Anyone curious about how God wound up on our currency should check out this intriguing nugget in today’s Wall Street Journal, which explains everything. It began with a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase by a Rev. Watkinson:
“Dear Sir, 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 now shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation?”
What follows is the story of how that letter led to a bill that eventualy placed “In God We Trust” on American coins. Signing that bill became one of President Lincoln’s final acts, just weeks before he was assassinated.
Check out the WSJ piece for a valuable, and increasingly meaningful, history lesson.