The Crescent

A Myth About America

March 16, 2014

When we think of history we often think of facts. But history, including American history, has its own set of myths. Pull out a one dollar bill and look at it. What we know about the symbols on our currency seems to be from the “National Treasure” movies, but there is more to the symbol and its origins.

If you look at the pyramid on the left side and read the Latin above it, you may wonder what on earth it means, because you might be like me and you do not know Latin. So you look it up and find out that it means “He has smiled on our accomplishments” or “He approves of our undertakings.” While we may think that “He” is in reference to God in the trinity we know of, there is reason to believe that it is not.

The dollar bill says “In God We Trust” on the side of the pyramid. If you watched the remake of “Miracle on 34th Street” as a child, you were familiar with this. During the founding of America, the Enlightenment was taking place. Those who were a part of this movement believed in reason and science. The idea that the founding fathers were Christians, similar to modern Christianity today, is a myth. They were Enlightenment thinkers and their religion was influenced by that. You can be sure that is what the American Revolution was influenced by. As a child, I was sure that my nation was founded on Christianity; though this may be partially true, when you look into history it seems that the ideas such as reason, independence, and science influenced our country’s founding rather than Christianity.

The myth that lets us forget the power of the Enlightenment helps us forget what that period was about: human progress, science, and reason. Creating these myths shows what certain people value. Some value history, some value independence and some value religion. Still, what we value has importance that does not change historical fact.

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