Wisconsin State Seal - Article XIII, Section 4, of the Wisconsin Constitution requires the legislature to provide a "great seal" to be used by the secretary of state to authenticate all of the governor's official acts except laws. The seal consists of the coat of arms (described below) with the words "Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin" centered above; and a curved line of 13 stars, representing the 13 original United States, centered below; all surrounded by an ornamental border.
A modified "lesser seal" serves as the seal of the secretary of state.
The Coat of Arms includes the State's motto, "Forward" and below that is a badger, the state animal. A sailor and miner show that the people work on water and land. The shield in the center shows Wisconsin's support for the United States. In four sections surrounding the shield are representations of the states main industries: agriculture, mining, manufacturing and navigation. The cornucopia and pile of lead represent farm products and minerals.
An official seal was created in 1836, when Wisconsin became a territory, and was later revised in 1839. When Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, a new seal was prepared. This seal was changed in 1851 at the instigation of Governor Nelson Dewey and slightly modified to its current design in 1881 when Dewey's seal wore out and had to be recast. Chapter 280, Laws of 1881, provided the first precise statutory description of the great seal and coat of arms.
The Coat of Arms used in the State Seal was finalized in 1881.