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John Adams (television series)

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
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I'm now watching the HBO miniseries "John Adams" on DVD. (For non- Americans, it concerns the patriot and second president of the United States, and covers a period from 1770 to 1826.)

Naturally, it's full of flags. In fact, the opening credits consist of one flag overlapping another. There are those you'd expect, at appropriate times- Pine Tree with "An Appeal to Heaven", Grand Union, First Stars and Stripes with the stars in a circle, and, later, in 3- 2-3-2-3 rows, and so on. One common theme is rattlesnake flags, including the "First Navy Jack" seen on a ship (the flag is likely a myth and wouldn't fly at sea anyway, but the whole series is, how shall I say, a bit easy with certain facts), the Gadsen flag, and others. One interesting flag seen over and over again, however, is a flag version of Franklin's famous "Join or Die" cartoon (somewhat modified to include Georgia)- in fact, it was the image used on all advertising for the series. Is there any evidence it was used as a flag? I find it a bit incongruous that such exact replicas appear again and again with 18th Century manufacturing the way it was.

Also interestingly, a Dutch-like flag is shown being flown at patriotic events in the late 18th Century alongside the US flag. As has been pointed out on this list, such flags are widely flown in the US today, usually with lettering on the white stripe. French tricolors are also shown during the period of that country's revolution.

Like I said, the series is not exactly true to the facts at all times, but I thought this bore pointing out.
Nathan Lamm, 4 November 2008