The Eye of Providence
The eye was originally suggested by Pierre Du Simitière, the consultant and artist on the first Great Seal committee appointed July 4, 1776. He was no doubt influenced by Declaration of Independence.
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." Declaration of Independence
Simitière's design (below) included: "The Eye of Providence in a radiant Triangle whose Glory extends over the Shield and beyond the Figures."
This design was not approved by Congress, but six years later, William Barton of the third Great Seal committee suggested the eye for the reverse side of the Great Seal: "A Pyramid of thirteen Strata... In the Zenith, an Eye, surrounded with a Glory." ("Glory" is the heraldic term for rays of light.)
Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson liked Barton's idea, but added a triangle around the eye and created two new mottoes. Congress approved Thomson's design for the reverse side of the Great Seal, which specified:
"In the Zenith an Eye in a triangle surrounded with a glory"
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Copyright ©2013 by John D. MacArthur.