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What Is the State Motto of Louisiana?

Louisiana's state motto, "Union, Justice, and Confidence," embodies the core values that have shaped its rich cultural tapestry. This triad of principles reflects a commitment to community, fairness, and the steadfast spirit of its people. How do these powerful words influence life in the Pelican State today? Join us as we explore their impact on Louisiana's identity and spirit.
Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee

The official state motto of Louisiana, "Union, Justice, Confidence," was adopted in 1902. No one is sure how this specific motto came to be chosen for the state of Louisiana, but its theme of unity is reflected in the official mottoes of several other American states. The state motto of Louisiana is said to reflect the aspirations and ideals of its citizens. The motto reflects the unity of purpose presumably experienced by all of Louisiana's residents, and their collective confidence in the power of justice. The state motto of Louisiana appears on the state's flag, and on its great seal.

The great seal of the state of Louisiana was adopted on 30 April 1902, by which time the state's motto had already been chosen. Credit for the design of the Louisiana state seal, and for the choice of state motto, usually goes to Governor William Wright Heard, who was in office at the time. It is believed that Heard himself chose the state motto based on his own concept of what ideals are important to sustain a functioning state government.

The official state motto of Louisiana was adopted in 1902.
The official state motto of Louisiana was adopted in 1902.

The motto of Louisiana appears on the state's current flag and seal accompanied by the brown pelican. This bird, which has long been used to represent the perceived ideals of the citizens of Louisiana, is the state's officially recognized bird symbol. The use of the brown pelican in Louisiana's official symbolism is said to date back to the first years of the 19th century, when the state's first governor, William C.C. Claiborne, began using it as a territorial and, later, state symbol. Popular mythology at the time stated that the brown pelican would habitually feed its young on its own flesh when other sources of food could not be found. Governor Claiborne is said to have admired the symbolism of this mythological act so much that he decided the brown pelican should represent the state of Louisiana and its residents.

Governor Heard is believed to have carried on this symbolic tradition when he chose the brown pelican to appear on the state's great seal in 1902. The pelican on the seal is depicted in the act of nurturing its young by feeding them scraps of its own flesh. The state motto of Louisiana appears on the seal with the words "Union" and "Justice" emblazoned above the pelican, and the word "Justice" written beneath. On the state flag of Louisiana, the motto appears written on a ribbon beneath the pelican and her chicks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the state motto of Louisiana?

The state motto of Louisiana is "Union, Justice, Confidence." This motto reflects the values that are significant to the state's history and culture. It was officially adopted in 1902 and is meant to symbolize the belief in fair laws and governance (justice), the strength found in the unity of its diverse population (union), and the trust in the integrity of the state's institutions (confidence).

When was Louisiana's state motto adopted?

Louisiana's state motto, "Union, Justice, Confidence," was adopted in 1902. The adoption of the motto came at a time when the state was undergoing significant changes and was looking to the future with a sense of hope and resilience.

What does each element of the Louisiana state motto represent?

Each element of the Louisiana state motto has a specific meaning. "Union" represents the coming together of the state's diverse population, including its French, Spanish, African, and Native American heritage. "Justice" signifies the state's commitment to fairness and equality under the law. "Confidence" reflects the trust that the people of Louisiana place in their state's institutions and governance.

How is the state motto of Louisiana used today?

Today, the state motto of Louisiana is used to embody the spirit and values of the state. It appears on the state seal and is often referenced in government ceremonies and official documents. The motto serves as a reminder of the principles that guide the state's leadership and its citizens.

Are there any historical landmarks in Louisiana that feature the state motto?

Yes, there are historical landmarks in Louisiana where the state motto is featured. The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, for example, displays the motto as part of its architecture. Additionally, the motto can be found on the Great Seal of Louisiana, which is used in various state government buildings and official state documents.

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Discussion Comments

Ivan83

Wow, that one bit about the brown pelican is pretty intense. It says mythological act but is there any truth to this? Nature has produced weirder behaviors so maybe its possible.

Regardless, I like the slogan, especially the confidence part. It seems like a lot of state mottos have a certain kind of swagger. I am from Kansas and our state motto is a Greek phrase that basically translates as "To the stars with determination" Pretty bold for quiet old Kansas.

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    • The official state motto of Louisiana was adopted in 1902.
      By: metrue
      The official state motto of Louisiana was adopted in 1902.