List of U.S. state and territory mottos

Last updated
Eureka, the motto of California on its state seal Seal of California.svg
Eureka , the motto of California on its state seal
Nil sine numine, the motto of Colorado on its state seal Seal of Colorado.svg
Nil sine numine , the motto of Colorado on its state seal
In God We Trust, the motto of Florida on its state seal Seal of Florida.svg
In God We Trust, the motto of Florida on its state seal
Ua Mau ke Ea o ka `Aina i ka Pono, the motto of Hawaii on its state quarter 2008 HI Proof.png
Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono , the motto of Hawaii on its state quarter
Esto perpetua, the motto of Idaho on its state quarter 2007 ID Proof Rev.png
Esto perpetua , the motto of Idaho on its state quarter
Crossroads of America, the motto of Indiana on its state quarter 2002 IN Proof.png
Crossroads of America, the motto of Indiana on its state quarter
Ad astra per aspera, the motto of Kansas on its state seal Seal of Kansas.svg
Ad astra per aspera, the motto of Kansas on its state seal
Live free or die, the motto of New Hampshire on its state quarter 2000 NH Proof.png
Live free or die, the motto of New Hampshire on its state quarter
South Carolina has two state mottos Seal of South Carolina.svg
South Carolina has two state mottos
Freedom and Unity, the motto of Vermont on its state quarter 2001 VT Proof.png
Freedom and Unity, the motto of Vermont on its state quarter

All of the United States' 50 states have a state motto, as do the District of Columbia, and 3 U.S. territories. A motto is a phrase intended to formally describe the general motivation or intention of an organization. State mottos can sometimes be found on state seals or state flags. Some states have officially designated a state motto by an act of the state legislature, whereas other states have the motto only as an element of their seals. The motto of the United States itself is In God We Trust , proclaimed by Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. [1] The motto E Pluribus Unum (Latin for "One from many") was approved for use on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782, but was never adopted as the national motto through legislative action.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.

Motto Short sentence expressing a motivation

A motto is a maxim: a phrase meant to formally summarize the general motivation or intention of an individual, family, social group or organization. Mottos are usually found predominantly in written form, and may stem from long traditions of social foundations, or from significant events, such as a civil war or a revolution. A motto may be in any language, but Latin has been widely used, especially in the Western world.


South Carolina has two official mottos, both of which are in Latin. [2] Kentucky, North Dakota, and Vermont also have two mottos, one in Latin and the other in English. [3] [4] All other states and territories have only one motto, except for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which do not have any mottos. [5] [6] English and Latin are the most-used languages for state mottos, each used by 25 states and territories. Seven states and territories use another language, of which each language is only used once. Eight states and two territories have their mottos on their state quarter; thirty-eight states and four territories have their mottos on their state seals.

South Carolina U.S. state in the United States

South Carolina is a state in the Southeastern United States and the easternmost of the Deep South. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest by Georgia across the Savannah River.

Kentucky American state

Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Although styled as the "State of Kentucky" in the law creating it,, Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth. Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky split from it and became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States.

North Dakota U.S. state in the United States

North Dakota is a U.S. state in the midwestern and northern regions of the United States. It is the nineteenth largest in area, the fourth smallest by population, and the fourth most sparsely populated of the 50 states. North Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889, along with its neighboring state, South Dakota. Its capital is Bismarck, and its largest city is Fargo.

The dates given are, where possible, the earliest date that the motto was used in an official sense. Some state mottos are not official but are on the official state seal; in these cases the adoption date of the seal is given. The earliest use of a current motto is that of Puerto Rico, Johannes est nomen ejus, granted to the island by the Spanish in 1511. [7]

Puerto Rico Unincorporated territory of the United States

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and briefly called Porto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Miami, Florida.

State, federal district and territory mottos

federal district
or territory
MottoEnglish translationLanguageDateRef.
Flag of Alabama.svg  Alabama Audemus jura nostra defendere We dare defend our rights! Latin 1923 [8]
Flag of Alaska.svg  Alaska North to the Future English 1967 [9]
Flag of American Samoa.svg  American Samoa Samoa, Muamua Le Atua Samoa, let God be first Samoan 1973 [10]
Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona Ditat Deus God enriches Latin 1863 [11] [12]
Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas Regnat populus The people rule Latin 1907 [13] [N 1]
Flag of California.svg  California Eureka (Εὕρηκα)I have found it Greek 1849 [14] [N 2]
Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado Nil sine numine Nothing without providence. Latin November 6, 1861 [15]
Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut Qui transtulit sustinet He who transplanted sustains Latin October 9, 1662 [16]
Flag of Delaware.svg  Delaware Liberty and Independence English 1847 [17]
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg  District of Columbia Justitia OmnibusJustice for All Latin August 3, 1871 [18]
Flag of Florida.svg  Florida In God We Trust English 1868 [19] [N 3]
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg  Georgia Wisdom, Justice, Moderation English 1798 [21] [22]
Flag of Guam.svg  Guam [5]
Flag of Hawaii.svg  Hawaii Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. Hawaiian July 31, 1843 [23] [24] [N 4]
Flag of Idaho.svg  Idaho Esto perpetua Let it be perpetual Latin 1890 [25]
Flag of Illinois.svg  Illinois State sovereignty, national union English 1819 [26]
Flag of Indiana.svg  Indiana The Crossroads of America English 1937 [27]
Flag of Iowa.svg  Iowa Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain English 1847 [28]
Flag of Kansas.svg  Kansas Ad astra per aspera To the stars through difficulties Latin 1861 [29]
Flag of Kentucky.svg  Kentucky United we stand, divided we fall
Deo gratiam habeamus

