The Arms of the US States

Heraldry in the United States
Jonathan Webster
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby Jonathan Webster » 09 Sep 2013, 14:18

JMcMillan wrote:
It is armorial, but since the arms on it were already those of the United States, they can't be the arms of Illinois.


Could not an argument be made for the shield on the Illinois Seal to be the Arms of Illinois? Yes,
the Arms on the shield are very similar to those of the United States but as we all know (or should); the Arms of the United States do not have thirteen stars on the chief, and the Arms on that shield are also palewise of twelve pieces rather than thirteen and it is Gules first then Argent rather than the other way around as in the National Arms. The same argument could be used for Mississippi: yes, the Arms are based on those of the United States, but again, the Arms of the US do not have eleven stars on the chief either, and the supporter is a different tincture from that of the United States, and the shield is divided palewise in eleven pieces, not thirteen. In that sense, as they are borne on seals and seals that depict Arms by their very nature depict the Arms of the person, corporation or state they represent, why aren't they the Arms of these states? Surely the stars, as well as the other differences are enough to difference them from the Arms from the US themselves.

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JMcMillan
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby JMcMillan » 09 Sep 2013, 17:07

Deleted--duplicate post and couldn't find the "delete" button.
Last edited by JMcMillan on 09 Sep 2013, 17:13, edited 1 time in total.
Joseph McMillan
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JMcMillan
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby JMcMillan » 09 Sep 2013, 17:09

JMcMillan wrote:
Jonathan Webster wrote:
JMcMillan wrote:
It is armorial, but since the arms on it were already those of the United States, they can't be the arms of Illinois.


Could not an argument be made for the shield on the Illinois Seal to be the Arms of Illinois? Yes,
the Arms on the shield are very similar to those of the United States but as we all know (or should); the Arms of the United States do not have thirteen stars on the chief, and the Arms on that shield are also palewise of twelve pieces rather than thirteen and it is Gules first then Argent rather than the other way around as in the National Arms. The same argument could be used for Mississippi: yes, the Arms are based on those of the United States, but again, the Arms of the US do not have eleven stars on the chief either, and the supporter is a different tincture from that of the United States, and the shield is divided palewise in eleven pieces, not thirteen. In that sense, as they are borne on seals and seals that depict Arms by their very nature depict the Arms of the person, corporation or state they represent, why aren't they the Arms of these states? Surely the stars, as well as the other differences are enough to difference them from the Arms from the US themselves.


I don't buy it in the case of Illinois because there are too many other erroneous emblazonments of the U.S. arms on various seals, of which this is (to me) clearly one. For example, at one time the Department of Justice seal ...

Image

also showed stars on the chief and the wrong number of stripes, but there was clearly no intent to create thereby a new coat of arms, and the seal was eventually corrected.

In Mississippi's case, there is already an official coat of arms as well as a seal. The present seal...
Image

is yet another erroneous emblazonment of the U.S. arms, deriving from the original seal of the Mississippi Territory, which was a correct emblazonment of the U.S. arms...

Image
...that has been corrupted over the years, doubtless by exporting the SVG file to JPEG format over and over. ;)

The Mississippi arms are an interesting if not attractive hybrid.

Image

Note the starless chief in this emblazonment from the official state website, but still the wrong number of stripes--neither specified in the law on the coat of arms. In fact, that law doesn't mention the U.S. shield at all. What is says is: "a shield, blue in color, with an eagle upon it with extended pinions, holding in the right talon a palm branch and bundle of arrows in the left, with the word "Mississippi" above the eagle; the lettering on the shield and the eagle to be in gold" (Miss. Code Sec. 3-3-41).

Now this legally prescribed blazon, minus the name of the state in chief, would make a very passable coat of arms: "Azure an eagle displayed with wings inverted Or holding in the dexter talon a palm branch and in the sinister a sheaf of arrows proper." Of course, the symbols are so little evocative of the state that without the name tag ("Hi, my name is MISSISSIPPI") no one would know whose arms they were.
Joseph McMillan
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Mike_Oettle
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby Mike_Oettle » 26 Feb 2015, 20:45

While our American brethren are strenuously in denial about this, it cannot really be disputed that an awful lot of what passes for the heraldry of US states amounts to rather amateurish re-hashings of the arms of the United States.

As for the symbol of Texas as illustrated on the first page of this thread, it bears a striking resemblance to the emblem of the Repubblica Italiana, minus the cog wheel (the wreaths are also reversed).
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Mike
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[Proverbs 14:27]

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Ton de Witte
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby Ton de Witte » 27 Feb 2015, 09:41

but as the republica Italiana only started after the the end of WWII I think their emblem bears resemblance to that of Texas ;)
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GSelvester
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby GSelvester » 28 Feb 2015, 19:33

Correct!

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JMcMillan
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby JMcMillan » 28 Feb 2015, 20:46

Mike_Oettle wrote:While our American brethren are strenuously in denial about this, it cannot really be disputed that an awful lot of what passes for the heraldry of US states amounts to rather amateurish re-hashings of the arms of the United States.



Who's in denial about the awfulness (in heraldic terms) of much of our state symbolism?

But there isn't really that much that can be called re-hashing of the U.S. arms. The seals of only two (Mississippi and Illinois) can fairly be categorized that way, and both of them began in the territorial period as straightforward and more or less competent emblazonments (Mississippi more, Illinois less) of the U.S. arms. (Note that the picture we have of the Illinois territorial seal is an amateur sketch and probably not a precise depiction.)

The only other presence of the U.S. arms in state heraldry or seals that I can think of off-hand is the marshalling of the national arms in the arms of Alabama, Missouri, and Wisconsin, and a tiny U.S. shield in the seal of Wyoming.

That's a total of 6 out of 50, 12%, with any use of the national arms, amateurish or otherwise. Hardly "an awful lot," I'd say.

Excoriate the quality of much of U.S. state symbolism if you like, and I'll be right alongside, but not for rehashing the U.S. arms.
Joseph McMillan
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Mike_Oettle
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby Mike_Oettle » 01 Mar 2015, 16:36

Conceded, Joe. In fact, after I had logged off it struck me that I should have added the words “and of the federal government’s departments and agencies”.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.
[Proverbs 14:27]

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JMcMillan
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby JMcMillan » 01 Mar 2015, 21:58

Mike,

The subject of the use of the U.S. arms on seals is a fascinating one in its own right and one I hope to address systematically someday, if I ever finish any of my 90%-complete ongoing projects! If you think about it, the question is not so much "why do so many federal agency seals have the U.S. arms on them" as "why do so many NOT have the U.S. arms on them?"
Joseph McMillan
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Mike_Oettle
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Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby Mike_Oettle » 05 Mar 2015, 15:23

Well, Joe, it seems that you have work waiting for you! ;-)
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.
[Proverbs 14:27]


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