With the 4th of July fast approaching, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at one of the animals most closely associated with the United States of America: the bald eagle.
Due to its usage by the government as a symbol of the nation as a whole, most people are familiar with the bald eagle, with the bird portrayed on things from money to government seals. But why was the bald eagle, of all animals, chosen as the symbol of the USA?
The founding of the United States of America as one of the world's only democratic republics (at the time) led the founders to look back to one of the greatest examples of democracy: the ancient Greeks and Romans. As a result, much of the architecture and symbols used for the new government drew inspiration from Greco-Roman society (e.g. Capitol Hill, the White House, and many other famous government buildings).
One symbol that was similarly adopted was that of the eagle, which according to www.history.com, was used as a symbol for the Roman legions (as it was seen in the ancient world as a symbol of strength). Of course, there are many types of eagles to choose from, but the deciding factor was the presumed exclusivity of the bald eagle to the Americas. As a result, the ancient symbol was resurrected in the form of the American Bald Eagle and now covers the emblems, buildings, and currency we use today in the United States.
Ironically, in the late 1900s, many changes in environment and human activity led to the endangerment of the bald eagle species in the USA, with the species almost becoming locally extinct. Fortunately, a variety of regulations and initiatives have helped reinvigorate the bald eagle population, taking it off the threatened species list and making them populous once again, even coming now as adorable bald eagle plush dolls!
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