Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma State Motto
Labor Omnia Vincit was incorporated into the design of the Grand Seal of the Territory of Oklahoma during the second session of the Territorial Legislative Assembly held in Guthrie, January 1893. This is shown, magnified, to the right on the territorial seal.
The phrase was later specified as a feature of the Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma in the 1907 Oklahoma Constitution.
About the Oklahoma State Motto
Oklahoma's motto, the Latin phrase Labor Omnia Vincit, dates back over 2,000 years to the writing of a Roman poet named Virgil.
Virgil's phrase, Labor omnis vicit, is found in the first of a series of four Latin Poems, Georgics. These poems were written in support of Augustus Caesar's "Back to the Land" campaign to encourage more Romans to take up farming. The phrase is found in a section of the poem describing the growth of agriculture from primitive beginnings.
The Oklahoma Constitution
Oklahoma's state motto was adopted in its constitution as an element of its official seal. The following information is excerpted from the Oklahoma Constitution, Article 6, Section 6-35.
Article VI: EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.
In the center shall be a five pointed star, with one ray directed upward. The center of the star shall contain the central device of the seal of the Territory of Oklahoma, including the words, "Labor Omnia Vincit." The upper left hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Cherokee Nation, namely: A seven pointed star partially surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. The ray directed upward shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Chickasaw Nation, namely: An Indian warrior standing upright with bow and shield. The lower left hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Creek Nation, namely: A sheaf of wheat and a plow. The upper right hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Choctaw Nation, namely: A tomahawk, bow, and three crossed arrows. The lower right hand ray shall contain the symbol of the ancient seal of the Seminole Nation, namely: A village with houses and a factory beside a lake upon which an Indian is paddling a canoe. Surrounding the central star and grouped between its rays shall be forty-five small stars, divided into five clusters of nine stars each, representing the forty-five states of the Union, to which the forty-sixth is now added. In a circular band surrounding the whole device shall be inscribed, "GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA 1907."
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: The Oklahoma Constitution, (http://oklegal.onenet.net/okcon/), March 23, 2005
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