On July 30th 1956, the phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto.
“In God we trust” first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864, and has appeared on paper currency since 1957.
A law passed in a Joint Resolution by the 84th Congress and was a approved by President Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956 declaring it the national motto of the United States.
The first paper currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957.
How did congress come up with this idea to use that exact motto?
The phrase appears to have originated in “The Star-Spangled Banner”, written during the War of 1812. The fourth stanza includes the phrase, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our Trust.'”
According to Ted Alexander, Chief Historian at Antietam National Battlefield, the contracted “In God We Trust” was first used by the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry as a battle cry on September 17, 1862, during the Battle of Antietam of the American Civil War.
The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a letter dated November 13, 1861, petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognizing “Almighty God in some form in our coins” in order to “relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism.”
At least part of the motivation was to declare that God was on the Union side of the Civil War.
Secretary Salmon P. Chase acted on this proposal and directed the then-Philadelphia Director of the Mint, James Pollock, to begin drawing up possible designs that would include the religious phrase. Chase chose his favorite designs and presented a proposal to Congress for the new designs in late 1863.
It’s funny to me, we all handle money at one time or another that we don’t realize the motto or what it stands for?
Until someone like me write about it, as we celebrate on July 30th our National Motto on all our currency today.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell