The first time “In God We Trust” was used as our national motto was in 1864, during the Civil War. In 1961, Rev. M. R. Watkinson from Pennsylvania wrote a letter to Salmon Chase, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury, requesting that God be acknowledged in our national motto. Secretary Chase promptly responded by instructing the Director of the Mint in Philadelphia to begin working on a new mold that would acknowledge God. The addition of “In God We Trust” didn’t appear on any coins until 1864 when congress passed the act authorizing it on two U.S. coins and was later included on other U.S. coins.
It wasn’t until almost 90 years later that a bill mandating the motto appear on all U.S. currency was signed into law by President Eisenhower in 1955. This bill was the result of Matthew Rothert’s efforts after noticing it didn’t appear on paper money. Rothert, a respected businessman from Camden, wrote letters, gave speeches, and had articles printed in newspapers and magazines to gain support for his idea. He is a shining example of the difference one person can make.
For more info on Mathew Rothert and how his efforts are still affecting Arkansans today click here!