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Maine State Motto

Dirigo Language:Latin
Translation:I Direct or I Guide Adoption:1820

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 Maine State Motto

Fifteen states have specifically adopted an official motto and Maine is one of them. Other state mottoes have been approved as elements of a state seal or coat of arms.

Maine entered the Union on March 15, 1820 and the Legislature of the State of Maine held its first session from May 21 to June 28 of the same year. The motto, Dirigo, was adopted during this session.

About the Maine State Motto

The resolves, adopting the seal upon which this motto appears, give some insight into the meaning intended by the Maine state motto.

"...as the Polar Star has been considered the mariner's guide and director in conducting the ship over the pathless ocean to the desired haven, and as the center of magnetic attraction; as it has been figuratively used to denote the point, to which all affections turn, and as it is here intended to represent the State, it may be considered the citizens' guide, and the object to which the patriot's best exertions should be directed."

The "Polar Star" in the seal is intended to represent the new State of Maine as indicated above. The motto, Dirigo, extends the character of the "Polar Star... considered the mariner's guide...", referring to the state as the "citizens' guide" while also exhorting the responsibilities of the citizens to the state, "...the object to which the patriot's best exertions should be directed."

The Maine Statutes

The following information is excerpted from the Maine Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 9, Subchapter 1.

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State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and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: Maine Revised Statutes, (http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statutes/search.asp), 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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