The use of mottoes accompanied the development of heraldry, which began to take hold in the twelfth century. A motto might be considered a terse statement, sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, that describes a certain spirit of the bearer. State mottoes, whether in English, Latin, French, or Spanish, or a native American language, express simply the character and beliefs of the citizenry.
Many state mottoes express a fundamental belief in God. Arizona's motto, Ditat Deus, means "God enriches." Florida's motto, taken from United States coinage, states simply "In God We Trust." Colorado's motto states that there is "Nothing without Providence" and Ohio's, that "With God, All Things Are Possible." South Dakota combines two common themes: "Under God the People Rule." Arkansas' motto boldly states that "The People Rule." Some statements of democratic belief are more pugnacious than religious: Alabama, "We Dare Maintain Our Rights," Massachusetts, "By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty," and New Hampshire, more direct, "Live Free or Die." Still other mottoes are designed as slogans rather than philosophical statements. Alaska promotes itself with the motto "North to the Future." Indiana calls itself "The Crossroads of America." Tennessee touts "Agriculture and Commerce," and Utah's motto is one word--"Industry."