The History of the Seal of the United States

By United States. Dept. Of State | Go to book overview
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THE SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES

I
THE FIRST DEVICE

Late in the afternoon of July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress "Resolved, That Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams and Mr. Jefferson be a committee to prepare a device for a Seal of the United States of America," * this being the same committee, except for the omission from it of Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman, which had drawn up the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration had been signed about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and the members of the Congress assembling after dinner desired to complete the evidences of the independence of the United States by formally adopting an official sign of sovereignty and a national coat of arms. It was intended that the device for the seal should be the device for the national arms, and the first and each succeeding committee having the business in charge construed its duty to be to devise the arms by devising the seal. In making the two identical the prevailing custom was observed, for seals are deemed proof of the coats of arms of the states or individuals using them. The great seal

____________________
*
Journals of Congress ( W. C. Ford, editor), 1906, V, 517.
Benson J. Lossing, in Harper's Magazine, 1856, vol. 13, p. 178et seq.

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