Illinois State Flag and Seal Are One and the Same
The state flag of Illinois depicts the seal of Illinois on a white background. The seal of Illinois was originally designed in 1819. Front and center is the majestic eagle holding a banner in his beak with the state motto, “State Sovereignty, National Union”. The two dates on the seal, 1818 and 1868, represent the year that Illinois became a state and the year in which the Great Seal was redesigned. Even though “State Sovereignty” comes first in its motto, Illinois actually fought on the Union side of the American Civil War, technically fighting against state sovereignty. That is why the word “state” is at the bottom of the banner, and the word “sovereignty” is upside down.
History of the Illinois State Flag
Ella Park Lawrence was the state regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1912, and she began a campaign to have Illinois adopt a state flag. She never succeeded as state regent, but continued to lobby the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Rockford chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This woman really wanted Illinois to have a flag! She even went so far as to send a letter to every Illinois chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution announcing a contest to design a state flag, with the winner receiving a whopping $25 prize (I guess that seemed like more money in 1914). 35 people submitted designs for the contest. Lucy Derwent’s design was selected as the winner, and the flag became the official state banner on July 6, 1915. In 1969, a petition was circulated to add the name of the state to the flag. It was granted on September 17, 1969.