Let us be grateful to God
Flag of Louisiana.svg  Louisiana Union, justice, confidence English 1902 [30]
Flag of Maine.svg  Maine Dirigo I lead Latin 1820 [31]
Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland Fatti maschii, parole femine Manly deeds, womanly words Italian 1874 [32] [33]
Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty Latin 1775 [34]
Flag of Michigan.svg  Michigan Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you Latin June 2, 1835 [35] [36]
Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota L'étoile du Nord The star of the North French 1861 [37] [N 5]
Flag of Mississippi.svg  Mississippi Virtute et armis By valor and arms Latin February 7, 1894 [38]
Flag of Missouri.svg  Missouri Salus populi suprema lex esto Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law Latin January 11, 1822 [39]
Flag of Montana.svg  Montana Oro y plataGold and silver Spanish February 9, 1865 [40]
Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska Equality before the law English 1867 [41]
Flag of Nevada.svg  Nevada All For Our Country English February 24, 1866 [42] [N 6]
Flag of New Hampshire.svg  New Hampshire Live Free or Die English 1945 [43]
Flag of New Jersey.svg  New Jersey Liberty and prosperity English March 26, 1928 [44]
Flag of New Mexico.svg  New Mexico Crescit eundo It grows as it goes Latin 1887 [45] [N 7]
Flag of New York.svg  New York Excelsior Ever upward Latin 1778 [46]
Flag of North Carolina.svg  North Carolina Esse quam videri To be, rather than to seem Latin 1893 [47]
Flag of North Dakota.svg   North Dakota Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable
Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit

One sows for the benefit of another age
January 3, 1863
March 11, 2011
[48] [49]
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg  Northern Mariana Islands [6]
Flag of Ohio.svg  Ohio With God, all things are possible English October 1, 1959 [51] [N 8]
Flag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma Labor omnia vincit Labor conquers all things Latin March 10, 1893 [53] [N 9]
Flag of Oregon.svg  Oregon Alis volat propriis She flies with her own wings Latin 1854 [56] [N 10]
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania Virtue, liberty, and independence English 1875 [57]
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg  Puerto Rico Joannes Est Nomen Ejus John is his name Latin 1511 [7] [58] [N 11]
Flag of Rhode Island.svg  Rhode Island Hope English May 4, 1664 [59]
Flag of South Carolina.svg  South Carolina Dum spiro spero
Animis opibusque parati
While I breathe, I hope
Ready in soul and resource
Latin May 22, 1777 [2]
Flag of South Dakota.svg  South Dakota Under God the people rule English 1885 [60]
Flag of Tennessee.svg  Tennessee Agriculture and Commerce English May 24, 1802 [61] [N 12]
Flag of Texas.svg  Texas Friendship English 1930 [62]
Flag of Utah.svg  Utah Industry English May 3, 1896 [63] [N 13]
Flag of Vermont.svg  Vermont Freedom and Unity
Stella quarta decima fulgeat

May the fourteenth star shine bright
February 20, 1779
April 10, 2015
[65] [66] [67]
Flag of Virginia.svg  Virginia Sic semper tyrannis Thus always to tyrants Latin 1776 [68]
Flag of the United States Virgin Islands.svg  Virgin Islands United in Pride and Hope English January 1, 1991 [69]
Flag of Washington.svg  Washington Al-ki or AlkiBy and by Chinook Jargon [70] [N 14]
Flag of West Virginia.svg  West Virginia Montani semper liberi Mountaineers are always free Latin September 26, 1863 [71]
Flag of Wisconsin.svg  Wisconsin Forward English 1851 [72]
Flag of Wyoming.svg  Wyoming Equal Rights English 1893 [73]

See also

United States national motto

The modern motto of the United States of America, as established in a 1956 law signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is "In God we trust". The phrase first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864.


