About the Great Seal of the United States of America
First presented in 1782. Created by the Irish-born Patriot leader Charles Thomson and Philadelphia lawyer and scholar William Barton. Part of the Continental Congress, Thomson was essentially the equivalent of a Prime Minister. His signature as secretary appears on the first published version of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, along with that of John Hancock, who was president of the Second Continental Congress.
Thomson wrote that the Great Seal represents and depicts “the several states all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief, which unites the whole & represents Congress. The Motto alludes to this union. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the chief and the Chief depends upon that union & the strength resulting from it for its support, to denote the Confederacy of the United States of America & the preservation of their union through Congress. … The shield borne on the breast of an American Eagle on the wing & rising proper. In the dexter talon of the Eagle an Olive branch & in the sinister a bundle of Arrows. Over the head of the Eagle a Constellation of Stars surrounded with bright rays and at a little distance clouds. In the bill of the Eagle a scroll with these words E pluribus unum.”
At the end of the Revolutionary War, in 1782, representatives of Great Britain and America gathered in France to sign the Treaty of Paris to formally end the war and recognize the existence of the United States of America. Great Britain initially objected to the Great Seal until Benjamin Franklin made some refinements.
This is the first version of the seal as originally drawn by Thomson