National Geographic : 1946 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine C-~~ r ~- 2> ~1 Staff Photographer B. Anthony Stewart Four Seals Attest This Birth Certificate of the United States By the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Great Britain recognized the advent of a new country. D. Hartley signed for Great Britain, while John Adams, B. Franklin (thrifty even in his signature), and John Jay signed for the United States. Each signature is accompanied by the signer's personal seal impressed into sealing wax. The seals are connected by a ribbon. The document is now preserved in the National Archives in Washington, D. C. has seven red and six white stripes, in contrast with the shield, which has seven white and six red stripes. The olive branch and arrows represent the power for peace and war, peace in the right talon being offered first. The constellation de notes a new state taking its place among other sovereign powers. The escutcheon borne with out supporters indicates that the United States of America ought "to rely on their own virtue." The motto E Pluribus Unum, "One Out of Many," suggests that the Government was formed by uniting many States. The motto was used on the title page of the Gentleman's Magazine; originally it was prob ably from the Moretum, or "The Farmer's Break fast," which has been at tributed to Virgil. The pyramid on the reverse of the seal sig nifies strength and du ration. The eye of God and the motto Annuit Cceptis, "God Has Fa vored Our Undertak ings," refer to the many interpositions of Provi dence in favor of the American cause. The date 1776 (in Roman numerals) and the words Novus Ordo Seclorum, "A New Order of the Ages," are for the Decla ration of Independence. The mottoes on the re verse are based on Virgil. The obverse is used as the basis for other seals; see seals for the Presi dent, Department of State, Virgin Islands, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Na tional Archives. It is used on medals, cur rency, official stationery and publications, Army service caps and uniform buttons, and as an archi tectural adornment. In large size and full color it is placed above the entrances to U. S. em bassies, legations, and consulates all over the world. The reverse has never been cut as a seal. The design was used in 1882 when a centennial medal was issued by the United States Mint to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the seal. Since 1935 the reverse has been a decoration on the back of dollar bills. The complex history of the Great Seal of the United States was carefully investigated by the late Gaillard Hunt, of the Department of State, and further researches have been made by Rich ard S. Patterson, also of that Department.