Matthew Thornton

On this day in 1803, Patriot, physician, surgeon, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Matthew Thornton dies at age 89. Thornton was also a New Hampshire delegate to the second Continental Congress. Additionally, he was the President of the five man committee that drafted the first New Hampshire constitution. In fact, New Hampshire was the first of the thirteen states to establish a constitution.

The Only Foundation

Back in 1775, as the newly elected President of the New Hampshire Provincial Congress,  Matthew Thornton wrote a letter To the Inhabitants of the Colony of New Hampshire. Here are a few excerpts:

Friends and Brethren: You must all be sensible that the affairs of America have at length come to a very affecting and alarming crisis.

Duty to God, to ourselves, to Posterity, enforced by the cries of slaughtered Innocents, have urged us to take up Arms in our Defense. … We would therefore recommend to the Colony at large to cultivate that Christian Union, Harmony and tender affection which is the only foundation upon which our invaluable privileges can rest with any security, or our public measures be pursued with the least prospect of success.

… In a word, we seriously and earnestly recommend the practice of that pure and undefiled religion which embalmed the memory of our pious ancestors, as that alone upon which we can build a solid hope and confidence in the Divine protection and favor, without whose blessing all the measures of safety we have or can propose will end in our shame and disappointment.”

Matthew Thornton


Flag of Minnesota

On this day in 1858, Minnesota becomes the 32nd state in the Union.
Here is the Preamble to the Constitution of the State of Minnesota:

“We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

The state flag, seen below, features the state seal. The state motto L’Étoile du Nord, is a French phrase meaning The Star of the North. Minnesota’s first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley, chose this phrase.

True North Star

In his first inaugural address, Sibley said “To Almighty God we should express our gratitude, that we have been preserved in our transition from a Territorial to a State Government[.]”

Then, he concluded by stating his “highest ambition” in conducting the affairs of the state was to not depart “from those principles of integrity and sound democratic policy, which have been the means, under Providence, of placing the American Union in the high position it now holds in the estimation of the world.”

Today, let’s get back to following our true north, aka our lost founding, in order to regain that high position.

Flag of Minnesota

The Great Seal of the State of New York

On this day in 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, the first New York state constitution is formally adopted. The Convention of Representatives of the State of New York met upstate in Kingston.

That first state constitution contains a good amount of the language found the Declaration of Independence. For example:

“We therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”


It goes on: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Finally, here is the current Preamble:
“We The People of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our Freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION.” 

Seal of the State of New York


Seal of Florida In God We Trust

On this day in 1845, Florida, nicknamed the “Sunshine State” becomes the twenty-seventh state in the Union.

First, here’s the the Preamble of the Florida Consitution

“We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its benefits, perfect our government, insure domestic tranquility, maintain public order, and guarantee equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this constitution.”


Additionally, Florida shares the “In God We Trust” motto with the United States, and it appears on the state seal, depicted below. The state flag combines overlays the seal on a St. Andrews Cross on a field of white.
Interestingly, the state’s first motto was “In God is our Trust.”
That is how the phrase appears in the fourth and final stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key.

You can find that specific verse on Our “Star-Spangled Motto” t-shirt HERE.


Seal of Florida In God We Trust

Michigan State Seal

On this day in 1837, President Andrew Jackson signs a bill making the two peninsulas of Michigan the 26th state in the Union. Previously, the Territory of Michigan was part of the Northwest Territory ceded under 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.

First, here’s the Constitution of Michigan Preamble:
We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, and earnestly desiring to secure these blessings undiminished to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.

Multiple Mottos

Also, the Great Seal, as seen below, contains three Latin mottos:
1) E Pluribus Unum, which means “Out of many, one,” and is a motto of the United States
2) Tuebor, translates to “I will defend”
3) Si Quæris Peninsulam Amœnam Circumspice, says “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you,” and this is the official state motto.

Finally, let us indeed look about. Our American heritage, in other words, Our Lost Founding, is worth defending for the sake of many, and for posterity.


