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Arkansas State Motto

Regnat Populus Language:Latin
Translation:The People Rule Originator:Unknown

What is a motto?

Merriam-Webster Online defines motto in this way:

State mottoes may be said to reflect the character and beliefs of the citizens of the state, or more accurately, the citizens of the state when they were adopted. State mottoes can help us gain insight into the history of a state.

Adoption of the Arkansas State Motto

Like many other state mottoes, Arkansas' motto was first adopted as an element of an official seal. An Act of the Arkansas General Assembly, approved in 1864, specified Regnant Populi in its description of the seal. This description was updated by the Arkansas General Assembly on May 23, 1907 when it passed legislation changing the motto to correct the Latin.

  • Original motto: Regnant Populi
    • Translation: The People Rules
  • 1907 motto: Regnat Populus
    • Translation: The People Rule

The updated Latin is illustrated below in this current description of the Arkansas State Seal provided in the Arkansas Code.

While updating the the Latin for seal, Section 1-4-107 was inserted in the Code of Arkansas designating Regnat Populus as the official state motto.

About the Arkansas State Motto

It is not known when or how this motto came to be incorporated into the state seal.

The Arkansas Code (Non annotated)

The following information is excerpted from the Arkansas Code (Non annotated), Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 1-4-107.

Additional Information

State Motto List: List of all of the state mottoes.

State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002

State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories, Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)


Source: Arkansas General Assembly, (http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/), March 5, 2005
Source: Merriam-Webster Online, (http://www.m-w.com/), March 3, 2005
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: Revised Edition (Reprint)- George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938

 

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