Searching through the meaning of words or phrases affords us the opportunity of knowing the different interpretations of such words and their original meaning with how they have transited.
You may have heard someone use this phrase randomly or directly on you and you itch to find out its meaning.
So, in this piece, we shall be taking a look at what “Don’t tread on me” means.
Please take your time to read through till the end as you will get to find out the meaning of Don’t tread on me after reading this post.
The first thing to come to mind when you hear the phrase “Don’t tread on me” is the literal meaning.
Don’t tread on me literal meaning
It literally means an appeal or a command (depending on how it is said) to someone not to step on another person.
While this meaning may seem like first to reckon with, it is for people who may not have some historical knowledge of the phrase and its origin.
That is only the literal meaning of don’t tread on me.
There may be other meanings attached to it depending on the context in which it is used.
Next, let’s take a look at its historical meaning.
meaning of don’t tread on me according to history
Historically, the phrase “Don’t tread on me” originated from the historic war that occurred between Great Britain and the American colonies in 1775 and lasted till 1783.
The phrase was a motto and a well-known statement during the war.
Then it was used to express American patriotism.
Through this war, colonies got their freedom.
It was placed on the yellow flag with a snake design on it which is referred to as the Gadsden flag.
Christopher Gadsden was the designer of the Gadsden flag.
He was a brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American revolutionary war from where this phrase originated.
He is the originator of both the flag and the phrase.
The flag must have been named after him.
The flag is a yellow background design with a coiled snake that is ready to strike.
Below the image of the snake is the phrase “Don’t tread on me” in capital letters.
Over the years, the flag has been used by different bodies and movements for similar meaning to its original meaning and what it is being used for today.
It was used by libertarians to express individual rights and limited government.
Other uses include as far right symbol, the tea party symbol, minority self-defense, parodies, etc.
These and many more reasons keep the phrase and the flag invoked.
Today, in America the phrase is still used to mean personal freedom and individualism.
Some use it to mean national pride and patriotism.
To this end, you are likely to see it inscribed as tattoos, bumper stickers, and other imagery products.
Beyond this, it has become a specialty license number plate in some states which include Alabama, Tennessee, Arizona, South Carolina, Kansas, Maryland, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Montana, and Virginia.
This is how much this flag and the phrase have gotten its approval.
In conclusion, this phrase has also found a general use which simply means that if you dare touch or step on me, I will strike you.
Just stay on your path and let me maintain mine.
It is both an expression of independence and power after all.
So, the meaning is still what it was in history.
Next time when you find the phrase “Don’t tread on me” or hear it from someone, just know where to stand and what to do without getting into trouble.