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South Dakota State Motto

Motto and Nickname

The South Dakota State Motto
The South Dakota motto was adopted in 1885 and is:

"Under God the people rule"

The Meaning of the South Dakota State Motto
The meaning of this famous motto relates to the history of America and the past experiences of people of the region. The motto reflects the aspirations and concepts of freedom of the people and their independence to rule. The motto is a clear reference to the history and events of the War of Independence (17751783) and the fight for freedom from the British monarchy.  

The American citizens who live in, or who come from South Dakota, are referred to as South Dakotans.

"Under God the people rule"



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

South Dakota State Nickname List
Official Nickname: Mount Rushmore State
Land of Infinite Variety
Sunshine State
The Artesian State

George Washington


The Origin and Meaning of the South Dakota Nicknames
The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:

The Mount Rushmore State
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is surrounded by the Black Hills National Forest. Four colossal heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt were sculpted by Gutzon Borglum on the face of a granite mountain which is 5,725 ft (1,745 m) high. The heads of the Mount Rushmore Presidents are each about 60 ft (18 m) high. The following picture shows the Mount Rushmore Presidents.

Mount Rushmore Presidents

The Land of Infinite Variety
The South Dakota is indeed a Land of Infinite Variety with beautiful deciduous forests, fertile farmland prairie grasslands, rivers and lakes and the easternmost reaches of the Rocky Mountains (the Black Hills of Dakota). The official pledge of the South Dakota flag is "I pledge loyalty and support to the flag and state of South Dakota, land of sunshine, land of infinite variety."

The Sunshine State
The name derives from the high percentage of sunshine that is present during the year.

The Artesian State
There is a vast number of artesian wells in the region. Artesian wells are described as wells in which the water rises above the top of the water-bearing bed. The Dakota sandstone provides aquifers for an artesian system and supplies great quantities of water to the dry Great Plains region.


The Constitution of South Dakota
The constitution of South Dakota 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 South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties, in order to form a more perfect and independent government, establish justice, insure tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves and to our posterity the blessings of liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution
for the state of South Dakota."

Preamble of the Constitution of South Dakota


South Dakota State Motto for Kids

Learn the meaning of the motto for kids
"Under God the people rule"
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 "Mount Rushmore State"
Meaning of the motto and nickname for schools, kids and children

Abraham Lincoln

South Dakota State Motto and Nickname for Kids

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