Posted by: Democratic Thinker | June 18, 2012

Great Seal—June 20, 1782

Great Seal of the United States

 
 
After years of study, the Congress finally adopts a Great Seal for the United States.


 
 
The escutcheon is borne on the breast of the American eagle, without any other supporters, to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own virtue.

GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Journals of Congress.
THURSDAY, June 20, 1782.

—————

On report of the Secretary, to whom were referred the several reports on the device for great seal, to take order:

THE device for an armorial atchievement, and reverse of a Great Seal for the United States in Congress assembled, is as follows:

ARMS.—Paleways, of thirteen pieces, argent and gules, a chief azure. The escutcheon on the breast of the American bald eagle, displayed proper, holding in his dexter talon an olive-branch, and in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper, and in his beak a scroll, inscribed with this motto: ‘E Pluribus Unum.’

For the CREST.—Over the head of the eagle, which appears above the escutcheon, a glory, Or, breaking through a cloud proper, and surrounding thirteen stars forming a constellation, argent on an azure field.

REVERSE.—A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith, an eye in a triangle, surrounded with a glory proper. Over the eye these words, ‘Annuit Cœptis.’ On the base of the pyramid, the numerical letters, MDCCLXXVL, and underneath the following motto: ‘Novus ordo Seclorum.’



REMARKS AND EXPLANATIONS.

The escutcheon is composed of the chief and pale, the two most honorable ordinaries. The pieces paly, represent the several States all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a chief, which unites the whole and represents Congress. The motto, alluding to this Union. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief, and the chief depends on that union, and the strength resulting from it, for its support, to denote the confederacy of the United States of America, and the preservation of their Union through Congress.

The colors of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; white, signifies purity and innocence; red, hardiness and valor; and blue, the color of the chief, signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The olive-branch and arrows denote the power of peace and war, which is exclusively vested in Congress. The constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among the sovereign powers. The escutcheon is borne on the breast of the American eagle, without any other supporters, to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own virtue.

REVERSE.—The pyramid signifies strength and duration. The eye over it, and the motto, allude to the many and signal interpositions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence; and the words under it signify the beginning of the new American era, which commences from that date.

Passed June 20, 1782.

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