The Info List - E Pluribus Unum

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E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
(/ˈiː ˈpluːrɪbəs ˈuːnəm/; Latin: [ˈeː ˈpluːrɪbʊs ˈuːnũː])— Latin
for "Out of many, one"[1][2] (alternatively translated as "One out of many"[3] or "One from many")[4] — is a 13-letter traditional motto of the United States, appearing on the Great Seal along with Annuit cœptis
Annuit cœptis
( Latin
for "he approves the undertaking [lit. 'things undertaken']") and Novus ordo seclorum ( Latin
for "New order of the ages"), and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782.[2] Never codified by law, E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
was considered a de facto motto of the United States[5] until 1956 when the United States
United States
Congress passed an act (H. J. Resolution 396), adopting "In God We Trust" as the official motto.[6]


1 Meaning of the motto 2 Origins 3 Usage on coins 4 Other usages 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Meaning of the motto[edit]

Original 1776 design for the Great Seal by Simitiere. The shields with 13 initials of the colonies linked together with motto.[7]

The meaning of the phrase originates from the concept that out of the union of the original Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
emerged a new single nation.[8] It is emblazoned across the scroll and clenched in the eagle’s beak on the Great Seal of the United States.[8][9] Origins[edit] The 13-letter motto was suggested in 1776 by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere to the committee responsible for developing the seal. At the time of the American Revolution, the exact phrase appeared prominently on the title page of every issue of a popular periodical, The Gentleman's Magazine,[10][11] which collected articles from many sources into one "magazine". This in turn can be traced back to the London-based Huguenot
Peter Anthony Motteux, who used the adage for his The Gentleman's Journal, or the Monthly Miscellany (1692-1694). The phrase is similar to a Latin
translation of a variation of Heraclitus's 10th fragment, "The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one." A variant of the phrase was used in Moretum, a poem attributed to Virgil
but with the actual author unknown, describing (on the surface at least) the making of moretum, a kind of herb and cheese spread related to modern pesto. In the poem text, color est e pluribus unus describes the blending of colors into one. St Augustine
St Augustine
used the non-truncated variant of the phrase, ex pluribus unum, in his Confessions (e is the form of the Latin preposition ex that regularly appears before words beginning with a consonant). But it seems more likely that the phrase refers to Cicero's paraphrase of Pythagoras in his De Officiis, as part of his discussion of basic family and social bonds as the origin of societies and states: "When each person loves the other as much as himself, it makes one out of many (unus fiat ex pluribus), as Pythagoras wishes things to be in friendship."[12] While Annuit cœptis
Annuit cœptis
("He favors our undertakings") and Novus ordo seclorum ("New order of the ages") appear on the reverse side of the great seal, E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
appears on the obverse side of the seal (Designed by Charles Thomson), the image of which is used as the national emblem of the United States, and appears on official documents such as passports. It also appears on the seal of the President and in the seals of the Vice President of the United States, of the United States
United States
Congress, of the United States
United States
House of Representatives, of the United States
United States
Senate and on the seal of the United States
United States
Supreme Court. Usage on coins[edit]

Half Dollar (reverse), 1807

Dime E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum

Obverse: Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, year and US national motto (In God We Trust) Reverse: E pluribus unum, olive branch, torch and oak branch, face-value and country.

Total 86,408,282,060 coins minted from 1965 to 2015.

The first coins with E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
were dated 1786 and struck under the authorization of the State of New Jersey by Thomas Goadsby and Albion Cox in Rahway, New Jersey.[13] The motto had no New Jersey linkage but was likely an available die that had been created by Walter Mould the previous year for a failed federal coinage proposal.[14] Walter Mould was also authorized by New Jersey to strike state coppers with this motto and did so beginning in early 1787 in Morristown, New Jersey. Lt. Col. Seth Read
Seth Read
of Uxbridge, Massachusetts was said to have been instrumental in having E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
placed on U.S. coins.[15] Seth Read
Seth Read
and his brother Joseph Read had been authorized by the Massachusetts General Court
Massachusetts General Court
to mint coppers in 1786. In March 1786, Seth Read
Seth Read
petitioned the Massachusetts General Court, both the House and the Senate, for a franchise to mint coins, both copper and silver, and "it was concurred".[16][17] E pluribus unum, written in capital letters, is included on most U.S. currency, with some exceptions to the letter spacing (such as the reverse of the dime). It is also embossed on the edge of the dollar coin. (See United States coinage and paper bills in circulation). According to the U.S. Treasury, the motto E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
was first used on U.S. coinage in 1795, when the reverse of the half-eagle ($5 gold) coin presented the main features of the Great Seal of the United States. E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
is inscribed on the Great Seal's scroll. The motto was added to certain silver coins in 1798, and soon appeared on all of the coins made out of precious metals (gold and silver). In 1834, it was dropped from most of the gold coins to mark the change in the standard fineness of the coins. In 1837, it was dropped from the silver coins, marking the era of the Revised Mint Code. An Act of February 12, 1873 made the inscription a requirement of law upon the coins of the United States. E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
appears on all coins currently being manufactured, including the Presidential dollars that started being produced in 2007, where it is inscribed on the edge along with "In God We Trust" and the year and mint mark. After the revolution, Rahway, New Jersey
Rahway, New Jersey
became the home of the first national mint to create a coin bearing the inscription E pluribus unum. In a quality control error in early 2007 the Philadelphia Mint
Philadelphia Mint
issued some one-dollar coins without E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
on the rim; these coins have already become collectibles. The 2009 and new 2010 penny features a new design on the back, which displays the phrase E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
in larger letters than in previous years.[1] Other usages[edit]

