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What Is the State Motto of New Mexico?

Britt Archer
Britt Archer

A Republican senator so disliked the state motto of New Mexico that he introduced legislation to change it to something more meaningful. The measure failed, leaving Crescit Eundo to remain as of the official motto. In English the phrase means, “It Grows as it Goes.” Sen. Joseph J. Carraro, who represented Sandoval and Bernalillo counties when he introduced the change in 2005, preferred “Respect the Past, and Embrace the Future,” or Antiqua Suspice, Crastina Accipe in Latin.

Senator Carraro wanted to change the state motto of New Mexico because he didn’t think it made much sense. He told an interviewer that he didn’t understand the meaning behind the phrase, and when he questioned the state’s schoolchildren, they didn’t grasp the meaning either. The state motto of New Mexico derives its meaning from a poem written in the first century by Lucretius, and it refers to a thunderbolt streaking across the sky, growing bolder and mightier the longer its magnificent journey continues.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Legislators failed to pass the law that would have made Antiqua Suspice, Crastina Accipe the state motto, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have fun with the idea. Some senators proposed another motto, tongue in cheek: Gracias a Dios por Mississippi, or “Thank God for Mississippi." Mississippi is often the only state that scores lower than New Mexico in statistical reports regarding the economy and some social issues.

The state motto of New Mexico is engraved on the state’s official seal. The motto was an addition in 1882 to the original seal of the New Mexico Territory, designed in 1851. A large eagle sits in the center of the seal, with the state motto displayed below the eagle on a fluttering banner.

The official flag does not include the state motto of New Mexico, although many states incorporate their motto in their flags’ designs. The state flag has a golden or yellow background on which sits a red sun with many rays. The colors of red and yellow represent New Mexico’s Spanish heritage. Ancient Native Americans, known as the Zia, used this symbol of the sun with four sides of rays to portray the celestial body.

New Mexico gave another nod to the Zia when it designed its capitol building, which is also known as the Roundhouse. Located in the city of Santa Fe, the Roundhouse is unique in that it is the only round capitol created by any of the 50 states. If a person were able to view the Roundhouse from the sky, it would look like the Zia symbol for the sun which is used on the state flag.

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