We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the State Motto of Kansas?

By J.E. Holloway
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

"Ad astra per aspera" is the state motto of Kansas. This Latin phrase means "to the stars through difficulties" and represents the aspirations and hard-working spirit of the state. It also refers to the history of violence between pro- and anti-slavery factions in Kansas in the late 1850s and early 1860s. The state motto of Kansas forms part of the state's great seal; the state adopted both at the same time.

Kansas became the 34th state in the Union in January 1861. Every state in the Union has both a state seal and a state motto. As a result, statehood brought with it a demand for symbols to represent Kansas. Both the great seal and the state motto of Kansas were the work of John J. Ingalls. Ingalls, a state senator for the town of Atchison, was a Massachusetts native and prominent antislavery activist who played a prominent role in Kansas's path to statehood.

The state motto of Kansas appears written on a scroll at the top of the state's great seal, together with a number of other symbols relating to the state's history. 34 stars fill the sky beneath the motto, referring to Kansas's position as the 34th state. Below them, the seal depicts a number of scenes from Kansas life, including a settler plowing the land, a wagon train heading west, a steamboat on a river and Native Americans hunting bison. An inscription in the border of the seal gives the date of Kansas's entry into the United States.

The phrase "ad astra per aspera" is not original to Ingalls. The expression "ad astra," meaning "to the stars," probably originates with the Roman poet Virgil, who used the phrase in his Aeneid. Its earliest use as a motto may be at Dr Challoner's Grammar School, a 17th-century English school, although the exact date of the motto is uncertain. "Per aspera ad astra," which has an identical meaning, is another common version of this phrase. It appears as the motto of the duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

"Per ardua ad astra" is a Latin phrase with a similar meaning to the state motto of Kansas. It is the motto of at least one prominent family and, possibly through the influence of author H. Rider Haggard, became the motto of Britain's Royal Flying Corps in 1912. It later became the motto of the Royal Air Force as well as the Royal Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Air Forces. The South African and Spanish Air Forces use "per aspera ad astra" as their mottoes.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.