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Indiana State Motto

The Crossroads of America Language:English
Translation:  Adoption:1937

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 Indiana State Motto

In the 1930s, the Evansville Courier, now the Evansville Courier & Press, ran a column called "Paragraphy". J. Roy Strickland, its author, made note of the fact that Indiana had no official state motto. He wrote about this in his column and suggested to readers that, perhaps, it was time to enact one. In fact, Mr. Strickland was instrumental in getting Indiana to adopt a state motto by soliciting suggestions and providing those suggestions to the Indiana General Assembly. He wrote,

"...in my column, Paragraphy, I started a campaign for suggestions for a motto for Indiana. In a period of two or three weeks, I received three hundred and twenty-four suggestions. These were printed in folder form, without the names and addresses of the senders, and forwarded to the State legislature then in session at Indianapolis. A committee of three from the House and two from the Senate took this list of mottoes and selected 'The Crossroads of America.'"

A joint resolution, to adopt "The Crossroads of America" as the official motto of Indiana, was crafted by the Indiana House of Representatives that resolved:

"Section 1. Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, the Senate concurring, that the expression 'The Crossroads of America' is hereby designated and adopted as the official State motto or slogan for the State of Indiana."

Joint Resolution No. 6, adopting The Crossroads of America as the official motto of Indiana, was adopted by the Eightieth Session of the General Assembly on March 2, 1937. Note that The Crossroads of America was adopted as the official state motto or slogan. We can't help but wonder when it's used as a motto and when it's used as a slogan.

About the Indiana State Motto

The year was 1937 and the motto certainly suggests that the intersecting of important roads, railroads and waterways of the nation occurs within the boundaries of the State of Indiana. Indeed, Indiana was on the path west by many settlers coming from the northeast and east central states.

The first major road to cross the state was the historic Cumberland, or National, Road, now labeled US Route 40. This road was built in the early 1800s. Many railroads provide freight service in Indiana and the Lake Michigan ports of Burns Harbor, Buffington, Gary and Indiana Harbor provide connections, via the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway for oceangoing ships from around the world. Smaller ports, Southwind and Clark, are found on the Ohio River, providing access to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

The Indiana Department of Administration states:

"'The Crossroads of America' signifies the importance of waterways, railroads, highways and other transportation facilities in the state, viewed by many as some of the finest in the nation."

The Indiana Code

The adoption of the official state motto of Indiana was by House Joint Resolution and is not documented in the Indiana Code.

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: Indiana Department of Administration, State Information Center, (http://www.in.gov/sic/), March 16, 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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