Tour of the Dollar Bill

The American one dollar bill is more than currency, it is teaching tool designed by our founders to reveal the fundamental principles of our nation. The signs and symbols on the dollar bill were debated and carefully chosen so future generations would remember the uniqueness of America’s founding.

The Providence Forum has taken this everyday dollar bill and designed a wonderful tool that can be used as a simple primer on America’s values and virtues. The dollar bill explains the founding faith and values of our nation. Below we outline symbolism on the dollar bill. If we put these meanings all together, we have a remarkable sermon from President Washington who called himself “a preacher of providence.” Our dollar declares that we are “one nation under God” that exists by God’s good Providence, requiring us to live up to the high standards of the moral virtues of courage, hardiness, innocence, purity, justice, perseverance, and vigilance.

Washington on the Dollar Bill The Great Seal on the Dollar Bill

What do the Symbols on the Dollar Bill mean?

On the reverse side of the dollar bill, you will see our nation’s motto and the two sides of the Great Seal of the United States.

Our Motto:

Our motto affirms, “In God we Trust.” These words, which are on all of our nation’s currency, were first suggested in the last stanza of the poem written by Francis Scott Key that became our National Anthem. The last act of President Abraham Lincoln before his assassination was to have this motto put on our nation’s coins.

The Great Seal:

On the left is the circle that contains the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. Our Seal was adopted by our Continental Congress in 1787. The Latin at the top says “Annuit Coeptis”, which means, “He has smiled on our undertakings.”

This is immediately next to the “Eye of Providence”, or an eye in a triangle, an historic symbol of God the Father, the Agent of Providence. According to the records of the Continental Congress, “The Pyramid signifies strength and duration. The eye over it and the motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause.”

On the right side of the back of the dollar is the front of the Great Seal containing the well-known American eagle with a shield and a “Halo Proper” above the shield, a symbol often seen at Presidential press conferences.

The “Halo Proper” represents the presence of God among Men.

The Thirteen stars in the halo stand for the original states. They form a new constellation taking its place among other sovereign nations.

The Latin motto “E Pluribus Unum” or “out of many, one” shows our nation’s unity even though composed of many states.

The eagle, America’s symbol holds 13 arrows and 13 olives on a branch for peace. The eagle looks in the direction of peace. Posed with a shield in front, the design of the shield represents the states joined together as one under Congress.

The colors. The shield was to be in red, white and blue (though you cannot see the colors on the green dollar bill). White signifies purity and innocence, Red hardiness and valour, and blue vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Our Founders recognized that they were ushering in a “new order of the ages” or “Novis Ordo Secluorm”. Only when we remain a moral nation can we maintain the liberty and unity (E Pluribus Unum) that our Founders instituted and envisioned for America. Often attributed to Alexis DeTocqueville is the now famous line, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

So the next time you spend a dollar, take a moment to acknowledge and thank God for His gift of providential care and freedom. Our Founding Fathers did.

Want more?

Visit our store and purchase your own printed copy of the dollar bill tour. This educational tool fits in any wallet, just as the authentic dollar does and can be used in many ways to spread the much forgotten history of America’s providential founding.  Shop Now »

Back to allProjects

Help Us Revive the American Spirit of Liberty!

The Providence Forum exists only through the interest and generous donations of our friends and partners.