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2021 US Code Title 4 – Flag and Seal, Seat of Government, and the States

Title 4 of the United States Code, often referred to as “Flag and Seal, Seat of Government, and the States,” is a collection of federal laws that govern various aspects of the nation’s symbols, government location, and states’ representation. These chapters are instrumental in maintaining the principles and traditions that shape the United States. In this article, we will delve into the key provisions of each chapter within Title 4, shedding light on their historical significance and contemporary relevance.

Chapter 1 – The Flag (Sections 1-10)

Section 1 – Flag; Stripes and Stars on: The flag of the United States shall have thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white, and a union consisting of white stars on a blue field, representing a new constellation.

This section lays out the fundamental design of the United States flag, with its 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies and the stars symbolizing the states’ unity.

Section 3 – Use of flag for advertising purposes; mutilation of flag: The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.

Section 3 emphasizes the respect and reverence due to the national flag, prohibiting its use for commercial purposes.

Section 6 – Time and occasions for display: It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, the flag may be displayed at all times if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

This section outlines guidelines for the proper display of the flag and highlights the importance of illumination when it is displayed after dark.

Chapter 2 – The Seal (Sections 41-42)

Section 41 – Seal of the United States: The seal heretofore used by the United States in Congress assembled is declared to be the seal of the United States.

This section affirms the use of the Great Seal of the United States as the official seal of the country, featuring the bald eagle and various symbolic elements.

Chapter 3 – Seat of the Government (Sections 71-73)

Section 71 – Seat of government: The District constituting the seat of government of the United States shall continue to be designated as the District of Columbia.

This section designates the District of Columbia as the nation’s capital, emphasizing its unique status as an independent entity.

Chapter 4 – The States (Sections 101-126)

Section 101 – Name and status of Washington, D.C.: The name of the State is “The State of Washington, D.C.”

Section 101 grants official recognition to the State of Washington, D.C., affirming its status as an integral part of the United States.

Section 121 – Segregation of District of Columbia National Guard: The District of Columbia National Guard shall not be counted against the authorized strength of the National Guard of the United States.

This section highlights the unique role of the District of Columbia National Guard in ensuring the security of the nation’s capital.

Chapter 5 – Official Territorial Papers (Sections 141-146)

Section 141 – Preparation of certain papers as official: All executive departments and agencies shall make such official papers available to the Archivist of the United States as he may require.

Section 141 underscores the importance of preserving and making official territorial papers available for historical and legal purposes.

Title 4 of the United States Code serves as a testament to the nation’s commitment to its symbols, government functions, and states. These chapters not only preserve the rich history and traditions of the United States but also provide a framework for its continued governance and representation. It is a reminder of the principles that have guided the nation for centuries and continue to shape its identity today.


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