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The State of Missouri, United States of America


Registration number 20061030B


This certifies that the heraldic arms of The State of Missouri, United States of America are registered as an original design and are described by the blazon below

Blazon adopted by state legislature: The device for an armorial achievement for the state of Missouri is as follows: Arms, parted per pale, on the dexter side; gules, the white or grizzly bear of Missouri, passant guardant, proper on a chief engrailed; azure, a crescent argent; on the sinister side, argent, the arms of the United States, the whole within a band inscribed with the words "UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL". For the crest, over a helmet full-faced, grated with six bars; or, a cloud proper, from which ascends a star argent, and above it a constellation of twenty-three smaller stars, argent, on an azure field, surrounded by a cloud proper. Supporters on each side, a white or grizzly bear of Missouri, rampant, guardant proper, standing on a scroll, inscribed with the motto, "Salus populi suprema lex esto", and under the scroll the numerical letters MDCCCXX.


Sources

Missouri Code 10.060
Historical note by Congressman Ike Skelton reprinted from http://www.house.gov/skelton/history_matters.html

Historical note

Two years after the drafting of a Missouri constitution and seven months after statehood had officially been granted, Judge Robert Wells created the Missouri State Seal. As a young man, Wells moved to St. Louis to become a surveyor and by 1820 took up a law practice in St. Charles, Missouri. In 1826, Wells became the Attorney General of Missouri and eventually took positions as the president of the State Constitutional Convention, a United States District Attorney, and a curator at the University of Missouri. Wells' design for The Great Seal was approved by the Missouri General Assembly and adopted on January 11, 1822.

While the meaning behind The Great Seal of Missouri has been debated throughout the years, Wells explained its symbolism in a letter more than 25 years after he originally designed the Seal. Probably the most noticeable objects within the Seal are the two large grizzly bears. While grizzly bears are often pictured as deadly, ferocious creatures, Wells explained that the bears symbolize power, courage, and toughness, three characteristics common in Missouri's citizens.

Within the bears' grasps are the United States' coat-of-arms, a silver crescent moon, and another small grizzly bear. The bald eagle on the coat-of-arms carries arrows and olive branches in its claws, signifying that the U.S. government carries the power of both war and peace. The crescent moon has two meanings. It signifies Missouri at the time of the Seal's creation, a small population with little wealth, but having the potential of immense growth. It also represents the "second son," as Missouri was the second state created out of the Louisiana Territory. The small grizzly bear signifies strength and bravery.

The crest over the arms of the state depicts a gold helmet with six bars, representing military endeavor and describing Missouri's statehood as "being that of a prince but not that of a king." Above the crest of the Seal is one large star rising from 23 smaller stars. The large star signifies Missouri's statehood, while the smaller stars represent the statehoods of the other 23 states in the Union at the time of Missouri's inception.

In the center of Missouri's State Seal read the words "United we stand, divided we fall," indicating the advantage of becoming an official state of the Union. Underneath these words is the Missouri state motto written in Latin, ASalus Populi Suprema Lex Esto," which translates to "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law." At the bottom of the Seal are the Roman numerals for the year 1820. This was not the year of Missouri's official statehood, but the year Missouri was allowed to draft a constitution.

When the Capitol burned in Jefferson City in 1837, the original Missouri State Seal was destroyed. However, Wells' design lives on, carrying with it powerful meaning and boasting about the great characteristics of the state and its mighty citizens.

Registered by

Michael Swanson

Categories

State, US, M

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