The first seal that represented what would become North Dakota was that of Dakota Territory. The image featured many of the same elements that the state’s modern seal has, including the motto (though its words were out of order) “Liberty and Union Now and Forever, One and Inseparable,” chosen in 1863. The words were part of Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster’s 1830 speech to his colleagues. He had been voicing his response in a senate debate concerning the issue of slavery, proper role of government and function of the Union.
In 1863, when Dakota Territory chose Webster’s words for the seal, they carried a message that was even more powerful than when they were spoken: the Union was being ripped apart by the Civil War. Americans yearned for peace, togetherness, reconciliation, freedom and unity.
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