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American History: Top Symbols Of The United States

Various icons represent each country, including a flag, flower, animal, and more; these symbols are important to the country and often hold deep historical meaning. As you begin looking at the many top symbols of the United States, ranging from the American Flag to the North American Bison, broaden your understanding of why each is important.

American History: Top Symbols of the United States

Bald Eagle

Why did the Founding Fathers select the bald eagle to represent our country? This eagle is native to America and represents independence, strength, and courage—each a value the Founding Fathers fought for when searching out ideals for the New World.

The bald eagle has represented America since June 20, 1782, shortly after we gained our independence from Britain. The Founding Fathers then incorporated this symbol into official documents, currency, flags, and more.


American Flag

The American flag is perhaps the most important symbol to our country, and over the years, it has gone through various changes. Though the Betsy Ross flag was one of the first to fly during the revolution, its design differs from the flag we know today.

The Betsy Ross flag depicts a circle of thirteen stars in the Union and thirteen red and white stripes in the field. Like today’s flag, this symbolized America—at the time, the colonies—and a star represented each colony. The modern-day flag differs, as the stars now represent the states. However, the thirteen stripes remain a reminder of our past.


Statue of Liberty

This gift from France recognized the alliance between France and America during the Revolutionary War, with various pieces of the monument symbolizing separate things. For example:

  • The chains at the statue’s feet represent freedom
  • The Roman goddess for liberty inspired the statue’s design
  • Her torch stands for liberty
  • The Roman numerals on her tablet translate to “July 4, 1776”

Additionally, Lady Liberty is an important icon in American culture because France gifted her to the US as a symbol of friendship after 100 years of freedom. Moreover, her torch stands for liberty because of fire’s symbolic meaning—it is representative of passion, hope, and knowledge.


North American Bison

While the bald eagle is the animal that comes to mind when most think of the United States, the North American Bison is our country’s National Mammal.

These beautiful mammals were nearly hunted to extinction at one point, but Theodore Roosevelt and other American Bison Society members saved the species. Yellowstone National Park served as a protected space for these animals. Because of the species’ resilience and history, it received official recognition as one of the top symbols of the United States.

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