The Seal of Indiana State

The Seal of Indiana State

The Seal of The State of Indiana is used by the Governor of Indiana to certify official documents. The Seal of Indiana has gone through several revisions since the region was a part of the Northwest Territory. It is likely the original seal, which is similar to the current one, was created by William Henry Harrison during his administration of the Indiana Territory. The current design of the Seal of Indiana was standardized by the Indiana General Assembly in 1963.

The Indiana State Seal has a convoluted history. With the creation of the Northwest Territory in 1787, the seal depicted a coiled snake in the foreground, boats in the mid-ground, a rising sun, a tree being chopped into logs, and a fruit-bearing apple tree. When the Indiana Territory was created in 1800 no mention was made of a seal, yet a new unofficial seal soon appeared that showed a setting sun in the background, a buffalo in the foreground, and a man cutting down a tree.

In 1816, the new state constitution called for the creation of a Seal of Indiana and a bill was passed, but it contained no description, so numerous unofficial versions came into use. In an attempt to end the confusion, a Senate Bill in 1895 declared that Indiana ‘s State Seal would depict within a circle, a woodsman felling a tree, a setting sun to the right, a buffalo fleeing through a plain to the left, and at the top, the motto “Loyalty.”

However, that bill was never passed. The twentieth-century brought more debate. In 1905, Eminent Indiana historian Jacob P. Dunn argued that there was no location in Indiana that would furnish a setting sun over mountains as depicted in the seal, so the sun must be rising to indicate Indiana ‘s location west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Finally, in 1963, Indiana State Seal and description were officially adopted, showing a woodsman felling a tree, a buffalo fleeing from the forest, and the sun setting over the mountains. However, the issue of a whether the sun should be described as setting or rising is still a matter of debate.


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