On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution directing that Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson form a committee to design a seal, emblem, or coat of arms to represent the new sovereign nation of free people. Francis Hopkinson, working with the committee, submitted this design in 1780. Although his scheme was not accepted, several of its components were incorporated into Charles Thomson's approved design of 1782. Shown here is Hopkinson's proposal for the reverse side of the seal.
National Archives, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention