April 22, 1864: Coinage Act of 1864 and In God We Trust

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In God We Trust

 

The Coinage Act of 1864 was passed one hundred and fifty years ago today.  Among other provisions it granted to the Secretary of the Treasury a two cent coin.  On this coin first appeared the motto In God We Trust.  Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury had been looking for an opportunity to place such a motto on coins since he received the following letter dated November 13, 1861 from the  Rev. M. R. Watkinson:

Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to the 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 on our coins.

You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? 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 the ring the allseeing 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 hearth 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.

Chase wrote on November 20, 1861 to the Director of the Mint:

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 with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition.

This could not be done without Congressional authorization as the 1837 Coinage Act set forth the inscriptions on coins.  With the 1864 Coinage Act Chase had the authority to place In God We Trust on the new two cent coin.

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5 Comments

  1. “THE TRUST OF OUR PEOPLE IN GOD SHOULD BE DECLARED ON OUR NATIONAL COINS.”

    Worth repeating and with great emphasis. Especially in our era of civil conflict. The tyrants must go! Disobedience in God leads to obedience in false Gods. Thank you Mr. McClarey.

  2. Our coins all carry the inscription “Elizabeth II D.G. Reg. F. D.
    D. G. = Dei gratia – By the grace of God, Reg = Regina- Queen and F. D. = Fidei Defensor – Defender of the Faith

  3. Remove God idea #2,643. Let’s take In God we trust, and move it from the front of the coin to the side of the coin. No one will miss it.

    Does anyone remember this mint of an idea a few years back?

  4. Yes, Philip, I remember when Caesar tried to put himself front and center and put our national motto: “In God We Trust” on the rim of the coin. Persons to whom the people have delegated their sovereign power and authority have betrayed our public trust. The ACLU has never read the First Amendment: “or prohibit the free exercise thereof” that comes before the “wall of separation of church and state” in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Church.

    .
    The ACLU and the atheist have substituted their own poverty stricken opinion for inscribed and ratified Constitutional law.
    .
    In God We Trust

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