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    I Ranked All Of The 50 State Mottos From "Truly Inspirational" To "Y'all Are Obsessed With The Word Liberty"

    They pulled these straight out of the thesaurus.

    The United States has been around for quite some time now, and each state has a unique motto that represents them. I'm here to rank each of them, from "boring" to "belongs on a motivational poster."

    50. Utah

    The Virgin River at sunset and the motto "Industry"
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    That's it? Nothing about the natural beauties that are Zion and Bryce Canyon. Nothing about its deserts, mountains, and everything in between. Just "industry." Sounds a little lazy.

    49. Tennessee

    The Nashville skyline, the motto "Agriculture and Commerce"
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    Honestly, like Utah, it's just not that great of a motto. It could've even mentioned its location in Appalachia and mountains galore but no, all we have is agriculture and commerce. Groundbreaking.

    48. Oklahoma — "Labor conquers all things"

    Sunrise over Kiamichi Mountains and Highway 63
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    As someone who enjoys rest, this does not resonate with me at all. It reminds me of those people who are always like "I'll sleep when I'm dead." This is literally the slogan for the "nonstop grind" folks, and I want no part of it.

    47. Illinois

    The Chicago River, the motto "State sovereignty, national union"
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    This reads like a list of demands. I studied international relations and we always talked about state sovereignty, so this feels like it was pulled from one of my textbooks. It sounds like the US is still asking for its independence from Great Britain.

    46. Wyoming

    Bison grazing below the Grand Teton Mountains
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    This also reads like it belongs on a list of demands. However, I will give them credit because apparently their motto and nickname, The Equality State, were chosen because they were the first territory and state to give (some) women the right to vote. 

    45. Nevada

    Wave Rock at sunset at Valley of Fire State Part
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    Simply put, I am not nor will I ever be that patriotic.

    44. Virginia — "Thus always to tyrants"

    Fall foliage on Monument Avenue in Richmond Virginia
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    This motto is basically saying that bad but fair things will happen to tyrants. Cool. But it's definitely been poorly used by John Wilkes Booth who (supposedly) shouted this after assassinating President Lincoln.

    So...there's that...

    43. Delaware

    Bear Swamp Pool at sunset, the motto Liberty and Independence
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    I'm all for liberty and independence, but where's the pizzazz, Delaware? You had some truly poetic mottos that already existed to inspire you, so this is shocking to me. I'm begging you to try again.

    42. Pennsylvania

    The sun setting over the Susquehanna River
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    Another motto with "liberty" in it. What else is new? They literally copied and pasted Delaware's and added "virtue," thinking people wouldn't notice. But I noticed. And I'm shaking my head.

    41. New Jersey

    A river running along Mount Tammany
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    New Jersey. The place I've called home my entire life. I'm sorry to say this, but the motto is bland. We're The Garden State and this is the best we could come up with? I'm a tad embarrassed.

    40. Georgia

    Piedmont Park and the Atlanta skyline, the motto Wisdom, Justice, Moderation
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    I'm cool with "wisdom" and "justice," but the "moderation" bit is throwing me off. What are we moderating, Georgia? I'm very confused.

    39. Louisiana

    A swamp in Louisiana
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    The people apparently love justice. And the "confidence" bit adds a nice touch.

    38. Vermont

    Snowy forest in Vermont
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    I'm starting to sense a theme here... It's like these states just busted out a thesaurus and put words together for their mottos. But it's the only one with "freedom" and "unity," so you get points for that Vermont.

    37. North Dakota

    A sunflower field in North Dakota
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    At this point, my eyes are tired of seeing the word "liberty," but it's the power that this statement holds that piques my interest. They are not messing around with their "liberty" and "union" and have no plans on giving them up...ever.

    36. Iowa

    An aerial view of grassy fields and farmland in Sully Iowa
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    They are very serious about their rights and liberties. So maybe think twice before picking a fight with Iowans. They are small but (clearly) very mighty.

    35. Indiana

    An aerial view of Saugany Lake and fall foliage
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    Considering that Indianapolis is the center of four major interstate highways, including US Highways 40 and 41, this is very fitting. And here I was thinking all Indiana was good for was the Indy 500 and being the setting of Parks and Recreation.

