United States National Motto

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The United States National Motto is "In God We Trust." It was adopted for the nation's coins on March 3, 1865 by Congress. The phrase is taken from the 4th verse of the Star Spangled Banner:[1]

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d home, and the war’s desolation,
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land,
Praise the Power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when out cause it is just,
And this be our motto—“In God is our Trust;”
And the star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave,
O’er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave [2]

At the time the House Speaker Schuyler Colfax declared:

Nor should I ever forget to mention here that the last act of Congress ever signed by him President Lincoln, was one requiring that the motto, in which he sincerely believed, 'In God we trust,' should hereafter be inscribed upon all our national coin.[3]

At least three modern presidents have reconfirmed the value of this motto. President Truman stated October 30, 1949:

When the U.S. was established ... The motto then was ‘In God We Trust.’ That is still our motto and we, as a people, still place our firm trust in God.” [4]

President John F. Kennedy declared on February 9, 1961:

The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and shall ever be "In God We Trust." [5]

President Reagan invoked the motto on March 19, 1981:

Our Nation's motto -- "In God We Trust" -- was not chosen lightly. It reflects a basic recognition that there is a divine authority in the universe to which this Nation owes homage.[6]


  1. http://www.amerisearch.net/index.php?date=2004-03-03&view=View
  2. Library of Congress—copy of “Defence of Fort M’Henry" by Francis Scott Key [1]
  3. Address of Schuyler Colfax on April 30, 1865
  4. Federer, William J. Treasury of Presidential Quotations Amerisearch, Inc. 2004. Page 288. Quoting Harry S. Truman’s Radio Address of October 30, 1949 [2]
  5. Kennedy, President John F. "Remarks at the Dedication Breakfast of International Christian Leadership, Inc." February 9, 1961. [3]
  6. Reagan, President Ronald. "Proclamation 4826 – National Day of Prayer, 1981". March 19, 1981 [4]