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Design Process
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Eye of Providence.

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.

... Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.

"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."

Top of first committee's design.

Barton's reverse 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"

Detail of Blazon

According to Thomson's explanation: the eye and the motto Annuit Coeptis "allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause."

Explanation of Annuit Coeptis and Eye of Providence

    Note:
  • "Zenith" means more than apex or summit. It also suggests a highest point or state; culmination.
  • The official description of the Great Seal does not specify a left or right eye. It is simply referred to as a single eye.
  • The designers of the Great Seal did not call it an "all-seeing eye." They referred to it as the "eye of Providence."
  • And they never called it the "eye of Horus."


Divine Eyes

Wink



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