"IN GOD WE TRUST" is the official motto of the
United States . It was
adopted as the nation\'s motto in 1956 as an alternative or
replacement to the unofficial motto of _
E pluribus unum _, which was
adopted when the Great Seal of the
United States was created and
adopted in 1782.
God We Trust" first appeared on the Two-cent piece in 1864 and
has appeared on paper currency since 1957. A law passed in a Joint
Resolution by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by
Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956, declared "In
Trust" must appear on American currency. This phrase was first used on
paper money in 1957, when it appeared on the one-dollar silver
certificate. The first paper currency bearing the phrase entered
circulation on October 1, 1957. The 84th Congress later passed
legislation (P.L. 84-851), also signed by President Eisenhower on July
30, 1956, declaring the phrase to be the national motto.
Some groups and people have expressed objections to its use, citing
its religious reference that violates the
Establishment Clause of the
First Amendment . These groups believe the phrase should be removed
from currency and public property.
It is also the motto of the
U.S. state of
Florida . Its Spanish
equivalent, _En Dios Confiamos,_ is the motto of the Republic of
* 1 History
* 2 Society and culture
* 2.1 Pop culture
* 2.2 License plates
* 3 Criticism
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes and references
* 6 External links
Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary , scribes "In
God is our
Trust," scratches out "is our" and overwrites "We" to arrive at "In
God We Trust" in a December 9, 1863, letter to
James Pollock ,
Director of the Philadelphia Mint.
The phrase appears to have originated in "
The Star-Spangled Banner ",
Francis Scott Key during the
War of 1812 . The fourth
stanza includes the phrase, "And this be our motto: 'In
God is our
Trust.'" This version of the motto made an early appearance on the
twenty dollar interest bearing notes issued in 1864 along with the
God and our Right". Francis Scott Key's "Defence of Fort
M'Henry" poem, which soon became "
The Star-Spangled Banner ", includes
the phrase "And this be our motto: In
God is our Trust" in its fourth
The Reverend M. R. Watkinson, in a letter dated November 13, 1861,
petitioned the Treasury Department to add a statement recognizing
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
God was on the Union side of the Civil War. Treasury
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.
As Chase was preparing his recommendation to Congress, 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.
This meant that the mint could make no changes without the enactment
of additional legislation by the Congress. Such legislation was
introduced and passed on April 22, 1864, allowing the Secretary of the
Treasury to authorize the inclusion of the phrase on one-cent and
An Act of Congress passed on March 3, 1865, allowed the Mint
Director, with the Secretary's approval, to place the motto on all
gold and silver coins that "shall admit the inscription thereon". In
1873, Congress passed the Coinage Act, granting that the Secretary of
the Treasury "may cause the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on
such coins as shall admit of such motto".
The use of "In
God We Trust" has been interrupted. The motto
disappeared from the five-cent coin in 1883, and did not reappear
until production of the Jefferson nickel began in 1938. However, at
least two other coins minted in every year in the interim still bore
the motto, including the
Morgan dollar and the Seated Liberty half
dollar . In 1908, Congress made it mandatory that the phrase be
printed on all coins upon which it had previously appeared. This
decision was motivated after a public outcry following the release of
a $20 coin which did not bear the motto. The motto has been in
continuous use on the one-cent coin since 1909, and on the ten-cent
coin since 1916. It also has appeared on all gold coins and silver
dollar coins, half-dollar coins, and quarter-dollar coins struck since
July 1, 1908. Since 1938, all US coins have borne the motto. A
quarter dollar with the United States' official motto "In
Trust" on the obverse side
Cold War era, the government of the
United States sought
to distinguish itself from the
Soviet Union , which promoted state
atheism and thus implemented antireligious legislation . The 84th
Congress passed a joint resolution "declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the
national motto of the United States". The law was signed by President
Eisenhower on July 30, 1956. The
United States Code at 36 U.S.C. §
302, now states: "'In
God we trust' is the national motto."
The same day, the President signed into law a requirement that "In
God We Trust" be printed on all U.S. currency and coins. On paper
currency, it first appeared on the silver certificate in 1957,
followed by other certificates. Federal Reserve Notes and United
States Notes were circulated with the motto starting from 1964 to
1966, depending on the denomination. (Of these, only Federal Reserve
Notes are still circulated.)
