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Kansas State Motto

Motto and Nickname

The Kansas State Motto
The Kansas State motto was adopted in 1861. is expressed in Latin as "Ad astra per aspera" which means:

"To the stars through adversity"

The Meaning of the Kansas State Motto
The meaning of this famous motto reflects the ambitious pioneering spirit of the early settlers. It is also alludes to the seven-year struggle to make the Territory of Kansas a state. The origin of the Latin motto is believed to have been inspired by a combination of the ideas in two passages from the epic poem the 'Aeneid' written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC.

"To the stars through adversity"



The Kansas State Nickname
The Kansas Motto is complimented by a less formal, popular Kansas nickname which, combined with the motto, are highly descriptive of the people, the geography and the history of the state. The names used as nicknames are:

Kansas State Nickname
Official Nickname: Sunflower State
Bleeding Kansas
Cyclone, Wheat and Jayhawk State
Salt of the Earth

George Washington


The Origin and Meaning of the Kansas Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from Kansas, are referred to as Kansans. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:

The Sunflower State
The official nickname Sunflower refers to the high yield of sunflowers produced in the region. The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas and is used in Sunflower oil, for cattle feed and its stems contain a fibre which is used in paper production. Sunflower seeds are also enjoyed as a healthy, tasty snack and a nutritious ingredient to many other foods.

Bleeding Kansas
The reference to Bleeding Kansas is also echoed in another nickname "The Battleground of Freedom". These are harsh reminders of its bloody history in the American Civil War when the territory became a battleground for pro-slavery and anti-slavery activists.

The Cyclone State
Kansas is subject to the natural weather phenomena referred to as cyclones, tornados or twisters. Cyclones are characterized by inward violently spiraling winds that are in contact with the ground.

The Wheat State
The  Wheat State is another high yielding cash crop grown in Kansas. Wheat is a cereal grain used in products such as cereals, cakes, bread and cookies. Wheat is also utilized in these other products such as wood, paper, adhesives, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

The Jayhawk State
The Jayhawk name alludes to the Jayhawkers, a term that came to prominence just before the American Civil War where it was used as the name of by militant bands of guerrilla fighters affiliated with the free-state cause. The "Jayhawkers" clashed with pro-slavery groups from Missouri called the "Border Ruffians". Bands of Jayhawkers crossed the border to steal back slaves for their freedom. Following the American Civil War, the word "Jayhawk" became synonymous with the people of Kansas.

Salt of the Earth
The phrase 'the salt of the earth' derives from the Bible, Matthew 5:13. in reference to very good or worthy people. Salt lies underneath many parts of Kansas and the salt mines and industry dates back to the late 1800's.


The Constitution of Kansas
The constitution of Kansas establishes the basic rights of its citizens and echoes the words and sentiments of the motto. The preamble (opening) of the constitution is as follows:

"We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges, in order to insure the full enjoyment of our rights as American citizens, do ordain and establish this constitution of the state of Kansas, with the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the state of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence running west on said parallel to the twenty-fifth meridian of longitude west from Washington; thence north on said meridian to the fortieth parallel of north latitude; thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the state of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said state to the place of beginning."

Preamble of the Constitution of Kansas


Kansas State Motto for Kids

Learn the meaning of the motto for kids
"To the stars through adversity" motto
Find the meaning of the Kansas Motto
Meaning, History and Origin of the Kansas motto
Meaning, origin and history of the nicknames
Interesting facts, info and picture of the flag
Official Nickname "Sunflower State"
Meaning of the motto and nickname for schools, kids and children

Abraham Lincoln

Kansas State Motto and Nickname for Kids

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