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Official Heraldry in the United States

The Arms of the United States of America

Without a doubt, the most frequently seen heraldic achievement in daily life in America is the arms of the United States. Not only are these arms emblazoned on and in federal buildings but they are the basis of the flag and seal seen at every Presidential press conference. Most of all, we see the arms every time we pull a dollar bill out of our wallets. The American Heraldry Society is pleased to bring you the most complete history and explanation of the national coat of arms of the United States available on the internet.

This article draws extensively on the authoritative official history of the great seal of the United States, with which the arms are inextricably linked, Richard S. Patterson and Richardson Dougall, The Eagle and the Shield: A History of the Great Seal of the United States, Department of State Publication 8900 (Washington: Department of State, 1978).

Arms of the States

While most of the 50 states of the United States have, for various reasons, adopted seals of non-heraldic design, a substantial minority possess bona fide coats of arms, some of them of excellent design, others leaving much to be desired. The American Heraldry Society offers this collection of emblazonments and explanations of these important examples of official heraldry in the USA. This collection is under construction; more states will be covered in the weeks ahead.

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