S. History, Culture, and Law

by John R. Vile


The stars on the first American flag were designed to symbolize a new political "constellation" in the world.

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Cover image for The American Flag

October 2018


Pages 440
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/History
  American History/Culture

At a time when the U.S. flag is both a source of both pride and controversy, this volume provides the first encyclopedic A-to-Z treatment of the U.S. flag in American history, culture, and law.

This title is a comprehensive resource for understanding all aspects of the American flag and its relationship to the American people. The encyclopedia provides a thorough historical examination of key developments in the flag's design as well as laws and court decisions related to the flag and the First Amendment. In relation to the flag's history, it also discusses evolving public attitudes about its importance as a national symbol.

The encyclopedia contains illuminating scholarly essays on presentations of the flag in American politics, the military, and popular culture including art, music, and journalism. Additionally, these essays address important rules of flag etiquette and modern controversies related to them, from flag-burning to refusing to stand during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem.


  • Offers the only encyclopedic A-to-Z treatment of the U.S. flag
  • Features essays on important flag-related topics by leading historians
  • Includes a timeline, a bibliography, and an index for ease of reference
  • Provides cross references and resources for further research in each entry
Author Info

John R. Vile is professor of political science and dean of the University Honors College at Middle Tennessee State University. He has written and edited numerous previous works including The Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789–2015; The Constitutional Convention of 1787: An Encyclopedia of America's Founding; Re-Framers: 170 Eccentric, Visionary, and Patriotic Proposals to Rewrite the U.S. Constitution, and four volumes for ABC-CLIO's Documents Decoded series.



"A masterly exploration of the American flag, with a potpourri of fun details for anyone with an interest in U.S. history, patriotic symbols, and vexillology."Library Journal

This volume includes just about everything that anyone would want to know about American flags, and more. . . . . It is inexpensive and it should be in schools and public libraries across the nation. More importantly, American citizens should actually read this volume for a better understanding of the issues and a wider appreciation of how the adoration of the U.S. flag and other flags can be employed for both good and less savory purposes."ARBA


Best Reference Book of 2018 — Library Journal

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Other Titles of Interest

The Declaration of Independence cover imageEncyclopedia of American Civil Rights and Liberties cover imageAmerican Political Culture cover image
The War for American Independence cover imageEncyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789–2015, 4th Edition cover imageRe-Framers cover image

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