State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide

By Benjamin F. Shearer; Jerrie Yehling Smith et al. | Go to book overview
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State and Territory Seals

Not merely decorative symbols of statehood, the seals of state have been used to designate official acts of state through the ages, and their use is strictly prescribed by law.

State seals are like snapshots of each state's history. Oklahoma's seal, for example, contains the symbols of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole nations and forty-five small stars around a central star, representing the forty-five existing states before Oklahoma became the forty-sixth in 1907. The seal of Kansas, on which appear thirty-four stars for the thirty-fourth state, depicts a steamboat and a river to symbolize commerce, a settler's cabin and a mare plowing to represent agriculture and prosperity, a train of wagons heading west and a herd of buffalo retreating being chased by two Indians on horseback.

The symbols employed in the seals represent recurring themes--agriculture, commerce, mining, shipping, liberty, and union. These symbols celebrate the economic development of the state, the natural resources on which the state was built, and the freedom of a united people to pursue their lives in peace and harmony.


ALABAMA

In 1939, the Alabama legislature returned to the design of the great seal that had been used before 1868. At the same time, the legislature provided

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