American Mottoes and Slogans

American Mottoes and Slogans

American Mottoes and Slogans

American Mottoes and Slogans

Excerpt

American Mottoes and Slogans: Political, Patriotic, Personal, and Religious contains historical data on almost three hundred mottoes and slogans, tracing out the origin and the significance of each whenever it was possible to obtain such information. The author presents this book to the reader or to the researcher not as a treatise containing all American mottoes and slogans. It deals with political campaign slogans, governmental slogans, colonial and revolutionary patriotic slogans, war slogans, personal slogans, religious slogans, the mottoes and slogans of patriotic organizations, and the state mottoes.

The origin of the word motto may be traced back through the Italian and the French languages to the Latin verb mutire, signifying to grunt, to murmur, or to mutter. The French word mot, from which the term motto is directly derived, denotes a word or a short pithy, or witty saying, or it may mean a note of a horn, a note on the bugle, or hunting-horn. The term motto came into the English language about 1589 and signified "a word, sentence, or phrase attached as a legend to an 'impress' or emblematic design. Hence, more widely, a short sentence or phrase . . . expressing an appropriate reflection or sentiment; also a proverbial or pithy maxim adopted by a person as his rule of conduct."

The term slogan may be traced back for its origin to the Gaelic word slaugh-ghairm, signifying a host-shout, a war-cry, or "the warcry or gathering word or phrase of one of the old Highland clans; hence, the shout or battle-cry of soldiers in the field." By 1704 the word slogan came to be used by the English-speaking people to mean the distinctive note, phrase, or cry of any person or body of persons. The early slogans frequently consisted of a personal surname or the name of some gathering place. During the Middle Ages slogans were common throughout the whole of the European continent; "and their primary object, no doubt, was to animate the rival warriors at the moment of attack; they were also used as the watchword by which individuals of the same party recognized each other, either amidst the darkness of the night or in the confusion of battle."

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