    34. Alabama — "We dare defend our rights"

    Bains Gap Falls in Alabama
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    I'm all for defending people's rights, so I have no choice but to agree with this statement by itself. However, because it's Alabama, I'm curious to know what rights they were referring to...

    33. Florida

    The silhouettes of palm trees against a sky during sunset
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    I mean, this is a pretty American motto, so I have no qualms with it. It's also on all of our money and it's the official motto of the US, so I'm pretty familiar with the phrase.

    32. Connecticut — "He who transplanted sustains"

    The Farmington Valley
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    These people had a lot of faith, and I'm not even mad at them. And so far, Connecticut is still standing, so God really did sustain them.

    31. North Carolina — "To be, rather than to seem"

    The perseids meteor shower over Grandfather Mountain and Price Lake
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    This is actually really deep, and I love that. It reminds me of the saying "don't talk about it, be about it" and I will now be using this one when I want to flex my Latin. Thank you, North Carolina.

    30. Arizona — "God enriches"

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    Seriously, have you been to Arizona? They've been enriched all right. The Grand Canyon really is that girl.

    29. Ohio

    Cuyahoga Valley National Park at dawn
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    Gotta have faith.

    28. Colorado — "Nothing without providence"

    A lake surrounded by mountains Aspen
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    Other translations include "nothing without divine will," and honestly, just look at the landscape. If that isn't divine, I don't know what is. 

    27. Nebraska

    A field of wildflowers along Highway 20 near Valentine Nebraska
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    Now this is a solid motto. To make it clear that everyone is equal under the law is what I like to see. And considering that they came up with this the same year they became a state was a perfect way to set the tone. How this actually played out in 1860s Nebraska, I'm not too sure. But the sentiment is still there.

    26. Arkansas — "The people rule"

    The Ozark highlands in Arkansas
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    We love a strong democracy. Too bad they literally copied and pasted South Dakota's motto.

    25. South Dakota

    The rock formations at Badlands National Park
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    No strong feelings about this one, honestly. Just love to see people ruling, I guess.

    24. Mississippi — "By valor and arms"

    A pedestrian bridge looking out on the Gulf of Mexico while the sunsets
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    It's giving a "by any means necessary" energy and I'm with it, especially given this came out in 1894, after the Civil War.

    23. California — "I have found it"

    A beach on the coast of California
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    It's pretty catchy, and the fact that I can use it in conversation makes it alright in my book. It also makes me feel like a cool scientist, so it's a win-win.

    22. Texas

    Dusk at Big Bend National Park
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    So wholesome! Y'all can take your negative energy elsewhere because we're all friends here and we're in the middle of making friendship bracelets.

    21. Rhode Island

    Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport Rhode Island
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    Another wholesome one. This is something I'd hang in my beach house in Newport if I had one. This motto belongs on a motivational poster and I love it. Why can't all mottos be like this?

    20. Wisconsin

    Boardwalk at the Kohler-Andrae State Park
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    Even though it's only one word, it gets me pumped. I just imagine Wisconsinites are always walking around with a can-do attitude because their motto is so dang inspirational. 

    (But for real, can someone from Wisconsin confirm this please?)

    19. Montana — "Gold and Silver"

    Glaciar National Park, the motto Oro y plata
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    I mean, it's pretty literal, but it lives up to its unofficial nickname, The Treasure State. It's not fancy or anything, but it gets the job done.

    18. West Virginia — "Mountaineers are always free"

    The sun rising over Dolly Sods Wilderness
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    This sounds like something you'd say at a school pep rally or professional sports event. I suddenly want to drop everything and become a mountaineer. Forget about student loans. I'll be free.

    17. Maine — "I lead"

    Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth at dusk
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    Maine is basically telling other states to follow their lead, and I love their self-confidence. Get in line you rowdy bunch of states. Maine is taking us to higher heights.

    16. Idaho — "Let it be perpetual"

    Little Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains
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    Perpetual? As in forever, ever, forever, ever? Looks like Idaho ain't going anywhere, folks. And I'm eternally grateful, because let's be honest, who would we be without our Idahoan potatoes? I, for one, would be nothing. I would cease to exist.

    15. Missouri — "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law"

    A flower bed along Goose Creek
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    They basically said "put the people first," and that's the kind of state I want to live in. Law shmaw. If the people aren't happy, that's cause for anarchy, and I love a revolution. 

