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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Great seal of the state of North Carolina

Seal, State

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."

Photograph of Gov. Kerr Scott passing the Great Seal of NC to Gov. William Umstead, January 1953.  Item H.1966.109.14 from the North Carolina Museum of History. Used courtesy of the Department of Cultural Resources.

References:

J. Bryan Grimes, The History of the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina (rev. ed., 1974).

Additional information:

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.

"State seal and motto." North Carolina General Assembly. Online at: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ncgainfo/educational/StateSeal.html

Image credit:

"State seal and motto." North Carolina General Assembly. Online at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/ncgainfo/educational/StateSeal.html (accessed September 25, 2014).

"Photograph [Gov. Scott passing the Great Seal of NC to Gov. Umstead]," Accession #: H.1966.109.14. 1953. North Carolina Museum of History. (accessed September 25, 2014).

 
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Comments

Comment: 

Nice Site

Comment: 

I “love” this site its the “best”

Comment: 

I wanted to know the importance of a state seal but clearly I didn’t get that. So get back to work and try harder than you did the last time.

Comment: 

Right?

Comment: 

It seems incredibly ironic that we have a seal that claims our state prefers "to be rather than to seem," yet includes the date of May 20th, 1775 because it makes North Carolinians seem more patriotic than the rest of the country. Have there ever been any efforts in the NCGA to remove the myth from our flag and seal (or at least change the date to May 30th, 1775)?

Comment: 

is Esse Quam Videri latten or german?

Comment: 

Hello, 

Great question! Please take a look at the article about the state motto. https://www.ncpedia.org/motto-esse-quam-videri-be-rather

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

i agree

Comment: 

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

Comment: 

that is way to long

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