Kentucky Flag

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American Symbols

State Mottos

E pluribus unum


Theodore Roosevelt

JFK - John Kennedy

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Kentucky State Motto

Motto and Nickname

The Kentucky State Motto
The older Kentucky State motto was adopted on December 20, 1792 and is expressed in Latin as "Deo gratiam habeamus" which means "Let us give thanks to God" but the updated motto is:

"United we stand,
divided we fall"

The Meaning of the Kentucky State Motto
The meaning of this famous motto reflects the concept of strength and power in unity. The inspiration for the motto is believed to have originated in one of Aesop's fables, that shows individual sticks can be broken but a bundle is strong The moral of the fable being, "Union gives strength."

"United we stand,
divided we fall"


The Kentucky State Nickname
The Kentucky Motto is complimented by a less formal, popular Kentucky 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:

Kentucky State Nickname
Official Nickname: Bluegrass State
The Tobacco State
The Dark and Bloody Ground

George Washington


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

The Bluegrass State
The official nickname alludes to the Bluegrass that grows so abundantly in the region. Bluegrass is a valuable meadow and pasture grass. The Kentucky bluegrass, P. pratensis, has dense tufts of bluish green blades. Bluegrass is also the name of a type of folk music that originated in the southern United States, typically played on banjos and guitars.

The Tobacco State
Tobacco is a major cash crop of the region.

The Dark and Bloody Ground
The "Dark and Bloody Ground" is a reference to the inter-tribal conflicts between Native American tribes  particularly the Cherokee and Shawnee. In 1775 during the signing of the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals Chief Dragging Canoe of the Cherokee tribe said they had secured "a dark and bloody ground." In later periods Kentucky has been called "a dark and bloody ground" because of its history related to the War of Independence (17751783) and the American Civil War (1861 - 1865).


The Constitution of Kentucky
The constitution of Kentucky 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 the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution. This preamble to Kentucky's present Constitution is the first one of the four adopted in Kentucky to use the term "Commonwealth of Kentucky." It is also the first one to make reference to Almighty God."

Preamble of the Constitution of Kentucky


Kentucky State Motto for Kids

Learn the meaning of the motto for kids
"United we stand, divided we fall" motto
Find the meaning of the Motto and nickname
Meaning, History and Origin of the motto for kids
Meaning, origin and history of the nickname
Interesting facts, info and picture of the flag
Official Nickname "Bluegrass State"
Meaning of the motto and nickname for schools, kids and children

Abraham Lincoln

Kentucky State Motto and Nickname for Kids

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