Charles Edward Bennett of
Florida cited the Cold War
when he introduced the bill in the House, saying "In these days when
imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy
freedom, we should continually look for ways to strengthen the
foundations of our freedom". A framed poster displaying the
national motto of the
United States in a New Philadelphia High School
In 2006, on the 50th anniversary of its adoption, the Senate
God We Trust" as the official national motto of the
United States of America. In 2011 the House of Representatives passed
an additional resolution reaffirming "In
God We Trust" as the official
motto of the United States, in a 396–9 vote. According to a 2003
joint poll by
USA Today ,
CNN , and Gallup , 90% of Americans support
the inscription "In
God We Trust" on U.S. coins.
The phrase has been incorporated in many hymns and religio-patriotic
songs. During the
American Civil War , the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry
Union Army assumed the motto "In
God we trust" in early August
Christianity , the official motto "In
God We Trust"
resounds with several verses from the
Bible , including Psalm 118:8,
Psalm 40:3, Psalm 73:28, and Proverbs 29:25. In
Islam the word for
the concept of reliance on
God is called _
Tawakkul _; the phrase "In
God We Trust" is found in two places of the
Koran , in
Surah 10 Yunus
, as well as
Surah 7 Al-A\'raf , although several other verses
reinforce this concept. Melkote Ramaswamy, a Hindu American scholar,
writes that the presence of the phrase "In
God We Trust" on American
currency is a reminder that "there is
God everywhere, whether we are
conscious or not."
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks in 2001, many public schools across
United States posted "In
God We Trust" framed posters in their
"libraries, cafeterias and classrooms". The American Family
Association supplied several 11-by-14-inch posters to school systems
and vowed to defend any legal challenges to the displaying of the
SOCIETY AND CULTURE
* An urban myth suggests that it was omitted from new U.S. dollar
coins. The first coins produced under the Presidential $1 Coin
Program did indeed lack the "In
God We Trust" inscription along their
edges (along with the "E Pluribus Unum" inscription, the year of
production, and the mint mark ; these coins, unlike normal dollar
coins, had completely blank edges), but these coins, known as "godless
dollars ", were the result of a minting error, not a deliberate
Marty Feldman 's satirical comedy _In
God We Tru _ (1980).
* The film _
They Live _ plays on the idea.
Special sunglasses allow
the wearers to see simple hidden messages instead of the signs they
see without them. Advertising is seen as "OBEY", "CONSUME" and "MARRY
AND REPRODUCE". Dollar bills are all marked "THIS IS YOUR GOD".
God We Trust' optional license plate designed by Troy
Wingard for the
South Carolina Department of Public Safety
South Carolina Department of Public Safety in 2002
As of April 1, 2016 the following U.S. states currently offer an "In
God We Trust" license plate as a speciality plate for an additional
normal vehicle registration processing which vary from state to state:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Florida (Which also offers a speciality plate) and Georgia which both
display the county of issuance on their License Plate offer the option
God We Trust" in place of the County Name.
Advocates of separation of church and state have questioned the
legality of this motto, asserting that it is a violation of the United
States Constitution, prohibiting the government from passing any law
respecting the establishment of religion. Religious accommodationists
state that this entrenched practice has not historically presented any
constitutional difficulty, is not coercive, and does not prefer one
religious denomination over another.
God We Trust" as a national motto and on U.S. currency has been
the subject of numerous unsuccessful lawsuits. The motto was first
challenged in _Aronow v.
United States _ in 1970, but the United
States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: "It is quite
obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency
God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment
of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears
no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious
exercise." The decision was cited in _Elk Grove Unified School
District v. Newdow _, a 2004 case on the
Pledge of Allegiance . These
acts of "ceremonial deism " are "protected from Establishment Clause
scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any
significant religious content". In _
Zorach v. Clauson
Zorach v. Clauson _ (1952), the
Supreme Court also held that the nation's "institutions presuppose a
Supreme Being" and that government recognition of
God does not
constitute the establishment of a state church as the Constitution's
authors intended to prohibit.
