Second Design for the Great Seal

1780

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution directing that Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson form a committee to design a seal, emblem, or coat of arms to represent the new sovereign nation of free people. Francis Hopkinson submitted the design shown here in 1780. Although his scheme was not accepted, several of its components were incorporated into Charles Thomson's approved design of 1782. Hopkinson introduced the olive branch as a symbol of peace. He also suggested the red, white, and blue colors for the shield.

National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention


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