List of U.S. state and territory mottos

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Eureka, the motto of California on its state seal
Esto perpetua, the motto of Idaho on its state quarter
Crossroads of America, the motto of Indiana on its state quarter
South Carolina has two state mottos

All of the United States' 50 states have a state motto, as do the District of Columbia and three US territories. A motto is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of an organization. State mottos can sometimes be found on state seals or state flags. Some states have officially designated a state motto by an act of the state legislature, whereas other states have the motto only as an element of their seals. The motto of the United States itself is In God We Trust, proclaimed by Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956.[1] The motto E Pluribus Unum (Latin for "One from many") was approved for use on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782, but was never adopted as the national motto through legislative action.

South Carolina has two official mottos, both of which are in Latin.[2] Kentucky, North Dakota, and Vermont also have two mottos, one in Latin and the other in English.[3] All other states and territories have only one motto, except Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which do not have any mottos.[4][5] English and Latin are the most-used languages for state mottos, used by 25 and 24 states and territories, respectively. Seven states and territories use another language, of which each language is only used once. Eight states and two territories have their mottos on their state quarter; thirty-eight states and four territories have their mottos on their state seals.

The dates given are, where possible, the earliest date that the motto was used in an official sense. Some state mottos are not official but are on the official state seal; in these cases the adoption date of the seal is given. The earliest use of a current motto is that of Puerto Rico, Johannes est nomen ejus, granted to the island by the Spanish in 1511.[6]

State and territory mottos

State Motto English Translation Language Date Ref.
 Alabama Audemus jura nostra defendere We dare defend our rights! Latin 1923 [7]
 Alaska North to the future English 1967 [8]
 American Samoa Samoa, Muamua Le Atua Samoa, let God be first Samoan 1973 [9]
 Arizona Ditat Deus God enriches Latin 1863 [10][11]
 Arkansas Regnat populus The people rule Latin 1907 [12][N 1]
 California Eureka (Εὕρηκα) I have found it Greek 1849 [13][N 2]
 Colorado Nil sine numine Nothing without providence. Latin November 6, 1861 [14]
 Connecticut Qui transtulit sustinet He who transplanted sustains Latin October 9, 1662 [15]
 Delaware Liberty and Independence English 1847 [16]
 District of Columbia Justitia Omnibus Justice for All Latin August 3, 1871 [17]
 Florida In God We Trust English 1868 [18][N 3]
 Georgia Wisdom, Justice, Moderation English 1798 [20][21]
 Guam [4]
 Hawaii Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. Hawaiian July 31, 1843 [22][23][N 4]
 Idaho Esto perpetua Let it be perpetual Latin 1890 [24]
 Illinois State sovereignty, national union English 1819 [25]
 Indiana The Crossroads of America English 1937 [26]
 Iowa Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain English 1847 [27]
 Kansas Ad astra per aspera To the stars through difficulties Latin 1861 [28]
 Kentucky United we stand, divided we fall
Deo gratiam habeamus

Let us be grateful to God
 Louisiana Union, justice, confidence English 1902 [29]
 Maine Dirigo I lead Latin 1820 [30]
 Maryland Fatti maschii, parole femine Manly deeds, womanly words Italian 1874 [31][32]
 Massachusetts Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty Latin 1775 [33]
 Michigan Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you Latin June 2, 1835 [34][35]
 Minnesota L'étoile du Nord The star of the North French 1861 [36][N 5]
 Mississippi Virtute et armis By valor and arms Latin February 7, 1894 [37]
 Missouri Salus populi suprema lex esto Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law Latin January 11, 1822 [38]
 Montana Oro y plata Gold and silver Spanish February 9, 1865 [39]
 Nebraska Equality before the law English 1867 [40]
 Nevada All For Our Country English February 24, 1866 [41][N 6]
 New Hampshire Live Free or Die English 1945 [42]
 New Jersey Liberty and prosperity English March 26, 1928 [43]
 New Mexico Crescit eundo It grows as it goes Latin 1887 [44][N 7]
 New York Excelsior Ever upward Latin 1778 [45]
 North Carolina Esse quam videri To be, rather than to seem Latin 1893 [46]
  North Dakota Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable
Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit

One sows for the benefit of another age
January 3, 1863
March 11, 2011
 Northern Mariana Islands [5]
 Ohio With God, all things are possible English October 1, 1959 [50][N 8]
 Oklahoma Labor omnia vincit Labor conquers all things Latin March 10, 1893 [52][N 9]
 Oregon Alis volat propriis She flies with her own wings Latin 1854 [55][N 10]
 Pennsylvania Virtue, liberty, and independence English 1875 [56]
 Puerto Rico Joannes Est Nomen Eius John is his name Latin 1511 [6][57][N 11]
 Rhode Island Hope English May 4, 1664 [58]
 South Carolina Dum spiro spero
Animis opibusque parati
While I breathe, I hope
Ready in soul and resource
Latin May 22, 1777 [2]
 South Dakota Under God the people rule English 1885 [59]
 Tennessee Agriculture and Commerce English May 24, 1802 [60][N 12]
 Texas Friendship English 1930 [61]
 Utah Industry The word industry refers to diligence English May 3, 1896 [62][N 13]
 Vermont Freedom and Unity
Stella quarta decima fulgeat

May the fourteenth star shine bright
February 20, 1779
April 10, 2015
 Virginia Sic semper tyrannis Thus always to tyrants Latin 1776 [67]
 Virgin Islands United in Pride and Hope English January 1, 1991 [68]
 Washington Al-ki By and by Chinook Jargon [69][N 14]
 West Virginia Montani semper liberi Mountaineers are always free Latin September 26, 1863 [70]
 Wisconsin Forward English 1851 [71]
 Wyoming Equal Rights English 1893 [72]

See also


  1. The motto was originally designated as Regnant populi in 1864. It was changed to Regnat populus in 1907.[12]
  2. Eureka first appeared on the state seal in 1849. It was designated the official motto in 1963.[13]
  3. "In God We Trust" first appeared on the state seal in 1868. It was designated the official motto in 2006.[18][19]
  4. The motto of Hawaii was first used by King Kamehameha III in 1843, after his restoration. In May 1845 it first appeared on the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii. It was made the official motto of the State of Hawaii on May 1, 1959.[23]
  5. The unofficial motto of the Minnesota Territory was Quae sursum volo videre, I long to see what is beyond, chosen in 1849.[36]
  6. The unofficial motto of the Nevada Territory was Volens et Potens, Willing and Able, which was on the territorial seal approved on November 29, 1861. This was changed to the current motto after statehood.[41]
  7. Crescit eundo was added to the territorial seal in 1882. Ths change was officially adopted by the legislature in 1887.[44]
  8. From 1866 to 1868, the motto Imperium in Imperio (Latin for "Empire within an Empire") appeared on the state seal.[51]
  9. Labor omnia vincit was on the territorial seal of 1893.[53] It was specified as a feature of the seal in the 1907 State Constitution.[54]
  10. The motto of Oregon was "The Union" from 1957 until 1987, when the original 1854 motto of Alis volat propriis was restored.[55]
  11. The Spanish Crown gave Puerto Rico its coat of arms in 1511. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico officially adopted it on March 9, 1905.[6]
  12. The words "Agriculture" and "Commerce" appeared on the first state seal of 1802. "Agriculture and Commerce" was made the official state motto in 1987.[60]
  13. "Industry" first appeared on the state seal of 1896. It was designated the official motto on March 4, 1959.[63]
  14. The motto of Washington is the only one to be fully unofficial. It is neither on the seal nor designated by the state legislature.


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Works cited

External links