Skip to main content
Select Source:

E Pluribus Unum

E Pluribus Unum (ē plŏŏr´Ĭbəs yōō´nəm) [Lat.,=one made out of many], motto on the Great Seal of the United States and on many U.S. coins. Although selected in 1776 by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson for the Continental Congress, it was not officially adopted as a national motto until six years later.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"E Pluribus Unum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"E Pluribus Unum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 17, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/e-pluribus-unum

"E Pluribus Unum." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/e-pluribus-unum

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Pluribus Unum, E

Pluribus Unum, E Latin phrase, ‘out of many, one’, selected as the motto for the American national seal in 1776 by a committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Pluribus Unum, E." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Pluribus Unum, E." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 17, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pluribus-unum-e

"Pluribus Unum, E." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved November 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pluribus-unum-e

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

E Pluribus Unum

"E PLURIBUS UNUM"

"E PLURIBUS UNUM" (Out of many, one), motto featured on the Great Seal of the United States. After declaring independence, the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson to devise a seal. In consultation with Swiss-born artist Pierre Eugène du Simitière, they selected E Pluribus Unum, motto of the popular London-based anthology, Gentleman's Magazine, to emblematize the diversity of the American people. Scholars have not located the exact phrase in classical literature, but Virgil's Moretum contains a similar expression. Subsequent committees kept this motto, but substituted an eagle for the proposed heraldic shield. Adopted by Congress on 20 June 1782, the Great Seal appears on numerous currencies, seals, and flags.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

McDonald, Forrest. E Pluribus Unum: The Formation of the American Republic, 1776–1790. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976. A history of the critical period taking E Pluribus Unum as its theme.

Patterson, Richard S., and Richardson Dougall. The Eagle and the Shield: A History of the Great Seal of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, Department of State, under the Auspices of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, 1976. The most thorough history of the Great Seal, its origins, components, and official uses.

Benjamin H.Irvin

See alsoSeal of the United States .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"E Pluribus Unum." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"E Pluribus Unum." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 17, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/e-pluribus-unum

"E Pluribus Unum." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved November 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/e-pluribus-unum

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.