|Great Seal of the State of Georgia|
Historical coat of arms (1876)
|Armiger||State of Georgia|
|Adopted||1777 (original) 1914 (current)|
|Motto||State of Georgia, 1776 (obverse) Agriculture and Commerce, 1776 (reverse)|
The Great Seal of the State of Georgia is a device that has historically been used to authenticate government documents executed by the state of Georgia.The first great seal of the state was specified in the State Constitution of 1777, and its current form was adopted in 1799 with alterations in 1914. Its specifications are currently spelled out by statute.
The original seal from 1777 was specified as such: "The great seal of this State shall have the following device: on one side of a scroll, whereon shall be engraved “The Constitution of the State of Georgia;” and the motto “Pro bono publico.” On the other side, an elegant house, and other buildings, fields of corn, and meadows covered with sheep and cattle; a river running through the same, with a ship under full sail, and the motto, “Deus nobis haec otia fecit.”
On February 8, 1799 an Act of the Legislature stated the seal as "On the one side a view of the seashore with a ship bearing the flag of the United States, riding near a wharf, receiving aboard hogsheads of tobacco and bales of cotton, emblematic of the exports of this State; at a small distance a boat landing from the interior of the State with hogsheads etc., on board representing her internal traffic; in the back part of the same side, a man in the act of ploughing; and at a small distance a flock of sheep in different postures shaded by a flourishing tree, the motto on this side agriculture and commerce, 1799. That the other side contain three pillars supporting an arch, with the word Con stitution, engraven within the same, emblematic of the Constitution supported by three departments of the government, viz.: the legislative, judicial and executive, the first pillar to have engraven on its base, wisdom; the second justice; and the third, moderation; on the right of the last pillar a man standing with a drawn sword, representing the aid of the military in defense of the Constitution; the motto, State of Georgia, 1799".
The obverse (front) of the seal is centered on the coat of arms of the state: an arch with three columns, the arch symbolizing the state's Constitution and the columns representing the three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial). The words of the official state motto, "Wisdom, Justice, Moderation," are inscribed on scrolls that are wrapped around the columns. A member of the Georgia Militia stands between the second and third columns, holding a drawn sword in his right hand, representing the citizen/soldier's defense of the state's Constitution.A border surrounds the coat of arms, and the motto "State of Georgia, 1776" is inscribed outside the arms.
The reverse (back) of the seal contains an image of Georgia's coast, with a ship (bearing the American flag) arriving to take aboard tobacco and cotton, symbolizing Georgia's export trade. A second, smaller boat represents the state's "internal traffic." Towards the left of the image, there is a man plowing and a flock of sheep. The motto "Agriculture and Commerce, 1776" is inscribed around the outside of the image.
The dates listed on the obverse and reverse of the seal were originally 1799. The dates were changed by the Georgia state legislature in 1914 to reflect the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1902, the Georgia legislature mandated that the coat of arms (the central portion of the obverse) be included in the state flag of Georgia. Either the coat of arms or the state seal has appeared on every state flag since that date.
By law, the Secretary of State is the official custodian of the Great Seal, which is attached to official papers by executive order of the Governor. This custodianship has led to some controversies:
From 1868 to 1871, during the era of Reconstruction, the Great Seal was not used for state business.It had been hidden under the home of wartime Secretary of State Nathan C. Barnett, to prevent its use by Federal forces. The Reconstruction government, having failed to locate the official seal, had a duplicate seal fabricated. The duplicate was a perfect match for the original, except for one small detail: the soldier held his sword in his left hand. The era of Reconstruction government in Georgia became known as the "Period of the False Seal". In 1872, when Georgians re-took control of the government, Barnett (who had been re-elected by that point) unearthed the original seal and returned it to the Capitol.
