In July of 1776 congress appointed a committee to design a seal for the newly formed country.  The committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.  Their first draft for the seal contained the phrase “E Pluribus Unum”, as suggested by Pierre Eugene du Simitire, the artistic consultant to the committee.

First draft of the seal
Simitiere’s first drawing for the seal featured the motto.

On August 20, 1776 the committee presented a seal to congress having changed the initial design to the one picture below.  While having changed some of the imagery, the motto is still prominent under the shield.  On the reverse side was an image of Moses parting the Red Sea.  However congress was not impressed and tabled the report, effectively ending the committee’s work.

The seal featuring the original motto as presented to congress.


2nd and 3rd Seals