Why does American money say 'In God We Trust'?
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 instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861.However, an Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that could 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. In a letter to the Mint Director on December 9, 1863, Secretary Chase stated: "it should be changed so as to read: IN GOD WE TRUST." The Congress passed the Act of April 22, 1864. This legislation authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin. The motto disappeared from the five-cent coin in 1883, and did not reappear until production of the Jefferson nickel began in 1938. Since 1938, most United States coins bear the inscription. The motto has been in continuous use on the one-cent coin since 1909 and the ten-cent coin since 1916. A law passed by the 84th Congress on July 30, 1956 declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957. condensed from: http://www.treas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml Here is the explanation: An 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. God became a device for holding the union together during the Civil War. Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury received an appeal from a parson, urging that the United States give recognition to God on coins. The Rev. Mark Richards Watkinson (1824-1877), pastor of "The Old Ridley Baptist Meeting House" wrote then Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase on November 13, 1861. His letter reads as follows: Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances. One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form in our coins. You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were now shattered beyond recognition? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of the Goddess of Liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words 'perpetual union'; within this ring the all-seeing eye crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words 'God, liberty, law.' This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the divine protection we have personally claimed. From my heart I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters. To you first I address a subject that must be agitated." Within a week after receipt of Rev. Watkinson's letter, Secretary Chase sent a letter to the new Director of the Mint, James Pollock. 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 expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition." In response to this directive Director Pollock came up with various wordings such as "Our Trust Is In God," "Our Trust in God," "Our God and Our Country," "God And Our Country," and "God Our Trust." In December 1863, designs were submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. On December 9, 1863, Secretary Chase wrote a reply to Director Pollock : I approve of your idea, only suggesting that on that with the Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word, "Our," so as to read, "Our God And Our Country." And on that with the shield it should be changed so as to read, "In God We Trust." Congress next passed the Act of April 22, 1864 allowing a device "IN GOD WE TRUST" to appear on the 1864 two-cent coin. An Act of Congress passed on March 3, 1865, allowed the Mint "to place the device" on all gold and silver coins.. On February 12, 1873 Congress passed the Coinage Act . It also said that the Secretary "may cause 'the device' IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such." The use of IN GOD WE TRUST has not been uninterrupted. Not all United States coins of this period bear the inscription. The device was found missing from the new design of the double-eagle gold coin and the eagle gold coin shortly after they appeared in 1907. In response to a general demand, Congress ordered the device restored, and the Act of May 18, 1908, made this 'inscription' mandatory on all coins upon which it had previously appeared. Law 31 U.S.C. Section 324a, titled "Inscription on currency and coins," states in its entirety: "At such time as new dies for the printing of currency are adopted, the dies shall bear, at such place or places thereon as the Secretary of the Treasury may determine to be appropriate, the 'inscription' "In God We Trust" and thereafter this 'inscription' shall appear on all United States currency and coins." On June 7, 1955, H.R. 619 "Providing for the 'inscription' of In God We Trust on all United States Currency and Coins," was introduced in the House. On June 29, 1955, Lyndon Baines Johnson (D-TX) introduced H.R. 619 "A bill to provide that all United States currency shall bear the 'inscription' In God We Trust.' The bill passed. On March 22, 1956, House Resolution 396 was introduced to establish "In God We Trust" as a national motto. This became law on July 30, 1956 So, it wasn't until July 30, 1956 that the 84th Congress passed a law making "IN GOD WE TRUST" _a_ national motto of the United States.