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What Is the State Motto of New Mexico?

New Mexico's state motto, "Crescit eundo," translates to "It grows as it goes," reflecting a spirit of progress and perseverance. This Latin phrase encapsulates the state's journey from its rich cultural past to its dynamic present. How does this motto resonate with the Land of Enchantment's vibrant history and diverse landscapes? Join us as we explore the depths of New Mexico's heritage.
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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the state motto of New Mexico?

The state motto of New Mexico is "Crescit eundo," which translates to "It grows as it goes." This phrase is a reflection of the state's spirit of progress and perseverance. It was adopted as part of the state seal in 1887, even before New Mexico became a state in 1912. The motto symbolizes the idea that with each step forward, the state's strength and influence continue to grow.

Where does New Mexico's state motto come from?

New Mexico's state motto, "Crescit eundo," is derived from Book VI of Lucretius' epic philosophical poem "De rerum natura" (On the Nature of Things). The original context of the phrase is a description of a thunderbolt gaining strength as it moves across the sky, which metaphorically aligns with New Mexico's growth and development over time.

How is the state motto of New Mexico used today?

The state motto of New Mexico is prominently featured on the state seal and is used in various official capacities. It appears on state government documents, emblems, and is a source of pride for New Mexicans. The motto encapsulates the state's history of overcoming challenges and its continuous development, serving as an inspirational reminder of the state's dynamic nature.

What are some key symbols associated with New Mexico's state motto and seal?

Alongside the state motto "Crescit eundo," the New Mexico state seal includes symbols such as the American Bald Eagle, representing the United States, and the Mexican Eagle, clutching a serpent in its beak and cactus in its talons, symbolizing the historical Spanish and Native American heritage. The seal also features the date 1912, the year New Mexico was admitted to the Union as the 47th state.

What significance does the state motto hold for the people of New Mexico?

For the people of New Mexico, the state motto "Crescit eundo" holds deep significance as it embodies the state's resilience and adaptability. It reflects the diverse cultural heritage and the rich history of the state, from its indigenous roots to Spanish colonization and its evolution into a modern American state. The motto serves as a unifying and inspirational phrase, celebrating New Mexico's continuous growth and potential.

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