In God We Trust: The Motto
One of the first found references of the motto “In God We Trust” is heard in the U.S. National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The song was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 and later adopted as the national anthem. In the last stanza Key writes a variation of the phrase: “…And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The words were shortened to In God We Trust and first applied to U.S. coins in 1864.
In God We Trust: The History
The U. S. Department of Treasury states “the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins.
From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861. It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:
- Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”
Pollock suggested “Our Trust Is In God,” “Our God And Our Country,” “God And Our Country,” and “God Our Trust.” Chase picked “In God We Trust” to be used on some of the government’s coins. The first time “In God We Trust” appeared on our coins was in 1864 on the new two cent coin, and by 1909 it was included on most the other coins. During the height of the cold war, on July 11, 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 140 making it mandatory that all coinage and paper currency display the motto.
In God We Trust: The Foundation
American history demonstrates repeatedly that the nation was founded on Christian principles and its founding fathers wished to acknowledge that fact all over Washington D.C. buildings, in official documents, and historical speeches. Less than a hundred years after its Declaration of Independence, In God We Trust was proclaimed on its coins. America is a free nation, and freedom of religion is still guaranteed in the Constitution’s First Amendment