Why Does the American Flag Have 50 Stars and 13 Stripes?
20 Star Historic U.S. Flag, est. 1818
Established April 4, 1818
We need to go back to 1818, when the 15th Congress of the United States was in session, to understand why the American flag has 50 stars and 13 stripes.
The Flag Act of 1818 was enacted by Congress in April of that year. Three fundamental, significant, and stabilizing principles were established by this statute.
There will be 13 stripes, with red and white stripes alternated.
There will be as many stars as there are states in the Union.
Any updated design of the American flag will go into effect on the Fourth of July that follows the admission of a new state.
American Flags Prior to 1818
There were only two recognized versions of the American flag prior to 1818. The first is the version with 13 stars and 13 stripes, also known as the Betsy Ross flag. The second is the Star Spangled Banner, which has 15 stars and 15 stripes and was adopted by Congress and President George Washington in 1794 (recognizing Vermont and Kentucky).
However, Congress and President James Monroe required a solution since by 1818, there were 20 states in the Union. As a result, the Flag Act of 1818 was passed. Because it was the first to acknowledge Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee and the first to adhere to the protocol that has persisted to the day, the 20 Star American flag is particularly significant in this regard.
American Flags Since 1818
There have been 24 additional official versions of the American flag since 1818, each of which represents a state that has joined the union since that time.
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Civil War and the flag
The American flag was only occasionally flown outside of military forts, governmental structures, and ships before the Civil War. Even carrying the American flag into battle was not formally authorized during the American War of Independence and the War of 1812. The artillery was not permitted to fly the American flag until 1834; the army was given permission to do so in 1841. However, the flag could only be used in camp settings and was forbidden from being used in battle in 1847, during the Mexican-American War. 
Following the shootings at Fort Sumter in 1861, this changed. The Union soldiers were permitted to leave the fort with the flag flying above it. It was carried through the cities of the north, which caused a wave of “Flagmania.” The stars and stripes, which had previously held little significance in the public mind, overnight came to symbolize the country as a whole. At this period, the sale of flags skyrocketed as the flag came to represent the Union. The 1847 army restrictions would be abandoned in a U-turn, and the flag would be permitted to be carried into battle. Abraham Lincoln opposed the idea of removing the stars representing the states that had seceded because he thought it would legitimize the Confederate states.