GreatSeal.com logo

Main Pages

Front Page
Overview
Seal FAQs

Design Process
 1st Committee
 2nd Committee
 3rd Committee
 Final Design
 Description
 Explanation

Latin Mottoes
 E Pluribus Unum
 Annuit Coeptis
 Novus Ordo Seclorum

Symbols (front)
 Bald Eagle
 Shield
 Olive Branch
 Arrows
 Stars
 Rays of Light
 Cloud

Symbols (back)
 Pyramid
 Eye
 MDCCLXXVI

Great Seals
 Official Dies
  Pendant Seals
 First Engravings
 First Painting
 1792 Medal
 Indian Medals
 1882 Medal
 One-Dollar Bill
 Bicentennial
 United Seal
 Eagle Rising

Myths
 Eagle Side
 Pyramid Side

Themes
 Unity
 Peace
 Liberty
 Thirteen
   13 Time-Periods

Related
 Wild Turkey
 President's Seal
 Sightings

Time Periods

The Time Map of American History
on the Reverse Side of the Great Seal

Excerpt from:

The Great Seal of the United States:
Its History, Symbolism, and Message for the New Age

by Paul Foster Case. (J. F. Rowny Press, 1935)

"Since the date, 1776, is placed on the bottom course of the pyramid, and since the number 13 has been so important in the history of the United States and in the symbols of the seal, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the thirteen courses of the pyramid may represent thirteen time-periods of thirteen years each." – Paul Foster Case

  1. 1776 to 1789
    The first course would include the Revolution (1776 -1783); the establishment of the first daily newspaper, the "Advertiser," issued in Philadelphia in 1784; and the adoption of the Constitution in Convention (1787).

  2. 1789 to 1802
    The second course begins with 1789. This year marked the first Presidential election, and the establishment of the United States Supreme Court. During this cycle the first steamboat plied the Delaware River (1790), the United States Mint was established (1792), and Whitney invented the cotton-gin (1793).

  3. 1802 to 1815
    During the third cycle of thirteen years came the Louisiana Purchase (1803), and the second war with Great Britain (1812 -1814).

  4. 1815 to 1828
    The fourth course covers the period from 1815 to 1827 inclusive. The most important governmental action of this period was the declaration of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.

  5. 1828 to 1841
    The fifth course begins with 1828. In that year the first passenger railroad began running trains on July 4. The reaping machine, destined to make possible the granaries of the West, was invented in 1834. In 1835 Morse invented the telegraph, and thus began the modern Age of Electricity.

  6. 1841 to 1854
    During the time-period represented by the sixth course (1841 to 1853, inclusive) Texas was annexed (1845). In 1846 came the war with Mexico, resulting in the acquisition of the Territories of New Mexico, Arizona and California, completing the extension of the land surface of the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and this helped to open the West.

  7. 1854 to 1867
    The seventh course begins with 1854, the year Commodore Perry opened Japan to commerce. During this thirteen years the Atlantic Cable was laid (1857 -1858), the Civil War was fought (1861 -1865), and slavery was abolished (1863). In this period came the rise of the Republican Party, and the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

  8. 1867 to 1880
    The eighth cycle begins in 1867. It included the tragedy of Reconstruction, and the development of big business. In 1869 the Pacific Railroad was completed, the air-brake was invented, and in September of that year came Wall Street's dreadful Black Friday. The first of the great expositions was held in Philadelphia in 1876. It definitely stressed the material, rather than the spiritual, progress of the nation. In this era the farm lands of the West were opened, and toward its close the farmers began to make themselves heard, and labor began to improve its conditions.

  9. 1880 to 1893
    During the ninth cycle, capital, by means of its control of the machine, and its alliance with corrupt politics, fastened its grip on the economic condition of the nation. Evil seed was sown during this period which still bears its poisonous fruit.

  10. 1893 to 1906
    The tenth cycle, beginning in 1893, was signalized by the opening of the World's Fair at Chicago; but this same year brought the worst panic the country had, until then, experienced. Labor trouble multiplied. The war with Spain began in 1898, during McKinley's Presidency. The election of McKinley was a victory for the East, for the predominance of the city over the country, and for the rule of industrialism. It was followed by a period of imperialism under McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

  11. 1906 to 1919
    The eleventh cycle was one of disaster. It opened with the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Then came the panic of 1907. A few years of deceptive peace followed. Then came the World War, which brought the eleventh cycle to a close.

  12. 1919 to 1932
    The twelfth cycle began in 1919. During it we reaped the fruit of the evil seed sown in the eight, ninth, and tenth cycles. Troubles multiplied as never before. Organized crime aped the methods of big business, and the triumph of the city over the country brought as one of its consequences the development of great rings of gangsters. A dream of imaginary prosperity ended suddenly with the panic of 1929, and the remaining years of the twelfth cycle saw a progressive depression which continues until now.

  13. 1932 to 1945
    In 1932 began the thirteenth cycle, corresponding to the uppermost course of the unfinished pyramid. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to the Presidency. The various experiments now going on under the designation of the New Deal were begun. What their outcome will be, it is impossible at this writing to say. But whatever is before us in this cycle, which comes to its end in 1944, all intelligent persons are agreed (whether they are for the New Deal of Roosevelt or against it) that the Old Order, as represented by the political and economic opinions and practices of the eight, ninth, and tenth cycles, must never be dominant in America again.

For more information about of Paul Foster Case, contact BOTA.org.

Author and webwright: John D. MacArthur