December is the most popular shopping month of the year. It is
not difficult to realize this, especially if you are like me and
your shopping money is going quickly.
In today's technology-driven world, many of us walk up to the
check-out register to finalize a purchase and pull out a little
plastic card to make the payment. The days of using paper money and
coins for payment are slowly vanishing. Recently, I made a
small purchase and the total came out to $7.49. To my
surprise, I actually had enough in my wallet that there was no need
to use my credit or debit card.
I quickly counted out my $7 in cash, and then I reached into my
pocket to gather the remaining amount in pocket change. As I pulled
the coins out my pocket I took a moment and looked at the
coins. What stood out at me was the phrase, "In God We Trust." This
may have been because I remembered looking at the "In God We Trust"
display at the Money Museum. This is what led me to choosing my
blog topic for this week, which will be to shed a little light on
this historic phrase.
During the Civil War, many Americans were seeking comfort and
assurance in religious faith. One man, the Rev. Mark Watkinson,
wrote a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Soloman Chase expressing his concern that
"recognition of the Almighty God" had been overlooked on the United
States coins. Chase wasted little time reacting to the letter. He
personally wrote to U.S. Mint Director James Pollock and requested a motto be
created that would be used to express the country's trust in God
and that could possibly be demonstrated on future
On April 22, 1864, Congress passed an act that changed the
composition of the 1-cent coin to read "In God We Trust," and it
also authorized the minting of the 2-cent coin. In that same year
the first "In God We Trust" appeared on the 2-cent coin.
(1865 2-Cent Coin)
(1865 2-Cent Coin)
Today the motto appears on all denominations of currency. Even
paper money had the phrase printed on it starting in 1957. Yet,
there have been times where the phrase has disappeared from
currency. For instance, it was taken off the 5-cent coin in 1883
and did not reappear until it was placed on the Jefferson nickel in 1938.
Over the years there has been much controversy over the phrase
and its placement on all currency. Some have claimed it violates the United States Constitution and
church-state separation principles. Despite the debates that have
spilled over into the courts, the phrase, "In God We Trust,"
remains on all United States currency.
The next time you have the unique opportunity to pay for
something with cash or change, take that opportunity to observe the
motto and realize that the change in your pocket is much more then
metals; rather, it is a reflection of this country's