Alabama State Motto

Alabama’s Motto

Audemus jura nostra defendere

Alabama’s state motto is the Latin phrase “Audemus jura nostra defendere,” which translates to “We Dare Maintain Our Rights.” The motto is on the Alabama’s state coat of arms which was completed in 1923.

According to the state archives, in a Birmingham Age-Herald article from April 23, 1939, the then-director of the State Archives, Marie Bankhead Owen, came upon the idea for the motto while searching for “a phrase that would interpret the spirit of our peoples in a terse and energetic sentence.”

The Alabama motto is a phrase inspired from part of a poem titled, “What Constitutes a State?” by Sir William Jones, an 18th-century author. The poem, which can be found in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, includes the stanza “Men who their duties know. But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain.” The motto was then translated into Latin by Professor W. B. Saffold from the University of Alabama.