Currency of the United States of America

Many people would agree that the paper currency of the United States is simplistic and complex at the same time.  A visual contradiction that has evolved little since it was first printed as a national monetary standard sometime around 1865 following the Civil War.  It was the first time in the history of the United States that a single currency was utilized and backed by a central organization, the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  The Federal Reserve wouldn’t exist as the United States central bank until 1913 following the stock market crash in 1907.  What is printed on the front and backs of most of our currency isn’t well-known, and knowing some of the history lends itself to knowing a little of what the founding fathers had intended for our country in 1776.

Great Seal of the United States*

There are two parts (obverse/reverse, like a coin) to the Great Seal of the United States, and it’s most prominently displayed on the back of a $1.  Here is a representation of that seal.

This design is largely unchanged since 1885

eagleOn the obverse, the coat of arms seal is used much more prominently on various department seals, letterhead, and more commonly seen on Passports.  The Eagle, as the national bird, symbolizes strength and the shield covers the body as protection.  In the left foot, an olive branch, which is meant to show peace and prosperity.  In the right foot, 13 arrows to symbolize the first colonies and their fight to protect their independence.  The banner, with the words “E Pluribus Unum” is Latin for “Many of One”.  According to Wikipedia, “The traditionally understood meaning of the phrase was that out of many states (or colonies) emerges a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation—illustrating the concept of the melting pot.”

allseeingeyeOn the reverse, this has actually never been cut as a seal, but appears most prominently on the back of the current $1.  The unfinished pyramid has 13 layers to symbolize the first 13 original states, and being unfinished so as to reflect a growing and expanding Democracy.  The bottom layer has the Roman numerals of MDCCLXXVI (1776), which is the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Above the unfinished pyramid, is the Eye of Providence watching over it.  Many believe that this symbol was to represent the Mason religion.  The first motto, on the top, “Anuit Coeptis” signifies that Providence has “approved of undertakings”.  The second motto, on the bottom, “Novus Ordo Seclorum” is Latin for “a new order of the ages” signifying the Democracy being developed in the United States at the time.



While many believe that this phrase existed on all our currency from inception, it wasn’t actually included as the motto of the United States until the 1950’s.  Various coins minted from 1837 to 1938 had sayings similar to “In God We Trust”, which was at the purview of the Mint Director (with Secretary approval) to add or remove the phrase at will.  Since 1938 though, the phrase “In God We Trust” has been printed on all coinage minted in the
United States.  All during this time, our paper currency had never had anything on it except variations of the Great Seal of the United States, at least, up until 1956.

On July 30, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the following:

  • “In God We Trust” is the national motto of the United States
  • All U.S. currency and coins are to be printed with this motto

It wasn’t until 1964 to 1966 that the phrase appeared on Federal Reserve Notes.

As this can be a polarizing subject for a lot of people, you might be surprised to know that over 90% of Americans support he inscription on our currency.  The fact that it seems like this is a hard subject to discuss is a symptom of mainstream media focusing on what can and does cause controversy.  Mainstream media, a topic all by itself, is the cause for a lot of our problems and what we, as Americans, focus on.

I for one don’t mind the phrase being on our currency, nor do I mind it being prominently displayed on posters or in Federal buildings.  It is the motto of the United States after all, which was an act of Congress in 1956, reaffirmed by the Senate in 2006, with an additional resolution passed by the House of Representatives in 2011; just in case you were having an issue with the phrase.

What these four words does not indicate is which God is being referred to.  My personal opinion is that it is whichever God you believe in, which is the foundation of what this country was founded on; freedom to do what you want within the law and believe what you will.  I respect others’ beliefs as others respect my beliefs.  How can that ever be a problem?

*Great Seal of the United States – Wikipedia
**In God We Trust – Wikipedia

Tech Monday: China hacked US firms despite cyberpact

China hacked US firms despite cyberpact

It’s amazing how the governments of countries say one thing but do something completely opposite later on.  I think its absolute crap that the US and China agreed not to hack each other and steal intellectual property [IP].  It’s like telling a child that the big box in that room over there is full of candy, but there is an agreement with the rooms owner that they are not to go in there because they agreed to not each the candy.  It’s ridiculous.

I don’t doubt at all that China has again hacked 5 technology companies and two pharmaceutical companies.  Our intrusion systems are advanced enough to see that there is a lot of traffic coming from a particular country and IP range, so how can they deny it.  At the same time though, I know for a fact that the US is doing the same thing, but the difference is that they’re covering their tracks better and not getting caught.  The internet is more akin to the wild west than it is to a civilized online community.  Sure, there are people out there that don’t do this sort of thing…  how does that saying go? “one bad apple ruins the whole bushel”?

Adding to the problem is the increased use of what a lot are referring to as the “dark net” which is an encrypted and secretive underbelly of the commercial internet.  There is no getting on this part of the internet without knowing someone already in there to invite you in.  It’s estimated that over 20% of all traffic on the internet currently is tied in some way to the dark net.  If its illegal and you think it can be exploited online, its in the dark net.  Movies, music, software and even human body parts are listed somewhere on the dark net for the right price.  The most utilized currently in the dark net is Bitcoin as there isn’t any traditional method of tracing the source or recipient.

Hacking is going to continue and most likely get worse before something is done, if at all.  I personally hope I never have to be the victim of hacking during my lifetime, but with our ever increasing reliance on technology I fear that we’re heading for a disaster only seen in movies.