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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
 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

   The Dove
   Virgil's Aeneid
   Political Drawings 1
   Political Drawings 2
   Temple of Peace
   Diplomatic Medal
   Peace Medals
   Peace on Moon

 Wild Turkey
 President's Seal

Symbols of Peace in Political Drawings
After the Revolution

America Triumphant and Britannia in Distress, 1782.

America holds an olive branch in the above etching, "America Triumphant and Britannia in Distress," published in 1782. Its "Explanation" begins:

"America sitting on that quarter of the globe with the Flag of the United States displayed over her head; holding in one hand the Olive branch; inviting the ships of all nations to partake of her commerce; and in the other hand supporting the Cap of Liberty."

At the top is "Fame proclaiming the joyous news to all the world," and on the left is "Britannia weeping at the loss of the trade of America." Behind her is an "evil genius" (who appears to be blowing a farmer on her).

The below drawing was the frontispiece of The Columbian Magazine, or Monthly Miscellany published in America in 1789, seven years after the Great Seal was created.

America with Peace and Freedom blest, 1789.

America, a young woman, is enjoying the benefits of education. By her side is her shield with the Great Seal on it. Her staff and liberty cap lean against a tree behind her. She sits in the shade of a palm tree with books, a globe, a cornucopia, and bow and arrows.

A god holding a lyre points to the statue of Fame atop a temple and says:

"America! with Peace and Freedom blest,
Pant for true Fame, and scorn inglorious rest:
Science invites; urg'd by the Voice divine,
Exert thy self, 'till every Art be thine

Below is C. W. Peale's illustration (detail) for the title page for the January 1790 The Universal Asylum and Columbian Magazine. With her shield bearing the Great Seal at her side, America is surrounded by symbols the prosperity of peace, culture and trade.

Detail of January 1790 title page of The  Columbian Magazine.

Visit the "Temple of Liberty Justice and Peace."

Drawings published In England
before the Revolution depict America in a different light.