Today, the Arkansas State Quarter Coin remembers the state motto, “The People Rule,” approved 152 years ago.
From the History of State Seals, Arms, Flags and Colors by George Henry Preble, published in 1894:
Arkansas, as formed from the French territory of the Louisiana Purchase, was admitted into the Union in 1836.
It obtained its name in 1812 from the name of its principal river, which is derived from the Indian word Kansas, “smoky water,” with the French prefix of Arc, a “bow.”
The arms and seal of this State, adopted by an act of the General Assembly, approved May 3, 1864, are thus described in it: —
“An eagle at the bottom, holding a scroll in its beak, inscribed ‘Regnant populi,’ a bundle of arrows in one claw, and an olive branch in the other; a shield, covering the breast of the eagle, engraved with a steamboat at top, a beehive and plow in the middle, and a sheaf of wheat at the bottom; the Goddess of Liberty at the top, holding a wreath in her right hand, a pole in her left hand, surmounted by a liberty cap, and surrounded by a circle of stars, outside of which is a circle of rays; the figure of an angel on the left, inscribed ‘Mercy,’ a sword on the right hand, inscribed ‘Justice,’ surrounded with the words, ‘ Seal of the State of Arkansas.’
“All official seals in the State shall present the same impressions, emblems, and devices presented by the seal of the State.
“The State seal is two inches in diameter.”
Such is the law ; but artists have taken considerable liberty with the devices, a specimen of which is shown in the illustration.
I have also an official engraving of the seal in which the shield is supported on the breast of an American eagle, with the olive branch and arrows in his talons, and the motto, “Regnant populi,” on a scroll issuing from his beak, and twined around one of his wings. The figure of Liberty is standing in a cloud above the eagle’s head, with a semi circle of thirteen stars over her head. The figure of Mercy is holding up the shield on the eagle’s breast, and the word “Mercy” is in a scroll over her head. The sword, inscribed “Justice” on its blade, has its point towards the shield, and its hilt rests against the circle, on which ,is the legend, “Seal of the State of Arkansas,” in Roman capitals.
The Arkansas State Quarter Coin shows with an image of the arms of the state, drawn for the ceiling of the Hall of Representatives from an impression of the seal by J.A. Oental.