"IN GOD WE TRUST" BECAME AMERICA'S OFFICIAL MOTTO 57 YEARS AGO
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law 57 years ago today, July 30, 1956, legislation making the phrase "In God We Trust" the official motto of the United States of America.
American Family Association Poster
New Philadelphia High School
Photo by PFAStudent (2013)
The law also required the phrase to appear on all paper currency issued by the United States government.
The President said:
"In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future."
The first US paper currency to have "IN GOD WE TRUST" included was printed in 1957.
The origin of the phrase "In God We Trust" is said to come from the fourth stanza of Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner...
"Then conquer we must,
when our cause is just
And this be our motto
"In God is our trust."
In 1861, Rev. M.R. Watkinson sent a letter to Secretary of Treasury Salmon P. Chase asking that a statement be added to U.S. coins recognizing "God Almighty in some form."
The Secretary directed the U.S. Mint to design coins bearing the phrase, but a law had to be passed in 1864 allowing the phrase to be added on one and two cent coins.
The Coinage Act of 1873* gave the Secretary of the Treasury the power to "cause the motto...to be inscribed..."
The US CODE now states..."'In God We Trust' is the national motto," and the motto has been reaffirmed by the Congress in 2006 and again in 2011.
While 9 of 10 Americans support the inscription, President Theodore Roosevelt objected to the phrase being placed on United States coinage. TR considered using God's name on money to be sacrilegious.
*The Coinage Act of 1873, or HR 2945, was signed into law by President Grant on Feb. 12, 1873. It embraced the GOLD STANDARD and demonetized silver.
The act also placed the US MINT within the jurisdiction of the Dept of Treasury and established mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Carson City and Denver.
It also ended minting of the 2 and 3 cent coins.
HOUSE OF BURGESSES MET IN JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA 394 YEARS AGO
Jamestown, Virginia (JFK+50) The 1st elected legislative assembly in the New World, the House of Burgesses, met here in the English settlement's church building 394 years ago today, July 30, 1619.
The legislature was called into session by Governor George Yeardley**.
Any laws passed by the body were required to meet with the approval of the London Company.
One of the first acts passed by the House of Burgesses set the price of tobacco.
**Sir George Yeadley (1587-1627) was Governor of the Virginia Colony and is buried in the church at Jamestown.
House of Burgesses
Photo by John White (2003)