The Final Design of the Great Seal June 20, 1782
On June 13, 1782, Congress asked Charles Thomson to come up with a suitable design for America's Great Seal. With the reports and drawings of the three committees before him, he set to work.
Thomson incorporated symbolic elements from all three committees with ideas of his own to create a bold and elegant design. He made a sketch and wrote a description of his design.
In the eagle's beak, he placed a scroll with the first committee's motto: E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One).
For the reverse side of the Great Seal, Thomson used Barton's suggestion: an unfinished pyramid with the eye of Providence in its zenith, but added a triangle around the eye (like the first committee did).
After consulting with William Barton, the position of the eagle was changed to "displayed" (wings spread with tips up) and the chevrons on the shield were changed to the vertical stripes we see today.
Thomson submitted this design to Congress on June 20, 1782,
The first die was cut three months later, and on September 16, 1782, the Great Seal was impressed on a document for the first time. (That die was the obverse, eagle side. A die for the reverse, pyramid side has never been created.)
In 2004, GreatSeal.com commissioned wildlife artist Cy Hundley
Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal.
Copyright ©2016 by John D. MacArthur.