Aside from constitutional objections, President Theodore Roosevelt
took issue with using the motto on coinage as he considered using
God's name on money to be sacrilege .
God Save the Queen
God have mercy upon your soul
* So help me
Gott mit uns
Deus seja louvado
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ _Annual report – American Civil Liberties Union, Volume 5_.
American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union . 1951. Retrieved 1 May 2012. In 1956,
an official national motto was adopted, "In
God We Trust," replacing
the unofficial "E Pluribus Unum."
* ^ _Refiguring Mass Communication: A History_. University of
Illinois Press . 24 March 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2012. He held high the
Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the nation's
unofficial motto, _e pluribus unum_, even as he was recoiling from the
party system in which he had long participated.
* ^ _A_ _B_ U.S. Department of the Treasury (2011). "History of
God We Trust\'". _www.treasury.gov_. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
* ^ 12 Mar 2010 (2010-03-12). "Atheist in battle to remove \'In God
We Trust\' from US currency". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
* ^ As shown on the Córdoba (bank notes and coins); see for
example Banco Central de
Nicaragua Archived 2012-05-06 at the Wayback
* ^ Chase, Salmon P (December 9, 1863). _Letter to James Pollock_.
_Document # RG 104_UD 87-A_Folder In
God We Trust 1861_Part1_.
National Archives and Records Administration. p. 11.
United States (1897). _Congressional Serial Set_. US:
Government Printing Office, p. 260.
* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ "History of \'In
God We Trust\'".
_treasury.gov_. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
* ^ Duncan, Ann W. (2008). Religion, Rhetoric, and Ritual in the
U.S. Government," _Church-state Issues in America Today_. Westport CT:
Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 77.
* ^ _Congressional Record_, 1956, p. 13917, via NonBeliever.org
* ^ "10 Interesting Facts About Theodore Roosevelt".
Republicanpresidents.net. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
* ^ Merriman, Scott A. Religion and the Law in America: An
Encyclopedia of Personal Belief and Public Policy. Santa Barbara, CA:
ABC-CLIO, 2007. Print. "In 1956, the United States, changed its motto
God We Trust," in large part to differentiate itself from the
Soviet Union, its
Cold War enemy that was widely seen as promoting
* ^ Public Law 84-851
* ^ Public Law 84-140
* ^ Steven B. Epstein, "Rethinking the Constitutionality of
Ceremonial Deism" Columbia Law Review, Vol. 96, No. 8. (Dec., 1996),
p. 2083–2174, quoting the peroration (abridged here) of the speech
Charles Edward Bennett , sponsor in the House, the only speech in
either House of Congress on the subject. President Eisenhower and W.
Randolph Burgess , Deputy to the Treasury for Monetary Affairs , had
approved of the legislation! 101
Congressional Record pp. 4384
(quoted), 7796. (1955)
* ^ "The legislation placing "In
God We Trust" on national currency
US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives".
history.house.gov. 1955-07-11. Retrieved 2017-05-13.
* ^ Felicia Sonmez (1 November 2011). "Social issues return to fore
God We Trust\' resolution". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7
November 2011. In 2006, on the 50th anniversary of its adoption, the
Senate reaffirmed 'In
God We Trust' as the official national motto of
the United States," Forbes said in a statement announcing the vote.
"Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will have the same opportunity
to reaffirm our national motto and directly confront a disturbing
trend of inaccuracies and omissions, misunderstandings of church and
state, rogue court challenges, and efforts to remove
God from the
public domain by unelected bureaucrats.
* ^ Jennifer Steinhauer (3 November 2011). "In
God We Trust, With
the House\'s Help". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
Citing a crisis of national identity and mass confusion among
Americans about their nation's motto, the House on Tuesday voted on a
resolution "reaffirming 'In
God We Trust' as the official motto of the
* ^ Todd Starnes (3 November 2011). "See Which Congressmen Voted
God We Trust\'".
Fox News . Retrieved 7 November 2011.
The House of Representatives passed a bi-partisan resolution Tuesday
night reaffirming "In
God We Trust" as the official motto of the
United States. The 396–9 vote came at the request of Rep. Randy
* ^ "USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll results".
USA Today . 2011.