  1. The motto was originally designated as Regnant populi in 1864. It was changed to Regnat populus in 1907. [13]
  2. Eureka first appeared on the state seal in 1849. It was designated the official motto in 1963. [14]
  3. "In God We Trust" first appeared on the state seal in 1868. It was designated the official motto in 2006. [19] [20]
  4. The motto of Hawaii was first used by King Kamehameha III in 1843, after his restoration. In May 1845 it first appeared on the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It was made the official motto of the State of Hawaii on May 1, 1959. [24]
  5. The unofficial motto of the Minnesota Territory was Quae sursum volo videre, I long to see what is beyond, chosen in 1849. [37]
  6. The unofficial motto of the Nevada Territory was Volens et Potens, Willing and Able, which was on the territorial seal approved on November 29, 1861. This was changed to the current motto after statehood. [42]
  7. Crescit eundo was added to the territorial seal in 1882. Ths change was officially adopted by the legislature in 1887. [45]
  8. From 1866 to 1868, the motto Imperium in Imperio (Latin for "Empire within an Empire") appeared on the state seal. [52]
  9. Labor omnia vincit was on the territorial seal of 1893. [54] It was specified as a feature of the seal in the 1907 State Constitution. [55]
  10. The motto of Oregon was "The Union" from 1957 until 1987, when the original 1854 motto of Alis volat propriis was restored. [56]
  11. The Spanish Crown gave Puerto Rico its coat of arms in 1511. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico officially adopted it on March 9, 1905. [7]
  12. The words "Agriculture" and "Commerce" appeared on the first state seal of 1802. "Agriculture and Commerce" was made the official state motto in 1987. [61]
  13. "Industry" first appeared on the state seal of 1896. It was designated the official motto on March 4, 1959. [64]
  14. The motto of Washington is the only one to be fully unofficial. It is neither on the seal nor designated by the state legislature, but was present on the territorial seal. [70]

Related Research Articles

Flags of the U.S. states and territories Wikimedia list article

The flags of the U.S. states, territories, and the District of Columbia exhibit a variety of regional influences and local histories, as well as different styles and design principles. Nonetheless, the majority of the states' flags share the same design pattern consisting of the state seal superimposed on a monochrome background, commonly a shade of blue.

The following are lists of U.S. state, district, and territorial symbols as recognized by the state legislatures, territorial legislatures, or tradition. Some, such as flags, seals, and birds have been created or chosen by all U.S. polities, while others, such as state crustaceans, state mushrooms, and state toys have been chosen by only a few.

Coat of arms of Puerto Rico Official government emblem of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico

The coat of arms of Puerto Rico was first granted by the Spanish Crown in 1511, making it the oldest heraldic achievement still currently in use in the Americas. The territory was ceded by Spain to the United States in accordance to the peace treaty that ended the Spanish–American War in 1899, after which two interim arms were adopted briefly. A law was passed in 1905 that re-established the historical armorial bearings as the arms of the territory; after numerous investigations and amendments, the current version was adopted in 1976.

Seal of Maryland Official government emblem of the U.S. state of Maryland

The Great Seal of the State of Maryland is the official government emblem of the U.S. state of Maryland. Its official service is to authenticate acts by the General Assembly of Maryland, but it is also used for display purposes at most state buildings. Although the state seal has been changed in design several times throughout history, the current model represents the reverse side of the original seal.

Secretary of state (U.S. state government) official in the state governments of the United States

Secretary of state is an official in the state governments of 47 of the 50 states of the United States, as well as Puerto Rico and other U.S. possessions. In Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, this official is called the secretary of the commonwealth. In states that have one, the secretary of state is the chief clerk of the state, and is often the primary custodian of important state records. In the states of Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah, there is no secretary of state; in those states many duties that a secretary of state might normally execute fall within the domain of the lieutenant governor. Like the lieutenant governor, in most states the secretary of state is in the line of succession to succeed the governor, in most cases immediately behind the lieutenant governor. In three states with no lieutenant governor as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the secretary of state is first in the line of succession in the event of a gubernatorial vacancy.

District of Columbia and United States Territories quarters Series of U.S. coins

The District of Columbia and United States Territories quarters were a series of quarters minted for one-year by the United States Mint in 2009 to honor the District of Columbia and the unincorporated United States insular areas of Puerto Rico, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The islands commonly grouped together as the United States Minor Outlying Islands were not featured, as the law defined the word "territory" as being limited to the areas mentioned above. They followed the completion of the 50 State Quarters Program. The coins used the same George Washington obverse as with the quarters of the previous 10 years. The reverse of the quarters featured a design selected by the Mint depicting the federal district and each territory. Unlike on the 50 State quarters, the motto "E Pluribus Unum" preceded and was the same size as the mint date on the reverse.


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  5. 1 2 Shearer 24
  6. 1 2 Shearer 23
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Works cited
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