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On the blue shield the sun rises over a lake and peninsula, a man with raised hand and holding a gun represents peace and the
ability to defend his rights. The elk and moose are symbols of Michigan, while the eagle represents the United States.
The Great Seal of the State of Michigan was inspired by the seal used by the Hudson Bay Fur Company. Michigan's second governor, Lewis Cass,
presented the idea to the Constitutional Convention, and it was accepted on June 2, 1835.
At the center of the seal, there is an image of a man standing resolutely at the tip of a penninsula, watching the sun rise, his rifle
ready. On either side of the shield, a majestic moose and elk stand facing each other keeping the shield securely in place. And just above the shield,
an eagle adds to the majesty. Each of these proud animals lends credence to the motto on the shield, "Tuebor", or "I will defend". Above the eagle is
the familiar motto "E pluribus unum", or "From many, one". Below the shield are the words "Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice", or "If you seek a
pleasant peninsula, look about you." And encircling all of this are the words "The Great Seal of the State of Michigan".
Some people believe that Ohioans gave Michigan the nickname "The Wolverine State" around 1835 during a dispute over the Toledo strip, a piece of land along the border between Ohio and Michigan. Rumors in Ohio at the time described Michiganians as being as vicious and bloodthirsty as wolverines. This dispute became known as the Toledo War.
Another reason given for the nickname is a story that has Native Americans, during the 1830s, comparing Michigan settlers to wolverines. Some native people, according to this story, disliked the way settlers were taking the land because it made them think of how the gluttonous wolverine went after its food.
Another nickname for Michigan is the "Great Lake State." Michigan's shores touch four of the five Great Lakes, and Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes. In Michigan, you are never more than 6 miles from an inland lake or more than 85 miles from a Great Lake. From 1969 to 1975 and from 1977 to 1983 Michigan's automobile license plates featured the legend, GREAT LAKE STATE.
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