Illinois has had several state seals. When Illinois became a state in 1818, it adopted the seal of the Northwest Territory, of which Illinois was a part. The only changes were the rewording of the encircling band to read "Seal of the State of Illinois--August 26, 1818" and the addition of a banner in the eagle's mouth reading "State Sovereignty, National Union."
The present state seal was adopted in 1868 when Secretary of State Sharon Tyndale convinced Senator Allen C. Fuller to propose a new seal. Tyndale's seal changed the banner's wording from "State Sovereignty, National Union" to "National Union, State Sovereignty" because of the Civil War. The General Assembly adopted the new seal, but rejected the changed wording. However, Tyndale, as Secretary of State, was the keeper of the seal, and changed the design so that "National Union" was much more prominent and the word "Sovereignty" was upside down, decreasing its readability. The state seal has been re-cut more than once since 1868, but the design remains virtually unchanged.
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