A 21st-Century Realization of America's Original
This is the first time that a fully realized painting has been created from Charles Thomson's original 1782 description and sketch (right) of his design for "an American Eagle on the wing and rising."
Secretary of the Continental Congress for its entire 15 years, Thomson was chosen to come up with a suitable design for the Great Seal after three different committees since 1776 had failed to do so. He made this preliminary drawing of his design a few days before a slightly revised version (different shield pattern) was adopted as America's Great Seal on June 20, 1782.
No new artwork was created, so Thomson's sketch is our only direct graphic link to the Great Seal as originally envisioned.
This new artwork shows the shield's final design. It also has "Out of Many, One" the English translation of E Pluribus Unum, the motto on the scroll in the eagle's beak.
The American eagle's stronger right talon clutches an olive branch which Thomson said symbolized "the power of peace." The Eagle carries a message of unity, E pluribus unum.
This artwork is an accurate realization of America's Great Seal, because it correctly shows the rays of light breaking through the clouds, as well as the constellation of stars in a natural formation.
Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal.
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Copyright ©2016 by John D. MacArthur.