The design of North Carolina's state seal, officially called the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina, was standardized by the General Assembly in 1971 and modified in 1983 after many variations. The official seal is a circle 2¼ inches in diameter that features the robe-covered figures of "Liberty" and "Plenty" in its center. Liberty is standing and holding a capped pole in her left hand, and in her right hand is a scroll on which is written the word "Constitution." Plenty is seated with her right arm extended, holding three heads of grain in her right hand and the end of an overflowing cornucopia in her left hand. In the background are depictions of mountains and a three-masted ship floating on the ocean. The dates "May 20, 1775" (the date of the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence ) and "April 12, 1776" (the date of the Halifax Resolves ) appear at the top and bottom, respectively, of the center part of the seal. Around the outside border of the seal are the phrases "The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina" and Esse Quam Videri, the state motto, meaning "to be rather than to seem."
J. Bryan Grimes, The History of the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina (rev. ed., 1974).
Grimes, J. Bryan. 1909. Great seal of the state of North Carolina: 1666-1909. North Carolina Historical Commission. Online at: http://digital.ncdcr.gov/u?/p249901coll22,398289 .
"Great seal and motto." North Carolina Museum of History. Online at http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/fko/booklet/page2.htm 
"State seal and motto." North Carolina General Assembly. Online at: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ncgainfo/educational/StateSeal.html 
"State seal and motto." North Carolina General Assembly. Online at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ncgainfo/educational/StateSeal.html 
1 January 2006 | Williams, Wiley J.