The American ships flew the
Pine Tree Flag
, designed by General Washington's secretary,
Colonel Joseph Reed
, who wrote in a letter, October 20, 1775:
"...flag with a white ground and a tree in the middle, the motto
AN APPEAL TO HEAVEN
Pine Tree Flag
was also flown in towns, churches, riverbanks, and at the nation's capital in Philadelphia.
Eastern White Pine Trees
grew to a height of over 150 feet and were ideal for use as masts on British ships, contributing to the British navy being the most powerful navy in the world.
When the King sent agents to enforce his claim to every tree in New England over 12 inches in diameter, a
Pine Tree Riot
took place in 1772.
Pine Tree Flag's
An Appeal to Heaven
," was first used by John Locke in his
Second Treatise on Civil Government
, 1690, regarding the right of citizens who have been denied justice to go above the king's head:
"Where the body of the people ... is deprived of their right ... and have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to
appeal to heaven
Where there lies no appeal on earth ... they have just cause to make
their appeal to heaven
Where there is no judicature (justice) on earth, to decide controversies amongst men,
God in heaven is judge
. He alone, it is true, is judge of the right ... So in this ... he should appeal to the
stated at the Second Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775:
An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts
is all that is left us! ... We shall not fight our battles alone.
There is a just God
who presides over the destinies of nations."
Massachusetts Provincial Congress
stated April 26, 1775, following the Battles of Lexington and Concord:
Appealing to Heaven
for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free."
The Massachusetts Navy
flew a similar
Liberty Tree Flag
, with the line "An Appeal to God."
The Declaration of Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms, July 6, 1775, stated:
"We most solemnly, before God and the world ... resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves ...With an humble confidence in the mercies of the Supreme and Impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe."
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776, stated:
"We, therefore ... appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do ... declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States."
America's first navy grew to over 40 vessels, but was disbanded after the Revolutionary War. The Massachusetts Navy continued, and was later incorporated into the U.S. Navy.
On AUGUST 4, 1790, the
Revenue Marine, later called
Revenue Cutter Service, was created by the recommendation of
Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury.
It consisted of 10 ships charged with stopping smuggling and French privateers from operating in American waters.
Revenue Marine's first seven masters (captains) were commissioned by President George Washington on March 12, 1791.
Revenue-Marine was the only armed maritime service of the United States till the Department of the Navy was created in 1798.
During the U.S.-French Quasi War of 1798-1801, eight Revenue Cutter vessels were among the 45 American ships that served in combat.
When the U.S. Government passed
the Slave Trade Act of 1794, the
Revenue-Marine began intercepting slave ships which were illegally bringing slaves into the country.
Slaves were bought predominantly from Arab Muslim slave markets of Africa.
Missionary to Africa
wrote of witnessing the Muslim Arab slave trade in the mid-19nth century:
"We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path ... an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.
We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead ... We came upon a man dead from starvation ...
The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves."
David Livingstone estimated that each year over 80,000 Africans died before reaching the Muslim slave markets, writing to the editor of the
New York Herald:
"If my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together."
On January 1, 1808, exactly 55 years before Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,Congress closed all U.S. ports to the importation of slaves.
U.S. Revenue Cutter Service
intercepted and freed nearly 500 slaves.
U.S. Revenue Cutter Service
defended the United States in every major conflict, including the War of 1812, Counter-Piracy operations, Mexican-American War, the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II.
In 1915, the
U.S. Revenue Cutter Service
was merged with the
U.S. Lifesaving Service
to form the
U.S. Coast Guard.
The original anthem of the U.S. Coast Guard was:
"To sink the foe or save the maimed,
Our mission and our pride,
We'll carry on 'til Kingdom Come,
Ideals for which we've died."
In 1939, the
U.S. Lighthouse Service was merged into the
U.S. Coast Guard, as was the
Steamboat Inspection Service and
Bureau of Navigation in 1946.
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In 1967, the U.S. Coast Guard was transferred to the Department of Transportation.
President John F. Kennedy remarked aboard the
U.S. Coast Guard Training Barque "Eagle," August 15, 1962:
"This is a very ancient service in our country's history.
Its first father ...
Alexander Hamilton, began
the Coast Guard as a revenue collecting service, asked the Congress of the United States for appropriations for 10 vessels...
Eagle was one of our most distinguished warships, and in actions against privateers of France, captured over five vessels, and recaptured seven American vessels..."
"This is the oldest
continuous seagoing service in the United States, stretching back to the beginning of our country."
President Herbert Hoover
suggested December 27, 1929:
"A further proposal...is the definite expansion of the Coast Guard...in the matter of border patrol."
Included in the list of casualties at the WWII Battle of Okinawa, President Truman stated, June 1, 1945:
Navy and Coast Guard losses were 4,729 killed and 4,640 wounded."
U.S. Coast Guard Academy
in New London, September 20, 1952,
"I was just reading...about the
icebreaker that has been closer to the North Pole than any other ship in delivering food and supplies to a station up there...
That, my young friends, is what makes this country great."
President John F. Kennedy
continued his address aboard the
U.S. Coast Guard Training Barque "Eagle,"
August 15, 1962:
"You serve our country in peacetime, on ice patrols and weather patrols, in protecting the standards of the merchant marine, in protecting safety at sea ... and in time of war you, with the American Navy, as you did in World War II and at the time of Korea."
U.S. Coast Guard commencement in New London, June 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson remarked:
"Winston Churchill once said: 'Civilization will not last, freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless mankind unites together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a power before which barbaric forces will stand in awe'...
In every area of national strength America today is stronger than it has ever been before...
It is stronger than the combined might of all the nations in the history of the world. And I confidently predict that strength will continue to grow..."
President Johnson continued:
"No one can live daily, as I must do, with the dark realities of nuclear ruin, without seeking the guidance of God to find the path of peace.
We have built this staggering strength not to destroy but to save, not to put an end to civilization but rather to try to put an end to conflict."
U.S. Coast Guard commencement, May 18, 1988,
President Reagan stated:
"It's our prayer to serve America in peace. It's our commitment to defend her in war."
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