Retrieved 15 November 2011. C. The inscription "In
God We Trust" on
U.S. coins; 2003 Sep 19–21; Approve 90; Disapprove 8; No opinion 2
* ^ The Regimental Committee, 125th PA Volunteers, 1862–1863
(2009). _Regimental History_. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Library.
pp. 150–152. ISBN 978-1-112-13570-5 .
* ^ Alexander, ted (2011). _The Battle of Antietam_. Charleston,
SC: The History Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-60949-179-6 .
* ^ _125th PA Vol. Infantry: IN GOD WE TRUST_. _YouTube_. 28 June
* ^ "In
God We Trust: The Motto". All About History. Retrieved
* ^ "Verses including the word Putting One\'s Trust in Allah
(Tawakkul)". Quran Index. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
* ^ Ramaswamy, Melkote (2012-08-11). "Faith/Values Indianapolis
Star". indystar.com. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
* ^ "USATODAY.com – \'In
God We Trust\' pressed for schools".
_usatoday.com_. 19 February 2002.
* ^ "Historic Change", Snopes,
* ^ "U.S. Mint Produces \'Godless\' Dollar Coins". Newsmax.com.
2007-03-07. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
* ^ David S Morgan (2007-03-07). ""Godless" Dollar Coins Slip
Through Mint". CBS News. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
* ^ Associated Press: Dollar Coins Missing \'In
God We Trust\', By
David S Morgan, (Mar. 7, 2007), CBS News Archived March 19, 2007, at
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Empire of the Sunglasses: How \'They Live\' Took on
Republicans and Won", by Joshua Rothkopf, _Rolling Stone_
* ^ _A_ _B_ Richard H. Fallon (2004). _The Dynamic Constitution: an
Introduction to Americans Constitutional Law_. Cambridge University
Press . p. 60. ISBN 978-0-521-60078-1 . "Strict separationists"
believe that the government has no business supporting religious
beliefs or institutions in any way – for example, by providing tax
breaks to churches, assisting parochial schools, including prayers or
benedictions in public ceremonies, or inscribing "In
God We Trust" on
the currency. Religious accommodationists can well explain why certain
entrenched social practices (such as the inscription of "In
Trust" on the currency) were not historically perceived as presenting
constitutional difficulties: The relevant practices are not coercive
and do not prefer one narrow sect over another.
* ^ Markoe, Lauren (2014-05-29). "Atheists Lose Latest Battle To
God We Trust\' From U.S. Currency". _huffingtonpost.com_.
Religion News Service . Retrieved 2014-10-09.
* ^ Aronow, 432 F.2d at 243.
* ^ LYNCH v. DONNELLY, 465 U.S. 668 (1984) U.S. Supreme Court
* ^ _ABA Journal Sep 1962_. Much more recently, in 1952, speaking
through Mr. Justice Douglas in _Zorach v. Clauson_, 343 U.S. 306, 313,
the Supreme Court repeated the same sentiments, saying: We are a
religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. Mr.
Justice Brewer in the _Holy Trinity_ case, _supra_, mentioned many of
these evidences of religion, and Mr. Justice Douglas in the _Zorach_
case referred to ... rayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to
the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamation
making Thanksgiving Day a holiday; "So help me God" in our courtroom
oaths – these and ... other references to the Almighty ... run
through our laws, our public rituals, our ceremonies ... the
supplication with which the Court opens each session: "
God save the
United States and this Honorable Court" (312–313). To this list may
be added tax exemption of churches, chaplaincies in the armed forces,
the "Pray for Peace" postmark, the widespread observance of Christmas
holidays, and, in classrooms, singing the fourth stanza of _America_
which is prayer invoking the protection of God, and the words "in God
is our trust" as found in the National Anthem, and the reciting of the
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, modified by an Act of Congress of
June 14, 1954, to include the words "under God".
* ^ "ROOSEVELT DROPPED \'IN GOD WE TRUST\'; President Says Such a
Motto on Coin Is Irreverence, Close to Sacrilege. NO LAW COMMANDS ITS
USE He Trusts Congress Will Not Direct Him to Replace the Exalted
Phrase That Invited Constant Levity". The New York Times. November 14,
1907. Retrieved 26 August 2010.