The Great Seal of the State of New York

On this day in 1788, New York becomes the eleventh state in the Union.

First, here is the current Preamble of The Constitution of the State of New York:
“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.” 

Next, while the state motto is “Excelsior” (Ever Upward), the well-known state nickname is The Empire State.

Empirical Evidence

The likely source of this nickname is a letter from George Washington “To The Honble the Mayor, Recorder, Alderman & Commonalty of the City of New York,” dated April 10, 1785.

In the letter, Washington Wrote:
“And that my conduct should have met the approbation, and obtained the Affectionate regard of the State of New York (where difficulties were numerous & complicated) may be ascribed more to the effect of divine wisdom… .”

Then, he concluded:
I pray that Heaven may bestow its choicest blessings on your City—That the devastations of War, in which you found it, may soon be without a trace—That a well regulated & benificial Commerce may enrichen your Citizens. And that, your State (at present the Seat of the Empire) may set such examples of Wisdom & liberality, as shall have a tendency to strengthen & give permanency to the Union at home—and credit & respectability to it abroad. The accomplishment whereof is a remaining wish, & the primary object of all my desires.”

The Great Seal of the State of New York

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