The origins of what eventually turned into the Presidential seal are vague, but it is believed to have originated with the seal used by the President of the Continental Congress, a small oval with a constellation of 13 stars surrounded by clouds. It was used to seal envelopes containing correspondence sent to the Continental Congress. There is no documented history of the changes made to the seal over time, although a seal used by Andrew Jackson appears to have been similar: a small, round, red wax seal with a circle of clouds. The rest of the design is lost.
The eagle’s right (or dexter) talon clutches an olive branch with 13 olives and 13 leaves to represent peace. The left (or sinister) talon clutches arrows which represent the need sometimes to go to war to protect the nation.
The eagle holds a ribbon bearing the words “E Pluribus Unum,” the motto of the U.S., which means “out of many, one.” The number 13 is used to represent the 13 original colonies. Above there's 13 white clouds, and 13 stars.
A shield in front of the eagle has 13 red and white stripes, again representing the colonies, with a blue bar above, representing both the unity of colonies into one nation and Congress, which makes laws for all.
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