Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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August 20th
E Pluribus Unum
E Pluribus Unum is the Latin motto on the Great Seal of the United States. It means “out of many, one” and refers to the creation of this country out of many states. It also reminds us that America consists of people from just about every country and culture on earth, and that all of these people together make one great nation.

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson suggested the motto in 1776. The three sat on a committee appointed by Congress to design a seal for the new nation, and they turned to artist Pierre Eugène du Simitière for help in coming up with ideas. The design they submitted to Congress on August 20, 1776, included the words E Pluribus Unum.

The committee probably borrowed the phrase from Gentleman’s Magazine, a popular journal published in England and read in the colonies. Once a year, the Gentleman’s Magazine published an
anthology volume that contained the best articles, essays, and poetry selected from the previous twelve months’ issues – and the motto of that annual collection was E Pluribus Unum. The magazine did not coin the phrase. It appears in sources dating back to ancient Roman days.

Congress did not like the original design that Franklin, Adams, and Jefferson submitted. But it did like the phrase E Pluribus Unum and later included it in the design adopted for the Great Seal of the United States. Since 1873 Congress has required that the motto E Pluribus Unum appear on every U.S. coin

American History Parade
1776
Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson recommend the motto E Pluribus Unum to Congress.

1833
Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third U.S. president, is born in North Bend, Ohio.

1920
The first commercial radio station to broadcast regularly scheduled programs, 8MK (later WWJ), begins operations in Detroit.

1971
Texas Instruments introduces the first electronic pocket calculator.

1977
NASA launches Voyager 2, the first spacecraft to travel to Uranus and Neptune.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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