The Seal of Arkansas State

The Seal of Arkansas State

The Arkansas State Seal was adopted in 1864 and modified to its present form on May 23, 1907. The outer ring of the seal contains the text “Great Seal of the State of Arkansas“. The inner seal contains the Angel of Mercy, the Sword of Justice and the Goddess of Liberty surrounded by a bald eagle.

The eagle holds in its beak a scroll inscribed with the Latin phrase “Regnat Populus”, the state motto, which means “The People Rule”. (The scroll read “Regnant Populi” prior to 1907.) On the shield of the seal are a steamboat, a plow, a beehive and a sheaf of wheat, symbols of Arkansas‘s industrial and agricultural wealth. The Arkansas General Assembly redefined the seal explicitly in 1864.

The Arkansas Code details the elements used in the state seal ever since: An eagle at the bottom, holding a scroll in its beak inscribed Regnat Populus, with a bundle of arrows in one claw and an olive branch in the other; a shield covering the breast of the eagle, engraved with a steamboat at the top, a beehive and plow in the middle, and a sheaf of wheat at the bottom; the Goddess of Liberty at the top, holding a wreath in her right hand, a pole in the left hand, surmounted by a liberty cap, and surrounded by a circle of stars outside of which is a circle of rays; the figure of an angel on the left, inscribed “mercy;” and a sword on the right hand, inscribed “justice” and surrounded with the words “seal of the State of Arkansas.

Today’s Arkansas State Seal retains many of the symbolic elements of its territorial predecessor. Arkansas Code 1-4-108 requires the governor to procure a seal bearing the following elements: an eagle at the bottom, holding a scroll in its beak inscribed Regnat Populus, with a bundle of arrows in one claw and an olive branch in the other; a shield covering the breast of the eagle, engraved with a steamboat at the top, a beehive and plow in the middle, and a sheaf of wheat at the bottom; the Goddess of Liberty at the top, holding a wreath in her right hand, a pole in the left hand, surmounted by a liberty cap, and surrounded by a circle of stars outside of which is a circle of rays; the figure of an angel on the left, inscribed “Mercy;” and a sword on the right hand, inscribed “Justice” and surrounded with the words “Seal of the State of Arkansas.”