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US National Motto
"In God We Trust"
Adopted on July 30, 1956
In God We Trust is the official national motto of the United States and the US state of
The modern motto of the United States of America, as established in a 1956 by an Act of Congress and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is In
God we trust.
The motto first appeared on a United States coin in 1864.
The original national motto: "E Pluribus Unum"
The original motto of the United States was secular. "E Pluribus Unum" is Latin for "One from many" or "One
from many parts." It refers to the welding of a single federal state from a group of individual political
units -- originally colonies and now states.
On 1776-JUL-4, Congress appointed John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson to prepare a design
for the Great Seal of the United States. The first design, submitted to Congress on 1776-AUG-10 used the
motto "E Pluribus Unum." It was rejected. Five other designs also failed to meet with Congress' approval
during the next five years. In 1782, Congress asked Mr. Thomson, Secretary of Congress, to complete the
project. Thomson, along with a friend named Barton, produced a design that was accepted by Congress on
1782-JUN-10. It included an eagle with a heart-shaped shield, holding arrows and an olive branch in its
claws. The motto "E Pluribus Unum" appeared on a scroll held in its beak. The seal was first used on
1782-SEP-16. It was first used on some federal coins in 1795.
The replacement motto: "In God We Trust:"
The national motto originated with Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, during the Civil War. Prompted by a letter from Rev. M. R. Watkinson, of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, asking for a recognition of "the Almighty God in some form in our coins," Chase requested Congress to pass a law changing the composition of the 2-cent piece to include the motto "In God We Trust." The law was passed on April 22, 1864. That same year, the two-cent coin was the first bearing the inscription. Eventually the motto appeared on all US coins and currencies.
When the double eagle and eagle of new design appeared in 1907, it was soon discovered that the motto had been omitted. In response to a general demand, Congress ordered it restored, and the act of May 18, 1908, made mandatory its appearance upon all coins upon which it had heretofore appeared. The act approved July 11, 1955, makes appearance of the motto "In God We Trust" mandatory upon all coins of the United States (69 Stat. 290. 31 US Code 324a).
On July 30, 1956, a law was passed stating "the national motto of the United States is hereby declared to be 'In God We Trust'." (70 Stat. 732. 36 US Code 186). This did not repeal or prohibit the phrase E Pluribis Unum as a national motto. In 1963 the Department of State took the following position: "'In
God We Trust' is the motto of the United States. It seems to the Department, nevertheless, that there is ample basis both in history and law for calling 'E Pluribus Unum' a motto of the United States." The Congress has used both.
Mottos of the States
State motto is a word, phrase, or sentence inscribed on or attached to a coin, building, or other object. The motto states an important idea for a group of people within the state.