Claim: Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus sent President Obama a letter correcting his reference to E pluribus unum as the U.S. national motto.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, January 2011]
PRESIDENT CORRECTED BY CONGRESS ON NATIONAL MOTTO
National Motto Letter from Congress
This is an actual letter dated December 6, 2010, sponsored by Michelle Bachmann and others in Congress. Since the contents of the letter and what it represents are not getting any national media coverage, it is good to know that the letter is now and forever part of the public record.
Origins: During a speech he delivered at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta on 10 November 2010, President Obama said: "I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia should give us hope. It is a story written into our national mottos. In the United States, our motto is E pluribusunum — out of many, one. Our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag."
In 1782, the U.S. Continental Congress proposed the use of the Latin phrase E pluribus unum (commonly translated as "out of many, one" or "one from many") on the Great Seal of the United States as a reference to the original thirteen American colonies' having joined together as a single united entity. The phrase is still a component of the Seal of the United States and has appeared on U.S. coinage since 1795.
However, although E pluribus unum was long considered the de facto national motto of the United States, it was never officially established as such by legislation. The only legislatively established national motto the United States has ever had is "In God We Trust," a phrase which first appeared on U.S. coinage in 1864 (and is now a part of allU.S. currency and coinage) and which was adopted as the official U.S. national motto through a law passed by Congress in 1956.
On 6 December 2010, forty-two members (forty-one Republicans and one Democrat) of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, an organization founded and co-chaired by Congressman J. RandyForbes of Virginia, sent a letter to President Obama to correct his reference to E pluribus unum as the U.S. national motto:
We write today in response to a speech given on November 10, 2010, at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia, in which you stated 'But I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia should give us hope. It is a story written into our national mottos. In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum — out of many one ... our nations show that hundreds of millions who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one flag."
E pluribus unum is not our national motto. In 1956, Congress passed and President Eisenhower approved the law establishing 'In God We Trust' as the official national motto of the United States. This motto is also referenced in our national anthem and is engraved on our coins and currency.
(The fourth and final stanza of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, contains the line: "And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust'.)
Other modern presidents have made reference to E pluribus unum as the U.S. motto with little or no comment, such as President Ronald Reagan, who, in an address to the National Forum on Excellence in Education in 1983, said: "The motto of the United States is E Pluribus Unum, from many, one. Well, more than any other institution, our schools built that one from the many."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.