While defining how we, the people come by our liberties, revered President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” President Jefferson also asked his countrymen this specific question on the subject: “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?”
President Jefferson, like many presidents, believed in the necessity for our country to continually acknowledge the liberties we share and hold dear to our hearts are in fact, given to us from God.
And to help us remember and confirm this truth, In God We Trust was proclaimed America’s national motto, signed on by another well respected president – Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Facts regarding the history of In God We Trust:
- Recognized long ago in a beloved military song.
- Embossed and printed on United States currency.
- Approved by a United States President.
- Displayed on national and public buildings.
- Passed into law by the United States Congress.
- Recently reaffirmed by the United States of America’s House of Representatives.
In God We Trust is recognized in The Star-Spangled Banner. The song was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. It was very popular with the military and eventually became our national anthem. Key writes the last stanza as: “…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.”
In God We Trust was a sentiment shared by both sides during the Civil War. Religious opinions were high at the time. Many folks from both the North and the South thought God should somehow be acknowledged on our currency. A letter dated November 13, 1861, found in the Treasury Department is the first recorded example of the country’s concern regarding that thought.
The letter was written to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, and was composed by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania:
“Dear Sir [Sec. Chase]:
…One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins…”
Secretary Chase then wrote his own letter on the matter, dated November 20, 1861, to James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia. Chase instructed Pollock to prepare a motto:
“Dear Sir [Dir. Pollock]:
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.”
After a vote from Congress, In God We Trust first appeared on currency (two cent coin) in 1864. The motto has been included on all United States coins since 1938.
Our motto affirms the strong history the United States of America has in recognizing God in our country and is publicly confirmed in many forms:
In God We Trust was officially approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 11, 1955 for all United States paper currency and coins, and became the official motto of the United States of America on July 30, 1956.
The phrase comes from Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In God We Trust was reaffirmed as the national motto in November 2011 when the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (H.Con.Res.13) asserting its status as the U.S. national motto. It did so after President Barack Obama mistakenly referred to “E Pluribus Unum” as the nation’s official motto.
The Republican sponsor of the resolution, Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia, supports and encourages the display of In God We Trust.
It was approved overwhelmingly 396 to 9, with two abstentions.
Because of the positive vote, elected leaders and citizens have taken action to display In God We Trust in government buildings, courtrooms, schools and businesses . The Million Window Campaign is an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.
If you would like to order the In God We Trust removable 4”x 5” window cling decal for your home, office or vehicle, visit http://ingodwetrust.com
The Bible instructs us to trust in God at all times:
Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Thankfully our current president, Donald J. Trump, also sees the need and the importance to publicly place trust in our Creator. He signed the proclamation for National Days of Prayer for September 8-10. And Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, has reported on several occasions of meetings President Trump has attended which opened with prayer.
Each time our leaders proclaim trust in Almighty God, we lift up His holy name. Blessings.