"HE has favored our undertaking"
Origin and Meaning
of the Motto above the Eye
Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson
suggested "Annuit Coeptis" when he put together the final design of the
Great Seal in June 1782.
He placed the motto at the top of the
Seal's reverse side, where its meaning is associated with the
Eye of Providence
in a triangle surrounded by
Thomson did not provide an exact
translation of the motto, but he
explained its symbolism:
The Eye and the motto Annuit
"allude to the many signal
interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause."
means unusual, notable, outstanding.
means intervention. (In this case, a divine intervention.)
Many leaders of the
American Revolution felt that Providence had a hand in securing their
Independence, particularly George Washington who often referred to the
"smiles of Providence."
"I salute you Gentlemen
most Affectionately, and beg leave to remind you, that Liberty, Honor, and
Safety are all at stake, and I trust Providence will smile upon our
Efforts, and establish us once more, the Inhabitants of a free and happy
Country." (August 8, 1776)
"The many remarkable
interpositions of the divine government, in the hours of our deepest
distress and darkness, have been too luminous to suffer me to doubt the
happy issue of the present contest." (March 26, 1781)
"The Commander in Chief earnestly recommends that the
troops not on duty should universally attend with that seriousness of
Deportment and gratitude of Heart which the
recognition of such reiterated and astonishing
interpositions of Providence demand of us." (October 20, 1781)
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