Did You Know Alabama State Motto?


The Alabama State Motto

The Alabama State motto is expressed in Latin as "Audemus jura nostra defendere" which means:

"We dare to defend our rights"

The motto is sometimes translated as "We dare to maintain our rights". The motto was approved on March 14, 1939.

The Meaning of the Alabama State Motto

The meaning of the Alabama Motto reflects the aspirations and concepts of freedom, justice and independence. The motto also reflects the history of the War of Independence and the part Alabama played in the American Civil War.

The Alabama motto

The design by Governor Bibb served as the official seal until 1868, when it was replaced by a controversial design featuring an eagle holding in its beak a banner that read "Here We Rest."

The History of the Alabama State Motto

In 1939 Marie Bankhead Owen, a Director of the Alabama Department of Archives & History, selected the words after being inspired by a poem called 'An Ode in Imitation of Alcaeus' written in 1781 by Sir William Jones (1746-1794) which poses the question "What constitutes a state?" An answer is shown in the following lines of the poem.

"What constitutes a state? ...

Men, who their duties know,

But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain,

Prevent the long-aim'd blow,

And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain:"

The Alabama State Nickname

The Alabama Motto is complimented by a less formal, popular Alabama State nickname which, combined with the State motto, are highly descriptive of people, the geography and the history of the state. The names used for the nicknames are:

Alabama State Nickname List

Heart of Dixie

Camellia State

Cotton State

Yellowhammer State

The Origin and Meaning of the Alabama Nicknames

Alabama is the only state that does not have an official nickname. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:

The Heart of Dixie Nickname

The origin of the word derives from the $10 bills that were issued by the Citizens Bank of Louisiana before the Civil War. The $10 notes bore the French word "dix" meaning the number ten. The word "Dixie" in the American vocabulary as a synonym for the Southern United States and the location of the state of Alabama gives rise to its nickname.

Camellia Nickname

The camellia flower, 'Camellia japonica', is the state flower of Alabama.

Cotton Nickname

This was a major 'cash crop' produced in the state of Alabama, part of the cotton belt.

Yellowhammer Nickname

The Yellowhammer is a flicker woodpecker which has yellow patches and is Alabama's state bird. The Yellowhammers was a name given to Confederate soldiers from Alabama. Legend tells that a troop of young cavalry soldiers from Huntsville wore fine, new uniforms with bright yellow patches on their sleeves, collars and coattails. These new uniforms stood out from faded, worn uniforms of veterans. The experienced soldiers poked fun at the young troops calling them "Yellowhammers" and the name stuck!

The Alabama Creed

A creed is a statement of beliefs. The Alabama creed was written by Mrs. H.P. Thetford, from the city of Birmingham in Alabama, and was adopted in 1953.

"I believe in Alabama, a state dedicated to a faith in

God and the enlightenment of mankind; to a democracy

that safeguards the liberties of each citizen and to

the conservation of her youth, her ideals, and her

soil. I believe it is my duty to obey her laws, to

respect her flag and to be alert to her needs and

generous in my efforts to foster her advancement within

the statehood of the world."

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