The Liberty Tree Flag (or Appeal to Heaven Flag) was one of the first flags used during the American Revolution. The flag features the Boston Liberty Tree against a white background and the words “An Appeal to Heaven”. This flag was designed to fly on cruisers commissioned by George Washington for use against the British Navy. To maintain Britain’s naval and trading advantage, laws were passed in North America to protect white pines for British shipbuilding. The Colonists relied on the white pine to build houses and tools. This law led to the Pine Tree Riot in 1772, which was one of the first acts of forceful protest against British policies. It occurred almost two years prior to the more well-known Boston Tea Party protest and three years before open hostilities began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Ever since then the White Pine became a symbol of liberty among the colonists.
The words “An Appeal to Heaven” are a reference to John Locke’s Two Treaties of Government which rejects the divine right of kings and “An Appeal to Heaven” has become synonymous with the right to revolution.
“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God” – Benjamin Franklin