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Gadsden Dont Tread On Me Vintage Men's Tee

Every year I like to do a new treatment of the old Gadsden “Dont Tread on Me” design. I’ve been doing it long before it was a Tea Party favorite. I think the first one I ever wore was an all over tee hand printed when I was a kid living outside of Madison, Wisconsin in the 80s.

I’ve always liked the Gadsden rattle snake because it represents, for lack of a better term, “non-aggressive strength.” The idea that someone can take care of their business if need be, but aren’t ever looking for a fight, always struck me as the way a civilized person should be.

For those into understanding the philosophical guts of what libertarianism is all about, that’s actually much of it. There’s different names for the idea, of course. Most are pretty clumsy, like “non-aggression principle” and “voluntaryism.” But they say the same thing: “Stay the hell out of my hair if not invited and everything will be copacetic.” Or, simply, “don’t tread on me.”

For this year’s version, I decided to go colonial. I wanted a new image that would look like something colonists would have seen coming from an old printing press. I have a pretty good collection of era printmaking images, so I decided to draw something that had the same feel.

  • 100% combed ringspun cotton
  • Supremely soft, superior quality jersey knit
  • 30 singles
  • Shoulder taping
  • Modern, slightly fitted shape
  • Thinner fabric, great for Summer and warm climates


Length 27½ 28½ 29½ 30½ 31½
Width 19 20½ 22 23½ 25

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