The Arms of the US States

Heraldry in the United States
Ryan Shuflin
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Joined: 26 Jul 2012, 13:00
Location: Germany

Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby Ryan Shuflin » 30 Apr 2015, 17:35

What about cities and municipalities with US inspired arms?

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JMcMillan
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Joined: 13 Jul 2012, 22:33
Location: United States

Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby JMcMillan » 30 Apr 2015, 20:04

Ryan Shuflin wrote:What about cities and municipalities with US inspired arms?


Chicago's the only major one that comes to mind, although I'm sure there are others. The U.S. arms are quartered in some city seals or otherwise referenced, but this is the only one I can think of off hand in which the U.S. shield is the main element.

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Interestingly, the 1837 legal description of the seal would not necessarily lead to quite as awful a result: "a representation of a shield, with a sheaf of wheat in the centre; a ship in full sail on the right; a sleeping infant on the top; an Indian with bow and arrow on the left; and with the motto, ‘Urbs in Horto’, at the bottom of the shield."
Joseph McMillan
Alexandra, Virginia, USA

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JMcMillan
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Joined: 13 Jul 2012, 22:33
Location: United States

Re: The Arms of the US States

Postby JMcMillan » 01 Jun 2016, 14:45

I just noticed that this thread captioned "The Arms of the US States" has very few examples of said arms. Let me rectify that omission, starting alphabetically with Alabama.

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The state coat of arms of Alabama was adopted by the state legislature in 1939 and is explained in the law as representing "the flags of four of the five nations which have at various times held sovereignty over a part or the whole of what is now the state of Alabama: Spain, France, Great Britain and the Confederacy. The union binding these flags shall be the shield of the United States. . . . The crest of the coat of arms shall be a ship representing the Badine which brought the French colonists who established the first permanent white settlements in the state. Beneath the shield there shall be a scroll containing the sentence in Latin: Audemus jura nostra defendere, the English interpretation of which is 'We Dare Maintain Our Rights.'"

As a native Alabamian, I will preemptively concede that this is not good heraldry, for all the obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, the latter including that there's not a single element that is distinctively "Alabama." My preference would have been to use the very good state flag for the shield (Argent a saltire Gules), the crest created by the Institute of Heraldry for units of the Alabama National Guard (a cotton boll), and a pair of yellowhammers (flickers, Colaptes aureatus, a species of woodpecker, the state bird) with wings elevated and addorsed for supporters. But the arms have been around long enough and are widely enough used that it's probably out of the question to change them at this point.
Joseph McMillan
Alexandra, Virginia, USA


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