Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Seal of Virginia

This past week, many media outlets and lefty blogs excoriated Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for "photoshopping," "tinkering," and "censoring," Virginia's "historic" state seal.  What they ignore is the fact that most of the "historic" versions of the seal that you can find are more like the AG's version than the new current 1930's standardized one.  Prior to the 1930's there were a lot of versions.  Most of them - including Thomas Jefferson's rendering here - were sporting a breastplate, long hair, a drawn sword, and an upright spear. (not an exposed breast, short hair, a sheathed sword, and a downward pointing spear).  The VA flag code (Ordinance No. 30, Adopted April 30, 1861) said nothing about a specific seal design other than this:

"Virtus, the genius of the commonwealth, dressed like an Amazon, resting on a spear with one hand, and holding a sword in other, and treading on tyranny, represented by a man prostrate, a crown fallen from his head, a broken chain in his left hand and a scourge in his right. In the exergon the word Virginia over the head of Virtus, and underneath the words "Sic Semper Tyrannis."

If there had been a standardized version of the seal (as peddled by our AG haters) do you not think they would have mentioned that important bit of information when they wrote the code for our state flag?
I think the attempts to demonize Cuccinelli over the use of a historical seal in a lapel pin that he paid for are laughable. Those who want to mock him would do well to learn a little more history about our great state.

“Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.”  Edmund Burke

Here are some historic versions of the Virginia State Seal for reference.  Most of them are pre-civil-war.  A simple Google Image search will reveal many such seals.























Some source documents:

Seal of the commonwealth of Virginia, 1875
Source: Benson J. Lossing, An Outline History of the United States (New York: Sheldon; Company, 1878)77

Seal of the commonwealth of Virginia, 1904
Source: Wark's Modern Educator (New York: Henry Wark, 1904)202

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