What You Didn't Know About the Dollar Bill
Have you ever looked at a dollar bill? I mean really look at! It really is an interesting piece of currency and I bet you don't really know of all the meaning it holds. So sit back and pull a dollar from your wallet or purse and take a currency tour with me.
The dollar bill have has been around for a very long time. It first rolled off the presses in 1957 and hasn't been changed since. We refer to it as paper money, but it really isn't paper at all. Actually it is a blend of cotton and linen, with very minute blue and red silk fibers running through it. If it was truly paper, such as you would find in a composition bood, you wouldn't be able to retrieve it out of the washing machine and still be able to use it. This type of cellulose paper would disintegrate under such abuse. The big secret is the ink that is used to print it. In fact the ink and paper used to print money today, is the same as that used to print money during the Civil War! Other than learning that it is an oil-based ink, I couldn't find out the chemical composition at all. I am sure that there is someone out there that can tell us what all goes into making the ink, but I would bet that the US Treasury Department would have something to say about it. But after it is overprinted with symbols, it is then starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look. So much for its makeup.
Now take a close look at the front of the bill. I mean a very close look . You will see the seal of the United States Treasure. Look at the top of the seal and you will notice balanced scales. This has nothing to do with the scales of justice, rather they depict a balanced budget. That is something that we haven't had in decades. In the center of the seal you will notice a carpenter's square; a tool used for an even cut. Underneath the square is a skeleton key to represent the key to the United States Treasury. Interesting isn't it? Can you truly say that you have really noticed all of these in the past? But there is more! Much more!
Turn the bill over. There is a lot of symbolism there.
First you will notice two circles. Did you know that these together make up the Great Seal of the United States? On July 4, 1776, on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, the continental congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to a committee to come up with a national seal. Well it took them four years to accomplish it and another two years to get it approved. The bureaucracy was just as bad back then as it now I guess. Now look closely what is depicted inside the circles.
Looking at the bill, the circle on the left has a pyramid in it. The unfinished pyramid and the eye in a triangle on the reverse side are classic symbols. The Egyptian pyramid is a symbol of strength and duration; the 13 steps indicate the original thirteen colonies and the 13 steps leading to an unfinished summit indicates future growth of the nation. The eye is known as the "Eye of Providence" . The single eye shows up in Egyptian mythology as the Eye of Horus, an ancient god of the Egyptians. The eye represented wisdom, health and prosperity. Some people think that the "all-seeing eye" is a symbol of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization, and they interpret this as proof that the Founding Fathers believed in Masonic principles and wanted to impose Masonic order on the United States.
Just above the eye you will notice the Latin phrase ANNUIT COEPTIS. This translates to "He has favored our undertakings." This line is associated with the "Eye of Providence." and the He capitalized is God . Below the pyramid is a banner with the Latin words "Novus Ordo Seclorum," meaning "A new order of the ages," referring to the birth of America in 1776. The Roman numerals, MDCCLXXVI, appear on the base of the pyramid and translate to 1776, the year of independence.
That's quite a bit of symbolism isn't it? Well we still aren't done.
Now look at the circle on the right. Do you recognize it? You see it in just about every place the President of the United States speaks publicly. It is the Seal of the President of the United States, but do you know the history of what is imaged on it?
The 1782 secretary of Congress, Charles Thomson, adopted the bald eagle as the prominent feature of the design. The shield, or escutcheon, is shown on the breast of the eagle without any support, indicating the self-reliance. Thirteen red and white stripes appear on the shield, signifying the 13 colonies. The red color represents hardiness and valor, and the white represents purity and innocence. These stripes support and unite with the top blue band, which represents Congress. Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. The eagle's talons hold 13 arrows in the right and an olive branch in the left. These symbolize the power of war and peace, respectively. The number of arrows represents the 13 original states. The constellation of 13 stars above the eagle's head signifies the United States' rank among other sovereign powers. The motto, "E Pluribus Unum," written on the banner held in the eagle's beak, is Latin meaning "Out of many, one," conveying the union of the States.
Now wasn't that interesting? Did you learn something? I know I did. The last little bit of trivia I found interesting is that in the original design of the bill, the circles of the seal were just opposite. The eagle was on the left and the pyramid on the right. But when President Franklin Roosevelt signed off on the design in 1935, he decided that the Eagle should be on the left and made the change before it was sent to the printers.
Now you know the rest of the story.
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