Who Came Up With Michigan’s Great Seal/Coat of Arms Design and What Does It Mean?
Have you ever looked at the Michigan Great Seal/Coat of Arms?
Have you wondered what the words mean and why these certain images were chosen to represent Michigan?
And what the difference between the two are?
One thing I've noticed about our Great Seal – you have to be picky who you choose to do the artwork. There are many different artists renditions, some looking very amateurish, while others are very impressive.
Michigan's Great Seal was designed by Michigan's second territorial governor, Lewis Cass (Cass County and Cassopolis bear his name) who got the idea from a business called the Hudson Bay Fur Company. He was so impressed with their logo, he used basically the same art design, with a few changes to depict Michigan.
Cass was impressed with their Coat of Arms that featured two elk facing each other, a fox sitting on a red cap, a red cross within a shield and four brown beavers. Hudson Bay's Coat of Arms appeared for the first time in 1671, changing very little over the centuries. Cass presented his interpretation of the seal and it was adopted in June 1835 as Michigan's official Great Seal.
WHAT THE ITEMS ON THE SEAL MEAN:
1) E Pluribus Unum - “From Many, One”
2) American Eagle, America's national bird
3) The eagle holds an olive branch, meaning a desire for peace
4) The 13 olives on the branch represent the original thirteen colonies
5) Tuebor - “I Will Defend”
6) The shield in the middle is flanked by an elk on the left and a moose on the right
7) An image of a man holding a gun and his hand raised; the hand is raised in peace, and the gun signifies we're ready to defend our home and country
8) Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice - "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you". Many feel this is about the lower peninsula, but I feel it could signify either one, even though the upper peninsula didn't become a part of Michigan until 1837.
9) "The Great Seal of the State of Michigan, A.D. MDCCCXXXV" wraps it up
So what's the difference between Michigan's Great Seal and Michigan's Coat of Arms? If you eliminate the words and border, the Great Seal becomes the Coat of Arms.
The Seal has remained the same ever since 1911.
Michigan's Great Seal / Coat of Arms
MORE HISTORICAL MICHIGAN ITEMS: