Maine State Motto


State Motto and Banner

(I direct or I guide)

Adopted in 1820.

Language: Latin

Focus: Religious

See Maine State Seal

Maine entered the Union on March 15, 1820 and the Legislature of the State of Maine held its first session from May 21 to June 28 of the same year. The motto, Dirigo, (I direct or I guide) was adopted during this session.

Dīrigō (Latin "I direct" or "I lead") is the state motto of Maine, having once been the only state to hold its elections in September. t alludes to the idea that just as a star guides a sailor home from his seagoing adventures, the State guides its citizens toward the loftiest patriotism. (Politicians kept their eyes on these elections for evidence of a trend. Prior to the New Deal, Republicans claimed "As Maine goes, so goes the nation.")

The resolutions adopting the seal upon which this motto appears, give some insight into the meaning intended by the state motto:

" the Polar Star has been considered the mariner's guide and director in conducting the ship over the pathless ocean to the desired haven, and as the center of magnetic attraction; as it has been figuratively used to denote the point, to which all affections turn, and as it is here intended to represent the State, it may be considered the citizens' guide, and the object to which the patriot's best exertions should be directed".

The motto has been used for the name of the Dirigo Health Agency which oversees the state of Maine's health care system.

Maine State Motto:

There are four states with mottos that mention "God." Most people would probably regard them as being religious mottos:

  1. Arizona: "Ditat Deus" This means "God Enriches in Latin."
  2. Florida: "In God We Trust." - identical to the current national motto
  3. Ohio: "With God, All Things Are Possible." This is a direct biblical quotation from the King James Version of Matthew 19:25-26: "When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
  4. South Dakota: "Under God, The People Rule."

There are three other states with mottos that make reference to "God."

  1. Colorado: "Nothing Without Providence"
  2. Connecticut: "He Who Transplanted Still Sustains"
  3. Maine: "I Direct"

Maine Law

The law designating the official Maine state motto is found in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 9, Subchapter 1 Section 205

§205. State motto

The state motto shall be "Dirigo" (I direct or I guide).

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