Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

November 29, 2011

The Bald Eagle – An American Emblem

At the Second Continental Congress, after the thirteen colonies voted to declare independence from Great Britain, the colonies determined they needed an official seal. So Dr. Franklin, Mr. J. Adams, and Mr. Jefferson as a committee prepared a device for a Seal of the United States of America. However, the only portion of the design accepted by the congress was the statement E pluribus unum, attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
Six years and two committees later, in May of 1782, the brother of a Philadelphia naturalist provided a drawing showing an eagle displayed as the symbol of “supreme power and authority.”Congress liked the drawing, so before the end of 1782, an eagle holding a bundle of arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other was accepted as the seal. The image was completed with a shield of red and white stripes covering the breast of the bird; a crest above the eagle’s head, with a cluster of thirteen stars surrounded by bright rays going out to a ring of clouds; and a banner, held by the eagle in its bill, bearing the words E pluribus unum. Yet it was not until 1787 that the American bald eagle was officially adopted as the emblem of the United States. This happened only after many states had already used the eagle in their coat of arms, as New York State did in 1778. Though the official seal has undergone some modifications in the last two hundred years, the basic design is the same.

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While the eagle has been officially recognized as America’s national bird, there have been dissenters who feel the bird was the wrong choice.

Ben Franklin wrote-“I wish that the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country, he is a bird of bad moral character, he does not get his living honestly, you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk, and when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to its nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him…. Besides he is a rank coward; the little kingbird, not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest. . . of America.. . . For a truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America . . . a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.

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Comments:

With the negative connotation connected to being called “a turkey”, aren’t we glad we ended up with the eagle as our national emblem? Ben Franklin may have been correct regarding his evaluation of the turkey, but he must not have raised any, or he would have known that turkeys are not the brightest birds that ever came down the pike. In fact, they are so stupid, they will stand out in a rain storm with their heads up and mouths open until they drown. On the other hand, looking at the actions of the Obama regime, maybe a turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol for us during this time in history.

Comment by Becky Lannon — November 29, 2011 @ 10:08 am

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1 Comment »

  1. With the negative connotation connected to being called “a turkey”, aren’t we glad we ended up with the eagle as our national emblem? Ben Franklin may have been correct regarding his evaluation of the turkey, but he must not have raised any, or he would have known that turkeys are not the brightest birds that ever came down the pike. In fact, they are so stupid, they will stand out in a rain storm with their heads up and mouths open until they drown. On the other hand, looking at the actions of the Obama regime, maybe a turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol for us during this time in history.

    Comment by Becky Lannon — November 29, 2011 @ 10:08 am | Reply


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