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A Penny for Your Thoughts: “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”

Liberty Penny

This is a beautiful and profound relic of American history.

A U.S. penny, depicting Lady Liberty and dated 1792, which, according to CNN, recently sold for nearly $1.2 million, is embossed not with “In God We Trust”—that didn’t appear on U.S. coins till 1864—but with “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”

Who was responsible for this national heresy? “Thomas Jefferson and George Washington discussed the design in letters dated August 1792, before it was presented to Congress as an option for the new coin.”

This is yet another indication of how secular and progress-oriented the Founders were—and of the fact that the United States is not and never was a Christian nation.

Here’s to the real Lady Liberty—and to a future fashioned her way.

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2 Responses to A Penny for Your Thoughts: “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry”

  1. atking@mtaonline.net'
    F. Bastiat April 12, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    A true Enlightenment gem.

  2. sdippolito@cyberian.com'
    Steve D'Ippolito April 13, 2015 at 2:16 am #

    The first US coin to bear “In God We Trust” as a motto is the two cent piece, issued from 1864 through 1873. It didn’t take long for IGWT to spread to other denominations, in fact it appeared on the first nickel five cent piece (prior to that innovation, five cent pieces were very small silver coins known as half dimes–and sized appropriately). In 1907 when Theordore Roosevelt decided our coins were staid, and began to institute more artistic designs (and he was quite successful in this), he omitted what was by then a customary motto (though it did not appear on some denominations) on the $10 and $20 gold piece. He figured it was sacrilegious to put the lord’s name on money. (He was right, but for the wrong reason.) Congress ordered the motto re-instanted and passed legislation that it could never be removed from a denomination it was already on. That turned it into attrition; the last no-motto US coin was the 1938 Indian Head or “Buffalo” nickel; that year we switched to the Jefferson nickel and that was that for secular coinage.

    Paper money didn’t start getting the IGWT motto until the late 50s and many notes were still being printed without the motto almost a decade later.

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