The North Carolina state motto is a Latin motto which in English means "To be, rather than to seem".
The North Carolina motto was adopted in 1893 which is rather late. In fact, North Carolina was the only state out of 13 states at that point that did not have a state motto.
In this way North Carolina did not follow many other states' examples of using the declaration of independence to lift up the national spirit and create a patriotic North Carolina motto.
Whereas there is only one North Carolina state motto, there exist a number of state nicknames for Carolina:
"The Old North State"
Back in 1710 Carolina was divided into two states: the southern part, South Carolina and the older, northern part, North Carolina. This North Carolina state nickname obviously refers back to the northern section.
The North Carolina nickname "The Old North State" is also the title of the official state song which was adopted in 1927.
"The Tarheel State"
When North Carolina was still a young state, tar (a sticky mixture of wood, coal, and peat) was one of the state's greatest industrial products.
There are two different legends that lay claim to the origin of this North Carolina nickname - one common theme in the legends is the Civil War:
In the subsequent exchange of compliments the North Carolinians were greeted with this question from the passing Virginian derelict regiment: "Any more tar down in the Old North State, boys?" Quickly they replied: "No, not a bit; old Jeff's bought it all up." "Is that so; what is he going to do with it?" was the question back "he is going to put it on your heels to make you stick better in the next fight."
"The Turpentine State"
Along with tar and pitch, turpentine from the many pine forest was one of North Carolina’s main products.
"The Land of the Sky"
This North Carolina nickname comes from Frances Fisher Tieran’s (pseudonym Christian Reid) book “The Land of the Sky” from 1876 with references to the Great Smokey Mountains and the Blue Ridge.
Whereas the North Carolina state motto intends to describe patriotic values important to North Carolina - North Carolina state motto: "To be, rather than to seem" - North Carolina state slogans focus especially on attracting tourists, and as you will see, some slogans more serious in nature than others:
"First in Flight"
North Carolina and Ohio played a significant, but contestant role in the history of flight. The Wright brothers built their design in Ohio and flew their first flight in North Carolina.
"North Carolina: Tobacco is a Vegetable"
"I'm not Gay, I'm Just From North Carolina"
"North Carolina, A Hard Habit to Break"
"North Carolina: We're Northier than South Carolina"
Some of these North Carolina funny state slogans may be bought on t-shirts and the like.
Or maybe Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Or perhaps you'd like to see the page State Mottos to find a complete list of mottos
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