In December 1946, Governor-elect Eugene Talmadge died before assuming office. Talmadge's son, Herman, was appointed governor by the State Legislature. This was challenged by the Lieutenant Governor-elect Melvin Thompson, who maintained that the state constitution authorized him to assume the office upon the death of the governor. Outgoing governor Ellis Arnall announced that he would not relinquish the office until it was clear who the new governor was. The political turmoil that ensued became known as the "Three Governors Controversy". In January 1947, while all three governors occupied different portions of the State Capitol, Secretary of State Ben W. Fortson, Jr., took the seal and hid it.This prevented any of the claimants to the governorship from executing any business until the Supreme Court of Georgia could make a ruling on the rightful winner. Thompson was eventually declared "acting governor" until a special election could be held to fill the remainder of the original term. Herman Talmadge won the special election and served out the remaining portion of his father's term.
In 1857, the University of Georgia constructed a cast iron representation of the architectural elements featured on the obverse of the Great Seal. It stands at the north entrance of the campus, and has become known as The Arch.Fashioned from existing material, The Arch is a representation but not an exact replica of the elements of the Seal. Originally serving both symbolic and practical functions, it was connected to a barrier which kept cows from roaming over parts of the campus, and was initially known as The Gate. Today, The Arch is an important symbol of the University. According to legend, it is bad luck for freshmen (or, in some versions, any undergraduate student) to walk under the arch. Legend suggests that any student walking through the arch prematurely will never graduate.
The Great Seal is a principal national symbol of the United States. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself, which is kept by the United States Secretary of State, and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The obverse of the Great Seal depicts the national coat of arms of the United States.
The current flag of Georgia was adopted on May 8, 2003. The flag bears three stripes consisting of red-white-red, featuring a blue canton containing a ring of 13 white stars encompassing the state's coat of arms in gold. In the coat of arms, the arch symbolizes the state's constitution while the pillars represent the three branches of government. The words of the state motto, "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation", are wrapped around the pillars, guarded by a male figure dressed in colonial attire from the American Revolutionary War. Within the arms, a sword is drawn to represent the defense of the state's constitution with an additional motto, In God We Trust, featured below these elements. The ring of stars that encompass the state's coat of arms represents Georgia as one of the original Thirteen Colonies. The design principle is based on the First National Flag of the Confederacy, which was nicknamed the Stars and Bars. It is one of three U.S. state flags to feature the words "In God We Trust", with the other two being those of Florida and Mississippi.
The governor of Georgia is the head of the executive branch of Georgia's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor also has a duty to enforce state laws, the power to either veto or approve bills passed by the Georgia Legislature, and the power to convene the legislature. The current governor is Republican Brian Kemp, who assumed office on January 14, 2019.
The flag of the State of Vermont consists of the coat of arms and motto of Vermont on a rectangular blue background. The Vermont General Assembly adopted the current flag on June 1, 1923.
The flag of West Virginia is the official flag of the U.S. state of West Virginia and was officially adopted by the West Virginia Legislature on March 7, 1962. The present flag consists of a pure white field bordered by a blue stripe with the coat of arms of West Virginia in the center, wreathed by Rhododendron maximum and topped by an unfurled red ribbon reading, "State of West Virginia." It is the only state flag to bear crossing rifles, meant to illustrate the importance of the state's fight for liberty during the Civil War.
The coat of arms of the Russian Federation derives from the earlier coat of arms of the Russian Empire which was abolished with the Russian Revolution in 1917. Though modified more than once since the reign of Ivan III (1462–1505), the current coat of arms is directly derived from its medieval original, with the double-headed eagle having Byzantine and earlier antecedents from long before the emergence of any Russian state. The general tincture corresponds to the early fifteenth-century standard. The shape of the eagle can be traced back to the reign of Peter the Great (1682–1725), although the eagle charge on the present coat of arms is golden rather than the traditional, imperial black.
The Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia is the official seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a U.S. state. The state flag of Virginia consists of the obverse of the seal against a blue background. A state flag was first adopted at the beginning of the American Civil War in April 1861, readopted in 1912, and standardized by the General Assembly in February 1950. The current version is the only U.S. state flag depicting nudity: the standing allegorical figure of virtue has an exposed breast in the manner of classical depictions of Amazons. She has just vanquished tyranny, who is symbolized by the fallen king. "So always tyrants," it means. The flag may be decorated with a white fringe along the fly edge; this is usually done when the flag is displayed indoors.
