In 1782， US Congress selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the newly formed United States， because it symbolized courage and might， and because it was indigenous only to the United States and to Canada.
The national seal depicts the bald eagle with its wings spread， with one claw clutching an olive branch， and the other claw grasping arrows. The eagle， however， strikes different poses on other national depictions.
The bald eagle owes its name to the early American colonists， and is bald in name only. As the white-headed American eagle differed from the European gray eagle， the colonists used their word for white， which translated into bald， in describing it. Unfortunately for the eagle， the literal translation， bald-headed， stuck like a toupee.
Since ancient times， men have identified themselves with the eagle， because it creates an impression of majesty and of power while in flight. As early as 5，000 years ago， ancient Sumerians chose the eagle， in spread eagle form， as their emblem symbolizing their power. Ancient Romans followed suit， as did Emperor Charlemagne， and finally Napoleon. No doubt， Congress considered the eagle’s historical pedigree as being the animal representing a nation’s power， when selecting it to be the national emblem of the United States.
bald eagle n. 秃头鹰 emblem n. 象征，徽章，寓意
might n. 力量，威力，权力 indigenous a. 本土的，土生土长的
claw n. 爪子 clutch v. 抓住，攫住
toupee n. （法）假发 Sumerian n. 闪族人
pedigree n. 血统
follow suit v. 跟著做， 跟著出同花色的牌
Emperor Charlemagne 查理曼大帝 （742-814， 世称 Charles the Great 或Charles I， 768-814为法兰克王， 800-814为西罗马 帝国皇帝）