Smithsonian

Donate Join Shop
Art and Design History and Culture Science and Technology
Home › Encyclopedia Smithsonian › History and Culture
Share this page
  Facts about the United States Flag
 
 

Lincoln Funeral Train Flag
One of two flags that flew from the locomotive of the Lincoln funeral train on the route between Albany and Utica, New York.

Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:

  • Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 - stated: "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
  • Act of January 13, 1794 - provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.
  • Act of April 4, 1818 - provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state.
  • Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 - established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 - provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

Number of Stars in the U.S. Flag, and additional states represented
1777 to Present

Date of Flag

Additional states with date of entry into Union

13 stars - 1777 to 1795
  • Delaware (December 7, 1787)
  • Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787)
  • New Jersey (December 18, 1787)
  • Georgia (January 2, 1788)
  • Connecticut (January 9, 1788)
  • Massachusetts (February 6, 1788)
  • Maryland (April 28, 1788)
  • South Carolina (May 23, 1788)
  • New Hampshire (June 21, 1788)
  • Virginia (June 25, 1788)
  • New York (July 26, 1788)
  • North Carolina (November 21, 1789)
  • Rhode Island (May 29, 1790)
15 stars - 1795 to 1818
  • Vermont (March 4, 1791)
  • Kentucky (June 1, 1792)
20 stars - 1818 to July 3, 1819
  • Tennessee (June 1, 1796)
  • Ohio (March 1, 1803)
  • Louisiana (April 30, 1812)
  • Indiana (December 11, 1816)
  • Mississippi (December 10, 1817)
21 stars - July 4, 1819 to July 3, 1820
  • Illinois (December 3, 1818)
23 stars - July 4, 1820 to July 3, 1822
  • Alabama (December 14, 1819)
  • Maine (March 15, 1820)
24 stars - July 4, 1822 to July 3, 1836
  • Missouri (August 10, 1821)
25 stars - July 4, 1836 to July 3, 1837
  • Arkansas (June 15, 1836)
26 stars - July 4, 1837 to July 3, 1845
  • Michigan (Jan 26, 1837)
27 stars - July 4, 1845 to July 3, 1846
  • Florida (March 3, 1845)
28 stars - July 4, 1846 to July 3, 1847
  • Texas (December 29, 1845)
29 stars - July 4, 1847 to July 3, 1848
  • Iowa (December 28, 1846)
30 stars - July 4, 1848 to July 3, 1851
  • Wisconsin (May 29, 1848)
31 stars - July 4, 1851 to July 3, 1858
  • California (September 9, 1850)
32 stars - July 4, 1858 to July 3, 1859
  • Minnesota (May 11, 1858)
33 stars - July 4, 1859 to July 3, 1861
  • Oregon (February 14, 1859)
34 stars - July 4, 1861 to July 3, 1863
  • Kansas (January 29, 1861)
35 stars - July 4, 1863 to July 3, 1865
  • West Virginia (June 20, 1863)
36 stars - July 4, 1865 to July 3, 1867
  • Nevada (October 31, 1864)
37 stars - July 4, 1867 to July 3, 1877
  • Nebraska (March 1, 1867)
38 stars - July 4, 1877 to July 3, 1890
  • Colorado (August 1, 1876)
43 stars - July 4, 1890 to July 3, 1891
  • North Dakota (November 2, 1889)
  • South Dakota (November 2, 1889)
  • Montana (November 8, 1889)
  • Washington (November 11, 1889)
  • Idaho (July 3, 1890)
44 stars - July 4, 1891 to July 3, 1896
  • Wyoming (July 10, 1890)
45 stars - July 4, 1896 to July 3, 1908
  • Utah (January 4, 1896)
46 stars - July 4, 1908 to July 3, 1912
  • Oklahoma (November 16, 1907)
48 stars - July 4, 1912 to July 3, 1959
  • New Mexico (January 6, 1912)
  • Arizona (February 14, 1912)
49 stars - July 4, 1959 to July 3, 1960
  • Alaska (January 3, 1959)
50 stars - July 4, 1960 to present
  • Hawaii (August 21, 1959)

 

Prepared by the Armed Forces History Collections,
in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services,
Smithsonian Institution

Rev. 9/01

 
 
 

Smithsonian Information
PO Box 37012
SI Building, Room 153, MRC 010
Washington, DC 20013-7012
202.633.1000 (voice)
e-mail: info@si.edu

 
Contacts | FAQ | Newsroom | Privacy | Terms of Use
Top  Top