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 received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins….
…t 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. Read more on the US Treasury website here.
1861 – On the brink of bankruptcy and pressed to finance the Civil War,
Congress authorized the United States Treasury to issue paper money for
the first time in the form of non-interest bearing Treasury Notes call
1865 – Gold Certificates were issued by the Department of the Treasury against gold coin and bullion deposits and were circulated until 1933.
A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the
President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of
the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the
United States. IN GOD WE TRUST was first used on paper money in 1957,
when it appeared on the one-dollar silver certificate. The first paper
currency bearing the motto entered circulation on October 1, 1957. For more money fun facts, click here.
Religion in the original Constitution:
Religion makes only one direct and obvious appearance in the original Constitution that seems to point to a desire for some degree of religious freedom. That appearance is in Article 6, at the end of the third clause:
[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
This statement is simple and straight-forward, and applies to all offices in the entire United States, both state and federal. The clause simply means that no public position can be required to be held by any one of any religious denomination. It would be unconstitutional for there to be a requirement that the President by Lutheran, or even for the mayor of a small town to be Christian. Likewise, it would be unconstitutional for a law to forbid a Jew or Muslim from holding any office in any governmental jurisdiction in the United States. (This having been said, it should be noted that several state constitutions do have a religious test — specifically, they deny office to anyone unwilling to acknowledge God or a Supreme Being.) Visit the source here.
E Pluribus Unum:
“E Pluribus Unum” was the motto proposed for the first Great Seal of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. A Latin phrase meaning “One from many,” the phrase offered a strong statement of the American determination to form a single nation from a collection of states. Over the years, “E Pluribus Unum” has also served as a reminder of America’s bold attempt to make one unified nation of people from many different backgrounds and beliefs. The challenge of seeking unity while respecting diversity has played a critical role in shaping our history, our literature, and our national character. Click here for more.
Pledge of Allegiance:
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
In its original form it read:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time it read:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”