What does Don't Tread on Me mean?

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Metallica: Don't Tread on Me Meaning


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Song Released: 1991

Don't Tread on Me Lyrics

Liberty or death, what we so proudly hail
Once you provoke her, rattling of her tail
Never begins it, never, but once engaged...
Never surrenders, showing the fangs of rage

Don't tread on me

So be it
Threaten no more
To secure peace is...


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    Dec 3rd, 12:17pm report

    No one remembers that this song was written and recorded during the Gulf War. America was on a high, vets came home as heroes (unlike previously) We had just kicked Suddam Husseins ass, and left his forces limping like a kicked dog with tail between his legs back to Iraq. This song follows that sentiment. We kicked ass, and this was a celebration of it.


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    Sep 29th, 2017 9:20am report

    This composition simply and beautifully encompasses the description and meaning of the Gadsden flag. It very accurately and clearly describes the meaningful, symbolic use of the rattle snake, its current posture and the words "Don't Tread On Me". Contrary to some beliefs, it is NOT a flag representative of U.S. government. It is representative of "We The People" which are two separate entities. There is a lot of historical evidence that shows that a large number of revolutionary soldiers that were not attached to any formal Continental Army unit, flew this flag in battle during the American Revolution because having no formal unit crest, the Gadsden was the default "People's crest". Some factual evidence that points to this is its common use within the Sons of Liberty. A somewhat secret organization that supported American independence and acted to further its fruition. An important thing to remember about this, that has echoed through time and holds relevance still today, is that our government DID NOT come first. People like you and I formed the platform for "what we so proudly hail" and THEN developed the governing body that was/is meant to carry out the business of "we the people" since the entire nation can not convene on a daily basis to deliberate the country's business. We gather in our respective communities and vote for who will represent us in our governing body. This requires a great deal of faith and trust in those we elect. This flag is a reminder to elected officials and any other non-private based body, that we are not to be ignored, disrespected, misrepresented, underrepresented or otherwise mistreated, because we do have the capability of a deadly strike (open mouth, displaying fangs of a venomous species) and we are always ready to apply it if need be (coiled stance). Though not depicted as well in the flag, we all know snakes never close their eyes, symbolizing that we are always watching and aware of implications that affect us. The rattle, having three meanings in one, conveniently shows 13 segments that stand for each of the original 13 colonies. Rattle snakes' rattles never stop growing which translates to the understanding that the founders of the country knew that the nation would gain more states in its union, ever growing. Thirdly the rattle is meant to warn would be predators of its dangerous capabilities and its presence, as the rattle snake's nature is to preferably use its venom in subduing prey rather than in defense. The grass that the snake sits upon is said to represent the individuals' right to ownership of property and the right to defend it. It gives a basis for which the snake occupies a space of its own and is guarding. The words "Don't Tread On Me" is perhaps the most straight-forward portion of the flag. The meaning being if you step on me, I'll be forced to strike and you'll be in a bad way. Translating to the idea that we are not a helpless body (reference the 2nd amendment) that can be dictated or mistreated (tread or stepped upon) by any organization, government or outside entity. If you are a citizen of the United States, no matter race, creed, sex, gender, culture, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or favorite color, this flag represents YOU! It is important to know and carry on its meaning because it embodies the very structure upon which our nation stands upon. It is a reminder to all of us that although we are a peace loving people, none of us are complacent in our DUTY as Americans to not lose sight of the fact that WE are the boss. We dictate our destiny as a whole AND individually. And we not only have the right to defend, we have the capability to defend our inalienable right "to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." This matters to you as an American, regardless of your awareness of it, as much as the next breath you take. As much as the next beat your heart makes. And it matters as much today, as it did in 1776. Vive la Liberty!


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    Jun 5th, 2016 6:11pm report

    It's about Patriotism. Every single man who has been a Metallica member has been a big Republican. 'murica.


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    Feb 1st, 2015 2:39pm report

    i think, what they are saying is actually the opposite of what the chorus repeats ever again ... that to secure peace you should not hang around rattling, sticking a split tongue out and threaten others.


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    Apr 23rd, 2013 4:39am report

    It is based on the American marines motto/flag, "don't tread on me". On the flag it has a rattle snake in striking position (the same one on the cover of the black album) with the words below "don't tread on me"

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