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Louisiana State Motto

Union, Justice, Confidence Language:English
Translation:  Adoption:1902

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 Louisiana State Motto

Territorial and 1812 State Governor William C.C. Claiborne was instrumental in the emergence of the Brown Pelican of the Louisiana Gulf Coast as an icon of the state. He greatly admired the birds that would tear their own flesh to offer their young rather than allow them to go hungry. His respect caused him to begin to use the bird on official documents of the Territory of Orleans and the State of Louisiana. Through the years, many different versions of the present seal were used, all depicting the state bird and its young.

The Louisiana Revised Statutes specify that the Governor of the State of Louisiana shall determine the design of the official state seal. In 1902, in order to standardize a design for the seal, Governor William Wright Heard instructed the Secretary of State to use a seal described as:

"A Pelican, with its head turned to the left, in nest with three young; the Pelican, following the tradition in act of tearing its breast to feed its young; around the edge of the seal to be inscribed 'State of Louisiana'. Over head of the Pelican to be inscribed 'Union, Justice', and under the Pelican to be inscribed 'Confidence'."

The description of the seal included the motto, Union, Justice, Confidence. This seal was adopted on April 30, 1902.

About the Louisiana State Motto

It's not known how the motto was determined, but certainly Governor Heard considered these three words to be most important aspects of statehood. The meaning behind the motto may be recognized in the official State Pledge of Allegiance, adopted in 1981 and recorded in the Louisiana Revised Statutes.

The Louisiana Revised Statutes

Like many states, Louisiana's state motto was adopted as an element of its official seal. The following information is excerpted from the Louisiana Revised Statutes, Title 49, Part 8, Section 49:151. No description of the state seal is provided.

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: Louisiana Revised Statutes, (http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/toc.htm), March 22, 2005
Source: Louisiana Secretary of State, (http://www.legis.state.la.us/), March 22, 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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