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Delaware State Motto

Liberty and Independence Language:English
Translation:  Adoption:1847

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. [What is a motto? ]

Adoption of the Delaware State Motto

The motto, Liberty and Independence, became the Delaware state motto when it was added to the Great Seal of the State of Delaware in 1847. Adopted on January 17, 1777, the Delaware seal has undergone several changes since then, but remains essentially the same.

  • 1793 - Farmer and soldier removed from seal.
  • 1847 - The farmer and the soldier were restored and the motto, Liberty and Independence, was added on a ribbon at their feet.
  • 1907 - The seal was "modernized" and "THE DELAWARE STATE" was changed to "THE STATE OF DELAWARE".
  • 2004 - The years representing seal changes were changed to represent historical events.

About the Delaware State Motto

Liberty and Independence was provided by the Society of the Cincinnati, a hereditary organization of American Revolutionary War officers, formed in 1783. George Washington served as its first President General, from December 1783, until his death in 1799.

The sentiments of the Delaware motto are expected from a state that played such a celebrated role in the United State's struggle for independence. Added to Delaware's great seal "...as an expression of the ideals of American government..." in 1847, the motto serves as a reminder of a basis of our nation's cultural development as well.

Both of the terms comprising the motto proclaim freedom from restraint or influence.

The Delaware Code

The following information is excerpted from the Delaware Code, Title 29, Chapter 3, Section 301.

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State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and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: Delaware General Assembly, (http://www.legis.state.de.us/Legislature.nsf/?Opendatabase), March 12, 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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