State mottos across America: Full list of the slogans for all 50 states, plus DC

Every state is different, and each distinguishes itself by its natural landmarks, attractions and symbols. Along with a state nickname, the 50 states are known by individual mottos that represent their founding or key features.

The United States has a national motto of its own. "In God We Trust" is the U.S. motto, reaffirmed by the House in 2011. But several other mottos have found their place in the national lexicon, one such is "E pluribus unum" or "Out of many, one." President Barack Obama referred to the Latin phrase as the national motto in a speech in 2010.

Here's what you should know about the state motto for each state:


Alabama's state motto is "Audemus jura nostra defendere," a Latin phrase that translates to "We dare maintain our rights."


Alaska's state motto is "North to the Future," chosen in 1967 during the Alaska Purchase Centennial to represent "Alaska as a land of promise."


"Ditat Deus" is Arizona's state motto, which means "God enriches."


Arkansas' state motto is "Regnat Populus," which translates from Latin to "The people rule."


"Eureka" has been California's state motto since 1963, but the word has appeared on the state seal since 1849 as a reference to the discovery of gold in California.


Colorado's motto is "Nil Sine Numine," which translates from Latin to "Nothing without providence or deity."


Connecticut's state motto is "Qui Transtulit Sustinet," which means "He who transplanted still sustains." According to Connecticut's state government site, possible origins trace to the psalm "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it."


Delaware's state motto has been "Liberty and Independence" since 1847. The state also adopted a tourist slogan in 2015, "Delaware: Endless Discoveries."

District of Columbia

Though technically not a state, Washington, D.C. still has a motto: "Justitia Omnibus," which means "Justice for All."


Florida's motto is the same as the nation's motto: "In God We Trust."


Georgia's state motto appears as three pillars on its state seal: "Wisdom, Justice and Moderation."


Hawaii's state motto comes from King Kamehameha III in 1843 and was uttered as the Hawaiian flag rose again after a brief period of British occupation: "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono," or "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."


Idaho's state motto is "Esto Perpetua," which translates to "Let it be perpetual," "It is forever" or "Be eternal."


Illinois' state motto is "State Sovereignty, National Union."


Since 1937, Indiana's state motto has been "The Crossroads of America."


Iowa's state motto is "Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain."


Kansas' state motto "Ad astra per aspera" means "To the stars through difficulties" and is aptly illustrated on the state seal, which depicts a farm below a sky of stars.


Kentucky's state motto is "United we stand, divided we fall." It comes from "Liberty Song" by John Dickinson, a song from 1768 that Kentucky's first governor was fond of. Kentucky also has an official Latin motto, "Deo gratiam habeamus," or "Let us be grateful to God."


Louisiana's state motto is "Union, Justice, Confidence."


Maine's state motto is "Dirigo," which means "I direct" or "I guide."


Maryland's state motto is an Italian proverb: "Fatti maschii, parole femine" which generally translates to "strong deeds, gentle words," the state of Maryland says. The saying dates to Calvert family, the Roman Catholic founders of the Maryland colony. But according to literary translator Antony Shugaar, the phrase more closely translates to "manly deeds, womanly words."


Massachusetts' state motto since 1775 is "Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem," which is Latin for "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty."


Michigan also has a Latin state motto, "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice," translating to "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."


"L’etoile du Nord" is Minnesota's state nickname, which is a French phrase meaning "Star of the North."


Mississippi's state motto is "Virtute et Armis," which means "By valor and arms."


"Salus populi suprema lex esto" is Missouri's state motto. The exact translation has been debated but was originally intended to mean "Let the good of the people be the supreme law," as proposed by William Wells in 1847 when he designed the state seal. Today, the Secretary of State's office says it means “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.”


Montana's state motto is "Oro y Plata," which is Spanish for "Gold and Silver." This motto is in tandem with Montana's state nickname, "The Treasure State," both named for the state's mineral wealth.


Nebraska's official state motto is “Equality Before the Law.”


Nevada's state motto is "All for Our Country."

New Hampshire

Perhaps one of the most prominent state mottos across residents' license plates, hats, shirts, flags and other state memorabilia is New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die," which comes from a statement written by Revolutionary General John Stark.

New Jersey

New Jersey's state motto is "Liberty and Prosperity." The state also voted on the slogan "New Jersey: Come See For Yourself" in 2006 to attract tourists.

New Mexico

New Mexico's state motto is "Crescit Eundo," which translates from Latin to “It grows as it goes."

New York

If you've ever seen the movie "Silver Linings Playbook," you may know this one. New York's state motto is "Excelsior," which translates to "Ever Upward."

North Carolina

North Carolina's state motto is “Esse quam videri,” meaning “To be, rather than to seem.”

North Dakota

“Liberty and Union Now and Forever, One and Inseparable" is North Dakota's state motto. According to, this was also the motto of the Dakota Territory, the unorganized states of North and South Dakota prior to 1889.


Ohio's state motto is "With God, All Things Are Possible," decided after a 12-year-old boy won a contest to select the motto in the 1950s. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state of Ohio in 1997, saying this motto was a violation of the separation of church and state. But the motto remained when the district court judge ruled that it didn't make reference to any one religion and was a generic reference to God.


Oklahomans know "Labor Omnia Vincit" or "Work conquers all" as the phrase on the state seal, but it technically isn't defined as the state's official motto. In fact, only 38% of Oklahoma residents could identify the motto, a 2021 survey found. A 2012 Oklahoma House resolution even tried to establish "In God We Trust," the national motto, as Oklahoma's as well. And in 2021, Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall proposed an $85,000 bill to prominently display the phrase on state buildings.


"She Flies With Her Own Wings" has been Oregon's state motto since 1987. Before that, it was "The Union."


Pennsylvania's state motto is "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence." 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island's state motto is a single word: "Hope." The state also created the slogan "Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer" in 2016 to garner tourists but quickly attracted backlash on social media.

South Carolina

South Carolina has two state mottos that appear on the state seal in two ovals. The first is "Animis Opibusque Parati" meaning "Prepared in mind and resources" and the second is "Dum Spiro Spero," which means "While I breathe I hope."

South Dakota

South Dakota's state motto is "Under God the People Rule." The state also has a motto that accompanies its state flower, the American Pasque. According to the state's official site, "I lead" is the floral emblem motto.


Tennessee's state motto has been "Agriculture and Commerce" since 1801 because of the state's large agriculture sector.


Texas' state motto is also a one-word wonder: "Friendship." According to the Texas State Historical Association, the word was chosen in 1930 because the state name came roughly from a Caddo Indian word translating to "friends."


Utah's state motto is "Industry." According to Utah History Encyclopedia, the motto became official in 1959 and was chosen because of its connection with the beehive symbol, also in Utah's state nickname.


Vermont's state motto is "Freedom and Unity" as displayed on the state seal.


"Sic Semper Tyrannis" is Virginia's state motto. The Latin phrase means "Thus always to tyrants."


Washington has a territorial motto, but it's never been formally adopted by the legislature, its state government site says. "Al-ki" or "Alki" is a Chinook word that means "Bye and Bye" or "By and By."

West Virginia

West Virginia's state motto is "Montani Semper Liberi," which is Latin for "Mountaineers are always free." A 2007 vote also established "Wild, Wonderful" as West Virginia's state slogan.


"Forward" is Wisconsin's state motto, chosen in 1851 when the state seal and coat of arms were revised.


Wyoming's state motto is "Equal Rights." The state is also nicknamed "Equality State," as it was the first territory in the U.S. to give women the right to vote.

Discover more unique symbols for your state:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US state mottos: See full list of adopted slogans across America