The Great Seal of the State of Michigan depicts the coat of arms of the U.S. state of Michigan on a light blue field. On the dark blue shield the Sun rises over a lake and peninsula, a man holding a long gun with a raised hand represents peace and the ability to defend his rights. The elk and moose are symbols of Michigan, while the bald eagle represents the United States.
The Great Seal of the State of Vermont is the official seal of the U.S. state of Vermont, used to emboss and authenticate official documents. It was designed by Ira Allen, brother of Ethan Allen and one of the state's founders.
The great seal of the state of Delaware was first adopted on January 17, 1777, with the current version being adopted April 29, 2004. It contains the state coat of arms surrounded by an inscription.
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.
The Seal of the State of Texas was adopted through the 1845 Texas Constitution, and was based on the seal of the Republic of Texas, which dates from January 25, 1839.
The Great Seal of the State of Ohio is the official insignia of the U.S. state of Ohio. All governmental offices, agencies, and courts in Ohio use variations of the state seal. Its primary feature is a circular coat of arms that depicts a sunrise in Chillicothe, Ohio's first capital, along with symbols of the state's origins. The seal sometimes appears with the state motto, "With God, all things are possible".
The Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the state seal for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. According to the state's website, the seal was authorized by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1791, and is "a symbol of authenticity which verifies that proclamations, commissions and other papers of state are legal and official."
The Great Seal of the State of West Virginia was adopted in September 1863. The obverse center of the seal contains a boulder that has been inscribed June 20, 1863, the date West Virginia became a state. In front of the boulder lie two crossed rifles and a liberty cap as a symbol of the state's fight for liberty. The two men on either side of the boulder represent agriculture and industry. On the left stands a farmer with an ax and plow before a cornstalk. On the other side stands a miner with a pickax, and behind him an anvil and sledge hammer. The outer ring contains the text "State of West Virginia" and the state's motto "Montani Semper Liberi",. The reverse of the seal, also called the lesser seal, is the official seal of the Governor. Its motto reads "Libertas E Fidelitate".
The Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts contains the coat of arms of Massachusetts. The coat of arms is encircled by the Latin text "Sigillum Reipublicæ Massachusettensis". The Massachusetts Constitution designates the form of government a "commonwealth," for which Respublica is the correct Latin term. The Seal uses as its central element the Coat of Arms of Massachusetts. An official emblem of the State, the Coat of Arms was adopted by the Legislature in 1775, and then reaffirmed by Governor John Hancock and his Council on December 13, 1780. The present rendition of the seal was drawn by resident-artist Edmund H. Garrett, and was adopted by the state in 1900. While the inscription around the seal is officially in Latin, a variant with "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" in English is also sometimes used.
The coat of arms of Alabama depicts a shield upon which is carried the symbols of the five nations which have at various times held sovereignty over a part or the whole of what is now Alabama. These are the ancient coat of arms of France, the ancient coat of arms of Crown of Castile for Spain, the Union Flag of the United Kingdom and the battle flag of the Confederate States of America. On an escutcheon of pretence is borne the shield of the United States. The crest of the coat represents a ship which brought the French colonists who established the first permanent European settlements in the state. Below is the state motto: Audemus jura nostra defendere, meaning "We dare defend our rights."
Benjamin Wynn Fortson Jr. was a Secretary of State of Georgia. After being selected by Ellis Arnall, the governor in 1946, Fortson kept his title as secretary until 1979, making him the longest-running secretary in Georgia history.
The coat of arms of Connecticut is an official emblem of the state of Connecticut, alongside the seal and state flag. The General Assembly of Connecticut adopted a design for the official arms of the state on March 24, 1931, which it ordered to be drawn and filed with the Secretary of the State.
The coats of arms of the U.S. states are coats of arms, adopted by those states that have chosen, that are an official symbol of the state, alongside their seal. Eighteen states have officially adopted coats of arms. The former independent Republic of Texas and Kingdom of Hawaii each had a separate national coat of arms, which are no longer used.