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Main Pages

Front Page
Seal FAQs

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

Latin Mottoes
 E Pluribus Unum
 Annuit Coeptis
 Novus Ordo Seclorum

Symbols (front)
 Bald Eagle
 Olive Branch
 Bundle of Arrows
 Rays of Light

Symbols (back)

Great Seals
 Official Dies
 First Engravings
 First Painting
 1792 Medal
 Indian Medals
 1882 Medal
 One-Dollar Bill

 Eagle Side
 Pyramid Side


 Wild Turkey
 President's Seal
 U.S. Constitution

Welcome to,
the website all about the extraordinary symbol
that represents the people of the United States of America.

Designed by some of the nation's most visionary Founders, the two sides of the Great Seal embody the essential guiding principles these farsighted patriots hoped we would always follow.

The actual Great Seal adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782 is a written document that precisely describes the imagery.

Beginning of Official Description

First Great Seal die, 1782 For the past 238 years, the U.S. Department of State has been sealing official documents using engraved dies based on this official description. The first die is shown here. (Note: the design is in reverse.) The government also has official illustrations of the Great Seal's two sides.

U.S. Department of State realizations of the Great Seal

An illustration of a seal is known as a "realization" of its design description. For generations, the Great Seal has inspired artists to create compelling realizations – graphic links to the revolutionary spirit of the people who gave us our freedom.

First painting of Great Seal and new artwork by Doris Rowe
18th-century and 21st-century realizations

The Great Seal's designers provided a brief explanation of its symbolism, however the more we know about its design process and meaning of its symbols and mottoes, the better we can understand why this emblem is as important today as ever before. It was and still is America's Vision Statement.


Get a brief Overview

See Preliminary Designs for the Great Seal:
Ideas suggested by three committees (1776-1782)

Examine the symbolic elements on the Seal:
Imagery from nature and history
Eagle side | Pyramid side

Learn the origin and meaning of the three Mottoes:
Little phrases with big repercussions

Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal. is not affiliated with the U.S. Government.
Online since 1998 • Webwright: John D. MacArthur