Don’t Tread on Me is a historic expression of American independence and resistance to oppression. It symbolizes a stand against being controlled by a tyrannical government.

Gadsden Flag Meaning

The Gadsden Flag, featuring a coiled rattlesnake and the motto “Don’t Tread on Me,” represents vigilance, liberty, and a readiness to defend against tyranny.

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History of the Gadsden Flag

The Gadsden Flag originated in 1775 during the American Revolution.

Designed by Christopher Gadsden, it was used by the Continental Marines as an early motto flag.

Don’t Tread on Me | Gadsden Flag | Meaning
A Don’t Tread on Me flag at a Take Back the House rally in front of Congressman John Yarmuth’s office in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

The flag’s rattlesnake, a common symbol for the American colonies, and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” were meant to convey a message of resistance and independence to the British.

Over time, the flag has become an iconic symbol of American patriotism, freedom, and civil liberties.

Although its use has evolved, appearing in various political and cultural contexts, its core message of resilience and defiance remains a significant part of American heritage.

What Does The Snake Symbolize

The snake on the Gadsden Flag, specifically a rattlesnake, symbolizes vigilance, independence, and a defensive posture.

In American colonial history, the rattlesnake was a respected animal noted for only attacking in self-defense and for giving a warning with its rattle before striking.

Don’t Tread on Me | Gadsden Flag | Meaning


This mirrors the values and attitudes of the early American colonies:

  • Vigilance: The rattlesnake’s keen sense of when to strike represents alertness and readiness to act against threats.
  • Independence: The snake is an emblem of American independence, signifying the colonies’ desire to govern themselves and resist external control.
  • Defensive Posture: The rattlesnake does not initiate aggression but is ready to defend itself fiercely, symbolizing the colonies’ stance against British aggression.

The rattlesnake’s use as a symbol dates back to Benjamin Franklin’s famous “Join or Die” cartoon, which featured a segmented snake as a metaphor for the importance of the colony’s uniting. Over time, the snake became a powerful symbol of American identity and resistance.

RE Factor Tactical offers an exclusive item for those who cherish the values embodied by the Gadsden Flag. The Don’t Tread On Me/Gadsden Flag Patch is not just any patch. It’s a symbol of your connection to a historical legacy.

Don’t Tread on Me | Gadsden Flag | Meaning
XL Don’t Tread On Me Flag Patch
  • Size Matters: Measuring 3 x 5 inches, this PVC patch is perfectly sized for plate carriers.
  • Design and Durability: Crafted with attention to detail, the patch features an all-black design, paying homage to the original Gadsden Flag while adding a modern, sleek twist. With a hook velcro backing, it’s designed for easy attachment and versatility.
  • A Symbol of Heritage: More than just a patch, it’s a statement piece that connects you to the rich history and enduring message of the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

Head to RE Factor Tactical and get your hands on the exclusive Don’t Tread On Me/Gadsden Flag Patch. Embrace the legacy of independence and defiance against tyranny.