The One Dollar Bill

Take out a one dollar bill and look at it. The one dollar bill you’re looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called “paper” money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it.

Our first President George Washington is on the front of the bill along with the United States Treasury Seal. On the top of the seal, we see the balanced scales representing justice and equality among all our citizens; in the center is a chevron with 13 stars representing the 13 original colonies; underneath is a key used as a symbol of authority.

dollarbillAs we turn the bill over, we see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States.

If we look at the left-hand circle, we see a pyramid. Notice the face is lighted and the western side is dark. This symbolizes that our country was “just beginning”: we had just begun to explore the West and we did not yet know what we could do for western civilization.

The pyramid is uncapped, signifying that the work of our nation is not finished. Above, in a capstone not yet in place, we have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It was Benjamin Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, “It (The Eye of Providence) has favored our undertakings”. The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, “A New Order for the Ages”.

At the base of the pyramid is the Roman numeral MDCCLXXVI, 1776, the year our independence was declared.

“IN GOD WE TRUST” is centered above the ONE dollar denomination of this bill, ever reminding us of the “ONENESS”, the UNITY of all mankind under GOD.

If we look at the right-hand circle, we see the Great Seal of the United States, which adorns every Federal Office Building and National Cemetery in the United States.

Prior to 1945, modified with the Eagle looking to its left toward the arrows, it was the seal of the President of the United States, as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Since President Harry Truman ordered this change in 1945, the Eagle always looks to the right toward the olive branch. The presidential seal is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.

The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the American Bald Eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America. Secondly, he wears no material crown – we had just broken from the King of England and all ties to any form of “nobility”. Also, notice the shield is unsupported – this country now stands on its own.

At the top of the shield (in the full-color version of the Seal), we have a blue field which represents Congress, a unifying factor. The colors are taken from the American flag and officially:

  • the red represents hardiness and valor
  • the white represents purity and innocence
  • the blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice

On the ribbon in the Eagle’s beak we read, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning, “Out of Many, One”. We see that the eagle holds an olive branch in its right talon and a cluster of arrows in its left. The official meaning is that the olive branch and the arrows “denote the power of peace and of war.”

Above the Eagle, we see thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies. Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch, symbolizing peace, and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

Some say that the number 13 is an unlucky number, but think about this:

  • 13 original colonies joined in signing the Declaration of Independence
  • 13 stripes on our flag
  • 13 tiers on the pyramid
  • 13 letters in the Latin ANNUIT COEPTIS
  • 13 letters in E PLURIBUS UNUM
  • 13 stars above the Eagle
  • 13 bars on the shield
  • 13 leaves on the olive branch
  • 13 olive fruits
  • 13 arrows.

All in one dollar bill.


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