The official seal of the United States of America is the Great Seal of the United States of America. The obverse design is the United States coat of arms—an official insignia, mark of identity, and symbol of government power. On the reverse is an incomplete pyramid with an eye encased in a triangle at the top. This is meant to represent the vision of George Washington, who wanted the country's symbols to be worthy of its destiny.
Great Seal designs have changed over time. The original seal was designed by Charles Thomson in 1782 and features the motto Nullius in verto (Latin for "no one into whom they do not enter"). This was later replaced by E Pluribus Unum ("out of many, one"). The current reverse design was adopted in 1872 after being suggested by President Grant. It replaces the pyramid on the back of the dollar with the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
In addition to its use on all legal documents issued by the federal government, the seal is also used as a trademark for quality products. Some examples are: Kellogg's cereal; Ford cars; and Levi's jeans.
The Great Seal is shown in various forms throughout U.S. history. From 1782-1870, it was always designed by a public artist (until Thomas Jefferson took up the task himself).
The words Annuit Coeptis appear above this ("He Has Favored Our Undertaking").
It all began in 1782 when Alexander Hamilton, Henry Lee, and John Hancock designed the first version of the Great Seal. It was meant to replace the existing seal which had been in use since 1638. The new seal was designed with three parts: the obverse, which faces the public; the reverse, which faces the president; and the midsection, which connects the two.
On the obverse is a stylized representation of the American continent flanked by four stars representing the states. Above the continent is the Declaration of Independence with its famous opening line "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Below the continent is the Constitution with its own famous opening line "We the People."
In the middle is the only part of the original seal that remains today: the eagle holding a shield in its talons. This represents the strength of America's government as well as its protection of citizens' rights. Without the eagle, there would be no seal because it is its role to protect our values by being an icon for our country.
On the reverse is an unfinished pyramid with an eye at the top.
The Great Seal's Obverse The following components and interpretations of the Great Seal symbols may be found on the obverse side of the seal: The Coat of Arms: The top of the seal has a cluster of thirteen white stars on a blue field, representing the nation's initial thirteen states. In the center is an image of the American eagle, which holds an olive branch in its right claw and a bundle of arrows in its left claw. A red scroll with "E Pluribus Unum" (out of many, one) is attached to the back of the shield.
The motto reads: "Annuit Coeptis, Flores Sacerdotii, Firma Dei Genetrix, Eiusque Manus." It means "He has favored our efforts, the flowers of the priestly office, the secure foundation of his divine genius, and her hand has closed his." This refers to the fact that the first Congress, which had the power to create departments or offices within the government, did not do so until after the death of George Washington. The President then took over these duties himself until they were established by law upon the ratification of the Constitution.
The words "United States of America" appear below the coat of arms. They are arranged in alphabetical order, with "A" being the first letter in each state's name. Delaware became the first state to join the Union.
The United States Great Seal is a symbol of our nation's independence and self-government. The design has an eagle holding a scroll with the motto E Pluribus Unum in its beak, an olive branch in one claw, a symbol of peace, and thirteen arrows in the other claw, a symbol of battle. The American flag also plays an important role in the design of the seal. It represents both our national identity and our connection to the rest of the world.
In 1782, French artist Charles Pierre L'Enfant designed the seal for the new federal city he was planning for Washington, D.C. After his death in 1754, Congress appointed French artist John Michael Vialart to continue the work on the Great Seal. In 1765, after two years of work by Vialart, Congress chose British artist Benjamin West to complete the project. West added the representation of the American continent and the stars and stripes to the seal.
That phrase was first used on a seal in 1801 by Peter Deslonde. He redesigned the seal to show a wreath of flowers around the image of a woman representing Liberty. This new version of the seal was used until 1913 when it was replaced by another design created by Deslonde.
The United States Great Seal, 1782. It can be found in official documents such as proclamations, warrants, treaties, and commissions of senior government authorities. It appears on coins, stamps, and other currency designs. It also appears on some uniforms, buildings, and vehicles.
The Great Seal was designed by Benjamin Franklin and adopted in 1782. It contains an image of Franklin standing with one foot on America and one foot on France while holding aloft a book and a glass of water. The inscription above the image reads "E Pluribus Unum." This means "Out of Many, One". In Latin, E pluribus unum means "Out of many, one." The illustration references Franklin's diplomatic efforts during the American Revolution. France had been an ally of Britain until the French and Indian War began in 1754; however, after losing this war, France became our first international friend.
Franklin originally wanted to use a picture of a globe as the main feature of the seal but wasn't allowed to because it was believed that including a map would undermine the power of the federal government. Instead, he came up with the idea of two nations joined together at peace instead. He also included a wreath because plants from every state in the union were being grown in a central garden at the time.
|Coat of arms of the United States|
|Blazon||Paleways of 13 pieces, argent and gules; a chief, azure|
|Supporter||A bald eagle proper displayed, bearing in its dexter talon an olive branch, in its sinister talon thirteen arrows, and in its beak a scroll bearing the motto|
|Motto||E pluribus unum “Out of many, one”|