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Ball Top Finial - Obama A "More Perfect Union".

Sub-collection: U.S. Political

In the election of 1840 the Democratic President Martin Van Buren faced the Whig party candidate, William Henry Harrison. Harrison, a patrician and soldier, was presented to the people as 'Old Tippecanoe', who had been born in a log cabin and drank hard cider like common folk. In an appeal to emotional and patriotic issues, national politics were ignored. Harrison's campaign was the first to make wide use of the US flag in his party's successful run for the presidency.

Noting that success, the United States flag has figured largely in every presidential campaign's decor since then and the election of 2008 was no exception. Here the Democratic candidate Senator Barrack H. Obama faced Republican opponent Senator John McCain.

Senator Obama was bi-racial, the son of a Caucasian mother from Kansas and an African father from Kenya, he launched his campaign in early 2007 to be the Democratic Partys 2008 presidential nominee. His selection marked the first time a major American political party had chosen an American of African descent.

In March 2008, the American news media began examining the sermons of Obama's long-time pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago, Il, in which Wright denounced the United States as racist and accused the government of crimes against people of color. Wright had said, among other things, "God damn America" for its racism and "for killing innocent people."

Candidate Obama, responding to the growing attention paid to Wright's controversial remarks began distancing himself from Wright, even removing him as a campaign staffer. However, Obama felt that he had failed to sufficiently address and explain the context of his relationship with Reverend Wright, and began writing a speech that eventually became "A More Perfect Union." He would later say that as he wrote the speech, he tried to ensure that his white mother, Ann Dunham, would have endorsed its sentiments.

"A More Perfect Union" was delivered by Barrack Obama on 18 March 2008 before an audience at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA. Obama couched his remarks in terms of the broader issue of race in the United States, and took his title from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States; addressing racial tensions, privilege, inequality, African American anger and White resentment. He closed with a plea to move beyond America's "racial stalemate" and address common social problems.

The speech was delivered from a rostrum on a podium set up in the auditorium of the Constitution Center. On the podium behind the rostrum were eight United States flags arranged four on either side of Senator Obama. This is done so that no matter what angle a candidate was photographed, a flag or a portion of a flag will appear in the frame with him.

The flags selected were parade or presentation flag sets consisting of: a 3x5 nylon US flag with embroidered stars, sewn stripes and fringed with 2 golden yellow rayon fringe in three sides; they were mounted on a 1.25 diameter x 8 hardwood pole topped with a gold wash plastic ball finial and inserted into a gold wash plastic floor stand.

There is an adage in the American flag business about flags in political campaigns stemming from the election of 1984; Democrats rent and Republicans buy. Appropriately then, these flags did not belong to the Democratic Party, the Obama Campaign or the Constitution Center; instead, they were rented from a Philadelphia flag company for the event.

Ball top finials are often used to top poles and staffs when potential controversy which might arise from an eagle or spear ornament, which is to be avoided.

This ball top finial golden yellow rayon topped the flag staff (ZFC3243) on which was a cord & tassel set (ZFC3245) was mounted supporting a US flag (ZFC3242) marked inside the bottom of the sleeve in black ink Obama #2, and is reported to be the flag on Obamas immediate left. It was acquired directly from the Humphreys Flag Co. of Philadelphia, PA.

A companion piece to ZFC 3242, ZFC 3243 and ZFC 3244 and ZFC 3246

ZFC Significant Flag

• Made by Annin & Co., Roseland, NJ, 2008.
• Acquired by Humphreys Flag Co. Philadelphia, PA.
• Rented to Obama Campaign, 2008
• Acquired by Purchase by Zaricor Flag Co., 2008.

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 3
Length of Fly 3


Is it framed? no


Are there stars on obverse? no
Are there stars on reverse? no


Has a Blood Stripe? no


Fabric Plastic


Method of Attachment NONE


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Displayable yes


Date 2008