Maine State Motto
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.
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.
Title 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS.
The state motto shall be "Dirigo" (I direct or I guide).
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State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and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
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