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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Aug 1996 01:37:53 -0400
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Peggy A Dolan wrote:
> In the Paine biography, I came across a reference to & quotes from a
> speech in which Twain applauded the President for removing "In God
> We Trust" from the currency. I understood the date to be in 1907.
> Did this happen? The President would have been Roosevelt, who was
> supposed to have referred to Tom Paine as "that dirty little atheist",
> wouldn't it? Was Twain employing sarcasm that went right over my head?
> If anyone can clarify this reference, I'd be grateful.

Roosevelt, in 1907, did order the motto removed, maintaining its use was
"dangerously close to sacrilege".  In response to protests, he reversed
himself, and Congress made the motto mandatory.

On Feb. 19, 1908, Twain praised Congress, noting "The prosperity of the
whole nation went down in a pile when we ceased to trust in God in that
conspicuous and well advertised way."

On May 15, Twain agreed with the President and stated "Those congressmen
had no right to commit this whole country to a theological doctrine. . . .
I think it [the motto] would better read, 'Within certain judicious
limitations we trust in God'".

Source: Paul Fatout's _Mark Twain Speaking_, pp.612-614, 623-624.

larry marshburne