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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 36, September 3, 2006, Article 17

ROOSEVELT AND THE "IN GOD WE TRUST" MOTTO

Another article about the new quarter notes "Theodore Roosevelt
would have endorsed the design of North Dakota's new quarter,
although he wouldn't have included the motto "In God We Trust,"
says a historian who will play Roosevelt at the coin's unveiling
ceremony."

"During his presidency, Roosevelt hired a renowned sculptor, Augustus
Saint-Gaudens, to fashion new coins. Roosevelt believed the nation's
coin designs at the time "lacked sufficient imagination," said David
Lebryk, the U.S. Mint's acting director.

Saint-Gaudens designed new $10 "eagle" and $20 "double eagle" gold
coins with raised images of an eagle and Lady Liberty. The words "In
God We Trust," which had been put on coins since the Civil War,
were deliberately omitted.

In one letter to a New York minister, Roosevelt said he believed to
put those words on coins amounted to "irreverence, which comes
dangerously close to sacrilege."

"It seems to me eminently unwise to cheapen such a motto by use
on coins, just as it would cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or
in advertisements," Roosevelt said in the letter, which he wrote
in November 1907.

Saint-Gaudens thought the motto was ridiculous, said Clay Jenkinson,
a visiting Roosevelt scholar at Dickinson State University scheduled
to speak at Wednesday's ceremony in the character of Roosevelt.

"Roosevelt felt that money is money, and God is God, and that they
don't belong on the same thing," Jenkinson said. "Saint-Gaudens
objected because he thought it was just kind of a knuckleheaded motto.
He wanted a more dignified coinage."

"Eric Hardmeyer, president of the Bank of North Dakota, said the bank
has an initial supply of 200,000 quarters for the ceremony. He said
he would like to have at least 1.2 million of the coins, and he is
expecting another shipment after Labor Day.

"There's tremendous interest in all of the state quarters that have
been rolled out. We've never had enough to go around," Hardmeyer said.
"Of course, we expect ... the demand for the North Dakota quarter to
be great. We're trying to get as much of the supply as we can."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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