What Is the Meaning of a Rebel Flag?

by Lisa Parris

The Rebel Flag is one of the most recognizable emblems of the Southern United States. Used by the Confederate Army during the Civil War, the flag was flown as the troops marched into battle against the Union. Though its use is controversial across America, the Rebel Flag is still flown unofficially by many citizens.


Confederate flag flying, close up

The Rebel Flag was originally intended to be used as the national flag of the Confederacy, but the administration rejected the design because it was thought to resemble a pair of suspenders.


Rebel flag flying at stock car rally

The Rebel Flag is also known as the Confederate Battle Flag, the Dixie Flag or the Southern Cross. This flag was carried by the Rebel troops during combat situations throughout the Civil War because the national flag strongly resembled the Union flag.


Man with his customized bus at racing event

Designed to resemble the flag motif of the Second Navy, the 13 stars of the Rebel Flag represent the 11 states that officially seceded from the United States to form the Confederacy, plus the two states that were officially admitted without legal secession--Kentucky and Missouri.


State flag of Alabama

After the Civil War it was illegal to fly the Rebel Flag. However, as a way of getting around this particular law, elements of the flag design were incorporated into the state flag of several former Confederacy members.


Woman attendee at Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin, Georgia

Opponents of the rebel flag see it as a symbolism of racism, oppression and slavery, while supporters feel the flag is representative of their Southern cultural heritage and history.

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.

Photo Credits

  • Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images