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List of U.S. state mottos

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List of U.S. state mottos






All of the United States' 50 states have a state motto, as do the District of Columbia and three US territories. A motto is a phrase meant 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.

South Carolina has two official mottos, both of which are in Latin.[2] Kentucky and North Dakota also have two mottos, one in Latin and the other in English.[3] All other states and territories have only one motto, except Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which do not have any mottos.[4][5] English and Latin are the most-used languages for state mottos, used by 25 and 24 states and territories, respectively. 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.

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.[6]

State and territory mottos

State Motto English Translation Language Date Ref.
 Alabama Audemus jura nostra defendere We dare defend our rights Latin [7]
 Alaska North to the future English [8]
 American Samoa Samoa, Muamua Le Atua Samoa, let God be first Samoan [9]
 Arizona Ditat Deus God enriches Latin [10][11]
 Arkansas Regnat populus The people rule Latin [12][N 1]
 California Eureka (Εὕρηκα) I have found it Greek [13][N 2]
 Colorado Nil sine numine Nothing without the deity Latin [14]
 Connecticut Qui transtulit sustinet He who transplanted sustains Latin [15]
 Delaware Liberty and Independence English [16]
 District of Columbia Justitia Omnibus Justice for All Latin [17]
 Florida In God We Trust English [18][N 3]
 Georgia Wisdom, justice, and moderation English [20][21]
 Guam [4]
 Hawaii Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. Hawaiian [22][23][N 4]
 Idaho Esto perpetua Let it be perpetual Latin [24]
 Illinois State sovereignty, national union English [25]
 Indiana The Crossroads of America English [26]
 Iowa Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain English [27]
 Kansas Ad astra per aspera To the stars through difficulties Latin [28]
 Kentucky United we stand, divided we fall
Deo gratiam habeamus

Let us be grateful to God
English
Latin

2002
[3]
 Louisiana Union, justice, confidence English [29]
 Maine Dirigo I lead Latin [30]
 Maryland Fatti maschii, parole femine Manly deeds, womanly words Italian [31][32]
 Massachusetts Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty Latin [33]
 Michigan Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you Latin [34][35]
 Minnesota L'étoile du Nord The star of the North French [36][N 5]
 Mississippi Virtute et armis By valor and arms Latin [37]
 Missouri Salus populi suprema lex esto Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law Latin [38]
 Montana Oro y plata Gold and silver Spanish [39]
 Nebraska Equality before the law English [40]
 Nevada All For Our Country
Battle Born
English [41][N 6]
 New Hampshire Live Free or Die English [42]
 New Jersey Liberty and prosperity English [43]
 New Mexico Crescit eundo It grows as it goes Latin [44][N 7]
 New York Excelsior Ever upward Latin [45]
 North Carolina Esse quam videri To be, rather than to seem Latin [46]
 North Dakota Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable
Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit

One sows for the benefit of another age
English
Latin

March 11, 2011
[47]
[48]
 Northern Mariana Islands [5]
 Ohio With God, all things are possible English [49][N 8]
 Oklahoma Labor omnia vincit Labor conquers all things Latin [51][N 9]
 Oregon Alis volat propriis She flies with her own wings Latin [54][N 10]
 Pennsylvania Virtue, Liberty, and Independence English [55]
 Puerto Rico Joannes Est Nomen Eius John is his name Latin [6][56][N 11]
 Rhode Island Hope English [57] and by the General Assembly on May 4, 1664 [58]
 South Carolina Dum spiro spero
Animis opibusque parati
While I breathe, I hope
Ready in soul and resource
Latin [2]
 South Dakota Under God the people rule English [59]
 Tennessee Agriculture and Commerce English [60][N 12]
 Texas Friendship English [61]
 Utah Industry English [62][N 13]
 Vermont Freedom and Unity English [64]
 Virginia Sic semper tyrannis Thus always to tyrants Latin [65]
 Virgin Islands United in Pride and Hope English [66]
 Washington Al-ki By and by Chinook Jargon [67][N 14]
 West Virginia Montani semper liberi Mountaineers are always free Latin [68]
 Wisconsin Forward English [69]
 Wyoming Equal Rights English [70]


Notes

See also

References

Works cited

External links

  • Mottoes of the 50 States from Netstate.com
  • State mottos from State Symbols USA

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