ON THIS DAY exactly 150 years ago, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the first and last president of the Confederate States of America. In honor of this important anniversary, Dr. Boli reprints two features that seem relevant to the occasion.


Ask Dr. Boli.

Dear Dr. Boli: While examining an old painting of a Civil War battle, I saw a flag I didn’t recognize on the Confederate side. A historically-minded neighbor of mine informs me that it was the first Confederate national flag. I had no idea there were multiple Confederate flags. Can you sort out the history of the Confederate flag for me? —Sincerely, A Gentleman of Bristol, Virginia or Tennessee (not entirely sure which).

Dear Sir: The Confederate States of America, during its brief history, adopted a number of flags. The first Confederate national flag, the “Stars and Bars,” was adopted in March of 1861, but it was soon criticized as depending too much on the now-hated Union flag (see Fig. 1).


First Confederate national flag, the "Stars and Bars."

Fig. 1: First Confederate national flag, the "Stars and Bars."

In response to these criticisms, Confederate generals adopted a square battle flag (see Fig. 2), which, however, was open to the criticism that its colors were still broadly similar to those of the Union flag.

Confederate battle flag.

Fig. 2: Confederate battle flag.

The second Confederate national flag, the “Stainless Banner,” incorporated that square battle flag in its union, the rest of the flag being spotless white, in token of the purity of the cause of preserving liberty for slaveholders (see Fig. 3).

Second Confederate national flag, the "Stainless Banner."

Fig. 3: Second Confederate national flag, the "Stainless Banner."

This flag was at least distinctive, but it was still open to the objection that it shared its colors with the Union flag. Thus it was only one more step, namely the removal of the union altogether, that led to the final Confederate national flag, known as the “Appomattox Banner” (see Fig. 4).

Final Confederate national flag.

Fig. 4: Final Confederate national flag.

The development of the Confederate flag did not end, however, with the defeat of the Confederate States of America. In tribute to the brave souls who fought for the honor of the Confederacy, the old square battle flag, elongated into a rectangle, has been universally adopted in international heraldry as the symbol for “trailer park.”


  1. B Courthling says:

    Always spot on for history Dr Boli. I hope today’s generation always remember past events as they help shape the events of today, and as they say “what’s old is new again”.

    I will take this bit of lovely information and show to my brother who lives in town. I do hope he is home although it may be harvest time so an unsure if he will be. I believe they have lunch breaks so fingers crossed I hope he is home.

  2. yepyougotmeagain@yahoo.com says:

    Well done. Another present bites the dust

  3. D Griffiths says:

    you are an evil demon. there is nothing left. good bye.

  4. D Griffiths says:

    poison everything you touch.

  5. D Griffiths says:

    and as such you will NEVER touch me – get some McDonalds (it already shows)

  6. D Griffiths says:

    oh she is a writer. no she is not she is a destroyer that has nothing positive to give to this world – loser.

  7. D Griffiths says:

    I now understand who to ignore . Coward. I have no respect for you are you basically represent all I despise – DECEIT, LIES and…yes

  8. D Griffiths says:

    and by the way… i ripped up ur present and gave it the the closest chicj at mhy local.

  9. D Griffiths says:

    ask em.

  10. D Griffiths says:

    …may I request Bergerac this time. It suits more than Mubarak.

  11. C. Simon says:

    Dear Dr. Boli,

    Perhaps you will excuse the lengthiness of this inquiry, for you will see that it contains a question of utmost importance.

    I had spent years upon years in the pursuit of the Common Good. Now I had come the conclusion, surely shared by all who have tried, that the Common Good is simply unattainable. History, no doubt, gives plausibility to my conviction. So I took a modest step down and tried the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number, and, when this also proved elusive, I settled on the maximization of Pleasure.

    This seemed like a good bargain, for who could be displeased with Pleasure? Yet, and this is the truly inexplicable thing, Pleasure turned out to be just as practically unattainable as the Common Good. So where have we gotten now? So at long last, I believed that I have found a true and practicable philosophy in the Avoidance of Pain— which, I suppose, is what people really mean by the Maximization of Pleasure, unless they are incorrigible utopians.

    Thus I carefully searched out all the great thinkers of the world, hoping to find the collective wisdom on Pain Avoidance. But now I discovered something ghastly shocking. I have been told over and over again, you see, that Philosophy is the common man’s science. Yet, when I studied the philosophers, I found that what THEY mean by pain avoidance, is entirely different than what WE mean by that term. It’s like THEY are on a totally different planet while you, the average, feeling human being, are stuck here on Earth.

    You see, when those treacherous Philosophers teach about pain and its avoidance, it may initially sound like they are talking about the real thing. But at base they only talking about some distant, abstract, hypothetical, and unrealized pain (as if such like is “pain” in any plain sense at all)— like consequences, or even Hell. And here, the common sense of the common man has been let down. What the common man wants, or at least what I want, is to avoid IMMEDIATE pain, the kind that’s happening NOW. And you will be surprised to learn that from Plato to Wittgenstein, nothing has been written about this urgent and pressing problem.

    Nothing, and I mean nothing. This is a grievous defect, don’t you think? At best, we have a misunderstanding of words— a poorly appropriated technical term; at worst, a massive conspiracy. But we don’t get anywhere by dwelling on the past! Where to start? Perhaps it is wise to begin with a particular pain, like public social embarrassment. Once we have solved the easy problems we can work our way up to the biggies like credit card debt and such. But how will we get the best minds together for this program, and who will know about us? We must act fast. Just think of all the millions of people around the world who are in true, immediate pain at this very hour: isn’t there not a moment to lose? Perhaps, it will be necessary to organize a giant march on Washington, DC with banners proclaiming “AVOID PAIN TODAY!”

    A Starry-Eyed Idealist Who Won’t Settle For Defeat

    • That is just what Shakyamuni Buddha was working on, relieving people’s suffering. By suffering, he meant the major sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death. In other words, pain. He taught the lotus sutra on how to overcome suffering in this lifetime.

  12. W. Voreine says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJdVnOOL1p8 “as scarring as it is”. You need to do a little healing though.

  13. Dr. Boli says:

    Dr. Boli is wondering whether he might perhaps have wandered into someone else’s comment thread by mistake.

  14. Whatshername says:

    Well, this vile piece of dreck guarantees that I will never visit this blog again. I guess Dr. Boli must have thought that Khmer Rouge was a real gas.

  1. […] a reader calling herself “Whatsername” appends this comment to our history of the Confederate […]

  2. […] we turn to one C. Simon, whose query is too long to be reprinted here, but may be read in full here. To summarize, our correspondent seems to find existing philosophical systems inadequate as means […]

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