The motto E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
is used by Portuguese multi-sport club S.L. Benfica. This motto has also been used in the Eden novel of Stanislaw Lem (cited by Doctor). This motto has also been used by the Scoutspataljon, a professional infantry battalion of the Estonian Defence Forces, since 1918. The motto appears on the coat of arms of the city of Mongaguá
in Brazil. A variant of the motto, unum e pluribus is used by the Borough of Wokingham in Berkshire, England.[18] E Pluribus Unum is a march by the composer Fred Jewell, written in 1917 during World War I. In 2001, following the September 11 attacks, the Ad Council
Ad Council
and Texas ad agency GSD&M launched a famous public service announcement in which ethnically diverse people say "I am an American"; near the end of the PSA, a black screen shows and the phrase "E pluribus unum" is seen with the English translation underneath.[19] "One Out of Many", a story about an Indian servant who travels to Washington with his employer, is included in V. S. Naipaul's novel In a Free State.

E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
in the logo of Estonian Scouts Single Infantry Battalion

See also[edit]

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Unity in diversity United States
United States
national motto


^ a b "e pluribus unum". treasury.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-29.  ^ a b "E Pluribus Unum - Origin and Meaning of the Motto Carried by the American Eagle". Greatseal.com. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2012-04-28.  ^ "E Pluribus Unum". Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins. Retrieved 2012-12-23.  ^ "E Pluribus Unum". Retrieved 2012-03-29.  ^ H. John Lyke (September 6, 2012). What Would Our Founding Fathers Say?: How Today's Leaders Have Lost Their Way. iUniverse. p. 34.  ^ "Text of H.J.Res. 396 (84th): Joint resolution to establish a national motto of the United States
United States
(Passed Congress version) - GovTrack.us". GovTrack.us.  ^ Eagle's Plume: The Struggle to Preserve the Life and Haunts of America's ... By Bruce E. Beans ^ a b The Great Seal of the United States
Great Seal of the United States
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs (Page: 6) ^ Eagle's Plume: The Struggle to Preserve the Life and Haunts of America's ... By Bruce E. Beans ^ "The Gentleman's Magazine". Encyclopædia Britannica.  ^ "The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle". 1747.  ^ Cicero, Marcus Tullius. De Officiis. Liber I, Caput XVII.  ^ Q. David Bowers. Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins. (Atlanta: Whitman Publishing, 2009) p. 129 ^ Walter Breen. Complete Encyclopedia of US and Colonial Coins. (New York: FCI Press; Doubleday, 1998) p. 78 ^ "Resource center faqs/coins accessed 2011-06-27". Treasury.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-03.  ^ "Massachusetts Coppers 1787-1788: Introduction". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2007-10-09.  ^ March, 1786 Petition to mint Massachusetts Coppers, source Google books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-03.  ^ "The Wokingham Borough Coat of Arms". Wokingham Borough. Retrieved 2014-06-13.  ^ "I am an American". Ad Council/GSD&M. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to E pluribus unum.

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See also

Bicentennial coinage Commemoratives Early Commemoratives Modern Commemoratives Confederate dollar Large denominations Obsolete denominations Promotional fake denominations Counterfeit United States
United States
currency Mill Coin production In God We Trust E pluribus unum Annuit cœptis Nicknames Replacement banknote Sales tax token

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National symbols of the United States


Flag of the United States Seal of the United States Bald eagle Uncle Sam Columbia General Grant (tree) American's Creed Pledge of Allegiance Rose Oak American bison Phrygian cap


"The Star-Spangled Banner" "Dixie" "America the Beautiful" "The Stars and Stripes Forever" "Hail to the Chief" "Hail, Columbia" "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" "God Bless America" "Lift Every Voice and Sing" "The Army Goes Rolling Along" "Anchors Aweigh" "Marines' Hymn" "Semper Fidelis" "The Air Force Song" "Semper Paratus" "National Emblem" "The Washington Post March" "Battle Hymn of the Republic" "Yankee Doodle" "You're a Grand Old Flag" "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" "This Land Is Your Land"


In God We Trust E Pluribus Unum Novus ordo seclorum Annuit cœptis


Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
(Liberty Enlightening the World) Liberty Bell Mount Rushmore National Mall