Books Mar 14, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Just think about it. We did while reading The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America's Bird.



"Audubon also did not like calling them bald eagles because their heads are "as densely featured as any other species.""

That's why we call them white-assed eagles


So then we would be eating bald eagle at Thanksgiving instead? Yeech, no thanks!


"Wouldn't this choice have resulted in a qualitatively different United States? "

Yes. When the American Bald Eagle was shown to be an endangered species, that gave a patriotic shield to the Ecological Movement, as environmentalism was then known. The exact mechanism for this endangerment was the negative effect of DDT on the eagles' eggs, thinning their shells.

So, having the bald eagle as national symbol conferred two environmental benefits at once: DDT was banned, and the Ecological Movement became All-American. (After all, what kind of Great Nation would allow its national symbol to become extinct for the profits of chemical conglomerates?)


Re e pluribus unum:

"[E pluribus unum] was almost certainly taken from the title page of Gentleman's Magazine, a monthly magazine published in London which had used it from its first edition in 1731, and was well known in the colonies. The motto alluded to the magazine being a collection of articles obtained from other newspapers, and was used in most of its editions until 1833." (Wikipedia citing the Bureau of Public Affairs at the State Department)

The arrows:

"mirror those in the arms of the Dutch Republic, the only country in Europe with a representative government at the time, which depicted a lion holding seven arrows representing their seven provinces." (Wikipedia citing "Official Heraldry of the United States" published by the State Department)

Or, if you prefer your symbology to be less racist:

"The eagle, symbolizing the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy, held six arrows, one for each of the Six Nations. The eagle on the American seal holds 13 arrows, one for each of the 13 original states." (

And from

"Recognized from the creation story, the cluster of arrows is a symbol of unity for the Haudenosaunee... This symbol represents the strength that results from the joining of the nations."

"Said to be a messenger to the Creator, the eagle is the protector of peace. Placed atop the Tree of Peace it alerts members of the confederacy if danger approaches."

See also the many (many) sources regarding the influence of the Haudenosaunee on the US Constitution, e.g.,

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