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Iowa State Motto

Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain 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 Iowa State Motto

Great Seal of the State of Iowa
Great Seal of the State of Iowa

Like many state mottoes, the Iowa motto was adopted as an element of its state seal. Iowa officially entered the Union on December 28, 1846. During the new state's First General Assembly, in 1847, legislation was passed to designate an official state seal to authenticate official state papers. The motto, Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain, was determined by a three-member committee of the Iowa Senate. They suggested the motto and its placement on the official state seal.

The Great Seal of Iowa and, with it, the state motto, Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain was adopted by the First General Assembly on February 25, 1847.

About the Iowa State Motto

It's considered that this motto is at least partially in response to the difficulties that Iowa ran into establishing statehood. The motto makes the clear statement that the liberties of the Iowa citizenry are very important and that they are willing to defend them.

Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain is also displayed on Iowa's flag.

The Iowa Code

Like many states, Iowa's state motto was adopted as an element of its official seal. Unlike other state statutes however, the motto is noted in the section title. The following information is excerpted from the Iowa Code, Title 1, Subtitle 1, Chapter 1A, Section 1A-1.

Additional Information

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

Great Seal of Iowa: Further information about the Great Seal of Iowa and its adoption.

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State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and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: The Iowa General Assembly, (http://www.legis.state.ia.us/), March 17, 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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