Image description: Our next national symbol is the Great Seal of the United States. It was created by a committee headed by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
Just as the 13 stripes on the flag symbolize the original 13 colonies of the United States, the Great Seal symbolizes this number in the stripes, stars and arrows in the Seal. The inscription: “E Pluribus Unum” means “out of many, one” the same motto that can be seen on the dollar bill.
Image description: In celebration of this 4th of July holiday week we will be posting a series on well-known American national symbols.
First up, is our flag.
On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act which established the official flag of the United States often referred today as the “Stars and Stripes.”
The stars represent our 50 states and the red and white stripes represent the original 13 colonies that severed their political ties to Britain.
From the National Archives:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Wanted Poster of John Dillinger, 06/25/1934
From the series: Government Publications, 1861 - 1992
Possibly the most notorious of America’s Depression-era gangsters, John Dillinger led a string of violent robberies during his short yet infamous criminal career. A cunning and sophisticated bank robber, it was ultimately an auto theft that proved to be his undoing.
During a crime spree from September 1933 until January 1934, Dillinger and his fellow outlaws managed to evade law enforcement. And while Americans struggled during the height of the Great Depression, the gang stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Midwestern banks.
After a robbery of the First National Bank of East Chicago turned violent, national publicity intensified. The gang then fled to Arizona, where they were caught by local police on January 23.
Dillinger was extradited to Indiana to await trial for the murder of a police officer. But while he was sequestered in what officials called an “escape proof” jail, Dillinger deceived two guards and broke out.
Then the infamous bank robber made a crucial mistake.
Dillinger fled the jail in a stolen car and drove from Indiana to Illinois. That placed him in violation of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, which made it a Federal offense to transport a stolen motor vehicle across state lines.
The Federal charge (see the Federal warrant, issued two weeks prior to this poster) enabled the FBI to lead the nationwide manhunt. Director J. Edgar Hoover made Dillinger’s capture the FBI’s top priority.
Keep reading at Prologue: Pieces of History » A Public Enemy’s Life in the Fast Lane
From PBS This Day in History:
June 25, 1938: FDR Signs the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
On this day in 1938, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), abolishing child labor and establishing the 40-hour work week, a national minimum wage, and “time and a half” overtime pay. This final piece of New Deal legislation has been amended over 20 times both to raise the minimum wage and extend the law’s protections to historically oppressed groups.
Explore the Roosevelts’ lives with the site for Ken Burns’s upcoming film, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.
Photo: "Glassworks. Midnight. Location: Indiana" 1908 Photo by Lewis W. Hine. Source: Library of Congress