List of U.S. State and Territory Mottos

List Of U.S. State And Territory Mottos

All of the United States' 50 states have a state motto, as do the District of Columbia and three US territories. A motto is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of an organization. State mottos can sometimes be found on state seals or state flags. Some states have officially designated a state motto by an act of the state legislature, whereas other states have the motto only as an element of their seals. The motto of the United States itself is In God We Trust, proclaimed by Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. The motto E Pluribus Unum (Latin for "One from many") was approved for use on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782, but was never adopted as the national motto through legislative action.

South Carolina has two official mottos, both of which are in Latin. Kentucky and North Dakota also have two mottos, one in Latin and the other in English. All other states and territories have only one motto, except Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which do not have any mottos. English and Latin are the most-used languages for state mottos, used by 25 and 24 states and territories, respectively. Seven states and territories use another language, of which each language is only used once. Eight states and two territories have their mottos on their state quarter; thirty-eight states and four territories have their mottos on their state seals.

The dates given are, where possible, the earliest date that the motto was used in an official sense. Some state mottos are not official but are on the official state seal; in these cases the adoption date of the seal is given. The earliest use of a current motto is that of Puerto Rico, Johannes est nomen ejus, granted to the island by the Spanish in 1511.

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