A motto is a short phrase that represents a goal, belief, or motivation.
The United States’ motto is “In God We Trust,” declared by Congress and approved into legislation by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. But each U.S. states have its motto. Sometimes U.S. State mottos can be seen on state flags, seals. Some U.S states formally assigned a state motto by an act of the state legislature.
The oldest motto still in use is that of Puerto Rico – “Johannes est nomen ejus”, given to the island by the Spanish in 1511. The motto of the Virgin Islands, “United in Pride and Hope” first appeared only in 1991.
The most popular languages for U.S. state mottos
Not surprisingly, English and Latin are the commonly used languages for state mottos, each accepted by twenty-five U.S. states and territories. Seven states and territories use another language.
The state of South Carolina has two official mottos, both in Latin. Vermont, North Dakota, and Kentucky additionally have 2 mottos in Latin and English. All other U.S. states and territories have just one motto.