The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend "DONT TREAD ON ME". The flag was designed by and is named after American General and Statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by the United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag.
Considered one of the first flags of the United States, the flag was later replaced by the current Stars and Stripes (or Old Glory) flag. Since the Revolution, the flag has seen times of reintroduction as a symbol of American patriotism, a symbol of disagreement with government, or a symbol of support for civil liberties.
Beginning in 2009, the Gadsden Flag has become an adopted symbol of the American Tea Party movement. Tea Party activists have embraced the "Don't Tread on Me" flag and its message. Nationwide it serves as an alternative to the stars and stripes for Tea Party protesters upset at the current government yet still feeling patriotic.