The Motto of Each U.S. State, Mapped
Unless you pay a lot of attention to license plates, you’re probably not able to easily recall your state’s motto. Texas, California, New York, and other states sport distinctive phrases that help characterize their territory. All 50 U.S. states have one, spread across multiple languages including English, Latin, Spanish, and more.
Financial services resource CashNetUSA recently assembled a map featuring all of America's state mottos, and it makes for some intriguing exploration.
Many of these states have compelling stories behind their choice of a motto. In California, “Eureka!” (Greek for “I’ve found it!”) stems from the story of Archimedes realizing he could determine the purity of gold. He ran through the streets—naked—shouting “Eureka!” The phrase was later used in the original design of the state seal in 1849 at the height of the Gold Rush.
In Wyoming, “Equal Rights” refers to the state’s progressive attitude toward women's rights, having guaranteed them the right to vote, serve on juries, and hold public office beginning in 1869.
The most metal of these phrases, New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die,” came from General John Stark in 1809. He wrote a toast for a military event he couldn’t attend that read in part: “Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils.”