What Is the State Motto of Missouri?

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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2019
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The state motto of Missouri is “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto.” This Latin phrase translates to “the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.” Another translation variation is “Let the good of the people be the supreme law.” Missouri's state motto originated from Roman lawyer and philosopher Marcus Cicero's work, De Legibus, or On Laws in English.

The state motto of Missouri was officially adopted in 1822. It is featured on the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, which was adopted on 11 January of that year, by the Missouri General Assembly. Composed of many symbolisms, the seal was designed by Judge Robert William Wells. It has a circular shape with “The Great Seal Of The State Of Missouri” written at the edges of the first circle.

Within the second circle, there are 23 small stars and one large star, symbolizing Missouri’s status as the 24th state in the United States. Two large grizzly bears stand at the outer edges of the inner circle, symbolizing the bravery of the citizens of Missouri and the strength of the state. The two grizzlies are perched on a scroll bearing an inscription of Missouri's state motto.


Other interesting facts about the state seal include the image of the shield between the two bears, which is divided in two. The left side displays the inscription “United We Stand,” while the right side displays the inscription “Divided We Fall.” Underneath the scroll with the words adopted as the state motto of Missouri, is the Roman numeral “MDCCCXX” representing the year 1820, which was when Missouri officially started functioning as a state.

The flag also bears a depiction of the seal with the state motto of Missouri. It has three horizontal stripes, which are blue, white and red. Apart from the official state motto, Missouri has unofficial nicknames as well. For instance, it is also known as “The Show Me State,” "The Bullion State” and the “Mother Of The West.”

Missouri has several other official state symbols. The official state animal is the Missouri mule, while the official state bird is the bluebird. Missouri’s official state aquatic animal is the paddlefish, and the official state fish is the channel catfish. The state tree is the flowering dogwood, while the state nut tree is the eastern black walnut tree.


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