United States, Great Seal of the
E pluribus unum; in one talon is an olive branch; in the other, a bundle of thirteen arrows. A shield with thirteen alternate red and white stripes covers the eagle's breast, and over its head a cloud surrounds a blue field containing thirteen stars. The Secretary of State is the official custodian of the seal, and it is only affixed to certain classes of documents (e.g., foreign treaties, presidential proclamations, and commissions installing cabinet officers and other high executive officials).
See G. Hunt, History of the Seal of the United States (1909); U.S. Dept. of State, The Seal of the United States (1957).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Government