    14. Minnesota — "The star of the North"

    The Milky Way over Lake Superior
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    Their motto is literally "the north star," the symbol of exploration, discovery, and freedom. And it's in French?! It's bougie and classic, so you've got my stamp of approval, Minnesota. 

    13. Michigan — "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you"

    Sunset at the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac
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    Okay, I don't know how many of you are familiar with Henry David Thoreau's book Walden, but this feels like it came straight out of that book. I've never heard of a peninsula being described like this, and any state that calls itself "pleasant" is a state I gotta see.

    12. Washington — "By and by"

    River running through Olympic National Forest
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    I personally always got the vibe that people from the Pacific Northwest were always so chill, and this confirms it for me. It's like Alaska's motto with their forward-looking nature but all in a two-syllable phrase. While Washington doesn't have an official motto, I (who isn't a resident and have never been) will personally start a petition to make this happen.

    11. Alaska

    The Northern Lights above the Atigun Pass
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    It doesn't get more north than Alaska, and boy did they pick a great motto to remind us. It makes me want to embark on a perilous adventure across mountains and glaciers, so if that's what you were going for Alaska, congratulations, you've succeeded.

    10. Kentucky

    A rural road at sunrise in Crestwood Kentucky
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    I've never seen a truer statement. Teamwork really does make the dream work, and I'm glad Kentucky agrees.

    9. Massachusetts — "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty"

    The French King Bridge in Gill Massachusetts
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    Basically, "I will fight you and your mother for our liberty," but in a more poetic way. It's also important to know that they made this the motto two years after the Boston Tea Party, so they are not the ones to be played with. I like your spunk, Massachusetts.

    8. New York — "Ever upward"

    Bow Bridge in Central Park in the fall
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    I see why Stan Lee always used this as his signature catchphrase. This makes me want to write a novel, direct a film, learn another language, get in shape, and become the president at the same time. You can always count on New York to remind you of your potential. 

    7. New Mexico — "It grows as it goes"

    Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness at sunset
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    Essentially, another inspirational motto on the map. They're trying to tell us if we keep going, good things are sure to come. So I will be staying the course thanks to good ol' New Mexico.

    6. Maryland — "Strong deeds, gentle words"

    Boats moored at a harbor in Annapolis at sunset
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    Now, I know the original translation has "deeds" being described as manly and "words" being described as womanly. But I'm interpreting it as you can speak softly but still get the job done. So, no need to shout across the harbor to get your point across, friends.

    5. New Hampshire

    The White Mountains at sunrise
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    Does this remind anyone else of Erik "death is better than bondage" Killmonger? No? Just me? Okay then. New Hampshire obviously doesn't have time for all of the flowery language the other mottos have. They're too busy living free.

    4. Oregon — "She flies with her own wings"

    Face Rock Viewpoint in Bandon Oregon
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    Oregon is a woman?? That's literally all I needed to hear. I will now be referring to Oregon as Queen of the West Coast, and you can't tell me otherwise. No further questions.

    3. Kansas — "To the stars through difficulties"

    A thunderstorm and a double rainbow over the high plains
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    Kansas really took the saying "shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars," put it in Latin, plopped it on their seal, and earned their spot as number three on this list. I am once again inspired to kick my procrastination in the butt and go seize the day while running through a field of wheat, quoting The Wizard of Oz.

    2. South Carolina — "While I breathe, I hope" and "Ready in soul and resource"

    Lakeview of Table Rock Mountain in Pickens South Carolina
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    My friends, these aren't mottos. These are positive affirmations. This is the kind of thing you keep on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. This is what you say to yourself when you're in need of a pick-me-up. For those of you who live in South Carolina, y'all must be using these in breathing exercises. There's no way their only purpose is to sit on your seal.

    1. Hawaii — "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness"

    Sunset over Kapalua Bay
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    There are apparently a bunch of different ways to translate this, because that's just how cool the Hawaiian language is. The word "pono" alone has over 20 meanings (there's waaay more than that, but honestly, I lost count). One motto? More like 100 mottos. There isn't a single state that can compete. 

    It's even more meaningful when you know that it came out of the Kingdom of Hawaii being returned to the king from Great Britain (before they eventually became part of the US). 

    Hawaii, you officially have the best motto in the US. 

    Do y'all agree with my ranking? Is there anything you would swap? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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