A National Symbol:
The Bald Eagle has been a part of American folklore and a symbol
for freedom and prosperity ever since the above seal was created and adopted
back in June of 1782, only six years after American gained it's independence
The bald eagle was chosen for its inspirational beauty and
strength, but not without some controversy. Ben Franklin wrote his daughter
expressing concerns about the Bald Eagle's moral character not being fitting of
the United States, citing his observations that they are lazy and thieves.
Franklin also made statements that the eagle looked more like a turkey in the
drawings submitted for the great seal.
Instead, Franklin suggested that a rattlesnake would be the
proper symbol for the nation which he suggested in a written letter to the
in 1775. The was letter modestly signed "An American Guesser," which only
recently has been identified as Franklin.
But to Franklin's dismay, the Bald Eagle was adopted
the same day that Charles Thomson, the Secretary of Congress at the time,
Charles Thomson offered an explanation for his design, June 20th,1782
"The colours of the pales are those used in the Flag of
the united States of America; White signifies purity and
innocence, Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, the colours of the Chief
signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. The Olive branch and arrows
denote the power of peace and war which is exclusively vesting in Congress.
The constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other
sovereign powers. The Escutcheon is born the breast of an American Eagle
without any supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to
rely on their own Virtue."