The History of the Seal of the United States

By United States. Dept. Of State | Go to book overview

V
THE ARMS ADOPTED

On June 20, 1782, the seal was finally decided upon.

On report of the secretary, to whom were referred the several reports on the device for a great seal, to take order:

The device for an armorial achievement and reverse of the great seal for the United States in Congress assembled, is as follows:

ARMS. Paleways of thirteen pieces, argent and gules; a chief, azure; the escutcheon on the breast of the American eagle displayed proper, holding in his dexter talon an olive branch, and in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows, all proper, and in his beak a scroll, inscribed with this motto, "E pluribus Unum."

For the CREST. Over the head of the eagle, which appears above the escutcheon, a glory, or, breaking through a cloud, proper, and surrounding thirteen stars, forming a constellation, argent, on an azure field.

REVERSE. A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith, an eye in a triangle, surrounded with a glory proper. Over the eye these words, "Annuit Cœptis." On the base of the pyramid the numerical letters MDCCLXXVI. And underneath the following motto, "Novus Ordo Seclorum."*

____________________
*
Journals of Congress, vol. 4 (ed. 1823), p. 39.

-41-

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The History of the Seal of the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 3
  • I - The First Device 7
  • II - The Lovell Committee 18
  • III - William Barton's Designs 23
  • IV - The Secretarys Device 33
  • V - The Arms Adopted 41
  • VI - The Illegal Seal 48
  • VII - The Third Seal 53
  • VIII - The Fourth Seal 63
  • IX - Uses of the Seal 65
  • Glossary of Heraldic Terms. 69
  • Index 71
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