Michigan State Seal

On this day in 1845, Texas becomes the 28th state of the Union.

First, here is the Preamble of the Constitution of the State of Texas:

“Humbly invoking the blessing of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

Next, a noteworthy condition concludes its Bill of Rights Article 1. Sec. 4.
RELIGIOUS TESTS. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

Lastly, according to the Texas State Flag Code, the “lone, independent star is recognized worldwide because it represents ALL of Texas and stands for our unity as one for God, State, and Country.


The Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

On this day in 1817, Mississippi becomes the 20th state in the Union.

The Great Seal of the State of Mississippi features the motto, “In God We Trust,” which is the same as the National Motto of the United States.

Here is the Preamble of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi:

“We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking his blessing on our work, do ordain and establish this constitution.”

Seal of Mississippi
Great Seal of the State of Delaware

On this day in 1787, Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, thereby becoming the first state of the United States.

Delaware was the first state to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” with its unanimous ratification of the Constitution. So, it’s fitting that the state motto is “Liberty and Independence,” as seen in the state seal depticted below.

Here is the Preamble of The Delaware Constitution:

Through Divine goodness, all people have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences, of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting reputation and property, and in general of obtaining objects suitable to their condition, without injury by one to another; and as these rights are essential to their welfare, for due exercise thereof, power is inherent in them; and therefore all just authority in the institutions of political society is derived from the people, and established with their consent, to advance their happiness; and they may for this end, as circumstances require, from time to time, alter their Constitution of government.

Seal of Delaware

Seal of Illinois

On this day in 1818, Illinois, commonly called the “Land of Lincoln,” becomes the twenty-first state in the Union.

Here is the Preamble of the Constitution of the State of Illinois:

We, the People of the State of Illinois – grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He has permitted us to enjoy and seeking His blessing upon our endeavors – in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; insure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity – do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.

Seal of Illinois

As seen in the state seal above, “Aug. 26, 1818” is the date the first Illinois Constitution was signed.
Also prevalent in the seal is the state motto of “State Sovereignty, National Union,” and for good reason.

All one thing; All the good

In fact, Illinois and Abraham Lincoln were central to the debate of state sovereignty and national union, as demonstrated by the famous Lincoln–Douglas Debates. Stephen A. Douglas, a Democrat and U.S. Senator from Illinois, believed the nation must remain united but could only do so half-slave, half-free. Conversely, Lincoln invoked Scripture to assert the opposite:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”

After all, this should come as no surprise, given Lincoln’s lofty opinion of the Bible:
“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma

On this day in 1907, Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory collectively enter the United States as Oklahoma, the 46th state. This made all Indians in the state U.S. citizens.

First, the name comes from the Choctaw Indian words “okla,” meaning people, and “humma,” meaning red.

Next, the five rays of the large star in the Great Seal of the State display the seals of the “Five Civilized Tribes.” The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole all have a major presence due to the forced relocation of the early 1800s.

So, on September 17, 1907, representatives of both territories drafted a constitution, which was approved by voters from both territories.


As is often the case with state constitutions, the Preamble of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma reads:

“Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”


Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma

Seal of the State of Hawaii

On this day in 1959, Hawaii becomes the 50th and most recent state to join the Union.

The state motto, adopted that same year, is “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono.”
It’s a Hawaiian phrase commonly translated to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

Here is the Preamble of The Constitution of the State of Hawaii:

“We, the people of Hawaii, grateful for Divine Guidance, and mindful of our Hawaiian heritage and uniqueness as an island State, dedicate our efforts to fulfill the philosophy decreed by the Hawaii State motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.”

We reserve the right to control our destiny, to nurture the integrity of our people and culture, and to preserve the quality of life that we desire.

We reaffirm our belief in a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and with an understanding and compassionate heart toward all the peoples of the earth, do hereby ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Hawaii.”


Seal of the State of Hawaii