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Title:canton from Massachusetts state flag
Date Made:1800-1815
Materials:textile: silk; polychrome tempera paints
Place Made:Untied States; Massachusetts
Measurements:overall: 20 1/8 x 17 7/8 in.; 51.1175 x 45.4025 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2003.37.10
Credit Line:Gift from the Collection of William H. Guthman
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Double-sided canton from a Massachusetts state flag displaying both the federal and Massachusetts state insignia, done with tempura paints on silk. The federal side has dark clouds over fifteen eight-pointed white stars; over a brown "frog-leg" eagle holding an "E. PLURIBUS UNUM" banner in its beak, a red, white, and blue shield on its chest, and a olive branch in its right talon and seven arrows in its left. The Massachusetts side has the figure of Massasoit (1580-1661), who was the chief sachem of the Wampanoags of Massachusetts, in an oval with the motto "ENSE PETIT PLACIDUM SUB LIBERTATE QUIETEM" (By the Sword We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty) around the border. The seal has remained essentially the same since 1780, though details changed and were standardized in 1898. The motto was written about 1659 and is attributed to Algernon Sydney (1623-1683), an English politician and oppenent of both Oliver Cromwell and Charles II; his liberal ideals were set forth in his "Discourses Concerning Government" (1698), a treatise that had great influence on 18th-century political thought, especially in the American colonies. The canton has been framed to display both sides.

Label Text:
This double-sided canton (a decorative upper corner) from a Massachusetts state flag displays both the federal and Massachusetts state insignia. The federal side (pictured) displays symbols of the new nation, including fifteen eight-pointed white stars, and an eagle with a chest shield and “E. PLURIBUS UNUM" banner. Additionally, the nation’s symbol holds an olive branch in its right talon and seven arrows in its left.

Native American

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