60 Years Ago ‘In God We Trust’ Became Our National Motto

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July 30, 2016, marked 60 years since President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation officially making “In God We Trust” our national motto.

In 1955, President Eisenhower signed a bill that mandated all U.S. currency and coins bear the inscription “In God We Trust,” but it wasn’t officially adopted as the national motto until one year later in 1956. Before that time, there was no official U.S. motto.

It was adopted as the nation’s motto as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum, which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782. The phrase appears to have originated in “The Star-Spangled Banner“, written during the War of 1812. The fourth stanza includes the phrase, “And this be our motto: ‘In God is our Trust.'” This version of the motto made an early appearance on the twenty dollar interest bearing notes issued in 1864 along with the motto “God and our Right”.


“Even though the motto was not officially adopted until 1956, it is interwoven into the fabric of this nation, from our founding documents to our currency, to inscriptions on our government buildings,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) wrote. “America’s birth is rooted in the free exercise of religion without government coercion. This is a part of our nation’s history that cannot be erased.”