In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt wanted the motto "In God We Trust" removed from the new $20 gold coin. Roosevelt said that it was "irreverence which comes dangerously close to sacrilege" to use the Lord's name on coins that bought "worldly" goods and services. The public outcry was enormous. Within the next year, Congress passed a law requiring "In God We Trust" printed on all United States coinage immediately.
On March 4, 1865, on a wet, muddy day, Abraham Lincoln strode to the podium. As he began to speak to his battered nation, sunlight burst through the clouds, covering Pennsylvania Avenue in a shower of golden rays. "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds ... " Less than a year later, Abraham Lincoln would be slain.
When readers picked up the National Era weekly in 1851 and 1852, how many knew that they would read bits and pieces of the most influential American novel of the 19th century? Penned by the daughter of a Congregational minister, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" spurred the abolitionist movement to new heights. With its tale of brutal slavery and the freedom of the human spirit, Harriet Beecher Stowe's book played an integral part in the development of the Civil War.
According to popular folk tale, American justice was born in 1839. Abner Doubleday, then 20 years old, supposedly designed the first baseball diamond while encamped at Cooperstown, N.Y. The folk tale might have been faulty, but the game of baseball proved to be America's pastime, embodying American competitive spirit.
On July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the two giants responsible for it drew their last breaths. Thomas Jefferson expressed his life's mission thus: "I shall not die without a hope that life and liberty are on steady advance. The flames kindled on July 4, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism." John Adams was more succinct. "Independence forever!"