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Liberty cap.

The liberty cap is of Phrygian origin. The Phrygians were a people front the shores of the Euxine Sea, and they conquered and took possession of the entire eastern part of Asia Minor. To distinguish themselves from the natives, the conquerors wore a close-fitting cap and had it stamped on their coins. The Romans took the fashion of wearing caps from the Phrygians, but they were only worn by freedmen. When a slave was set free, a red cap called the pileus was put on his head, and this was a token of his manumission. When Saturnius took the capitol in 263, he had a cap set up on the top of a spear as a promise of liberty to all [377] slaves who would join him. Marius used the same expedient to incite the slaves to take arms with him against Sylla. When Caesar was murdered, the conspirators carried a cap on a spear, as a token of the liberty of Rome, and a medal was struck with the same device on this occasion, which is still extant. The statue of the Goddess of Libertyon the Aventine Hill carried in her hand a cap as an emblem of freedom. In England the same symbol was adopted, and Britannia was pictured carrying the cap on a spear. It was first used in the United States as one of the devices on the flag of the Philadelphia Light-horse Guards, a company of militia organized some time prior to the Revolution. On Aug. 31, 1775, the committee of safety, at Philadelphia, passed a resolution providing a seal for the use of the board, “to be engraved with a cap of liberty and the motto, ‘This is my right, and I will defend it.’ ” During the French Revolution the Jacobins made much use of this emblem, and it is sometimes supposed that this country took it from France, but this idea is an erroneous one. The symbol was not used in France until 1790, whereas in this country it was not only used much earlier in the instances mentioned, but was also put on American coins in 1783. The Jacobin cap of France was red. The British liberty cap was blue with a white border. The American is blue with a border of gilt stars on white.

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