E pluribus unum, Latin for "Out of Many, One," is a motto found on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum, and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782.
Never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the United States Congress passed an act (H.J. Resolution 396), adopting In God We Trust as the official motto. Seth Read of Uxbridge, Massachusetts was said to have been "instrumental" in the addition of "E Pluribus Unum" to U.S. Coins. The first coins with this mint appeared as early as 1786 at Newburgh, New York.
While Annuit coeptis and Novus ordo seclorum appear on the reverse side of the great seal, E pluribus unum appears on the obverse side of the seal, the image of which is used as the national emblem of the United States, and appears on official documents such as passports. It also appears on the seal of the President and in the seals of the Vice President of the United States, of the United States Congress, of the United States House of Representatives, of the United States Senate and on the seal of the United States Supreme Court.
E pluribus unum, written in capital letters, is included on most U.S. currency, with some exceptions to the letter spacing (such as the reverse of the dime). It is also embossed on the edge of the dollar coin. (See United States coinage and paper bills in circulation).
Originally suggesting that out of many colonies or states emerge a single nation, it has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation – illustrating the concept of the melting pot.
Its Anglicized pronunciation is , Latin .
Usage on coins
According to the U.S. Treasury
, the motto E pluribus unum
was first used on US coinage in 1795, when the reverse of the half-eagle
($5 gold) coin presented the main features of the Great Seal of the United States. E pluribus unum
is inscribed on the Great Seal's scroll. The motto was added to certain silver coins in 1798, and soon appeared on all of the coins made out of precious metals (gold and silver). In 1834, it was dropped from most of the gold coins to mark the change in the standard fineness of the coins. In 1837, it was dropped from the silver coins, marking the era of the Revised Mint Code. An Act of February 12, 1873 made the inscription a requirement of law upon the coins of the United States.
E pluribus unum
does appear on all coins currently being manufactured, including the Presidential dollars that started being produced in 2007, where it is inscribed on the edge along with "In God We Trust" and the year and mint mark.
Following the Revolution, Rahway, New Jersey became the home of the first national mint to create a coin bearing the inscription E pluribus unum.
In a quality control error in early 2007 the Philadelphia Mint issued some one-dollar coins without this motto or "In God We Trust" on the rim; these coins have already become collectible.
- It is also the motto of the Portuguese association football club Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
- E pluribus unum was originally written in the Moretum, a poem by Virgil, famous for the Aeneid.
- E Pluribus Unum is a poem written by George Washington Cutter.
- E Pluribus Unum is an album by the band Von Thronstahl.
- E Pluribus Unum is also an album by Sandy Bull, where the artist plays all the instruments (by means of multi-track recording).
- In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard, who was blown into Oz from a state fair in Kansas, never refers to the United States by name, but calls it "the land of E pluribus unum."
- The term was also used for the integration of the minorities into the public American schools in the early 20th century.
- E pluribus unum can also be found at the bottom of the Statue of Freedom's iron globe stand, located atop the United States Capitol Dome.
- It is the name of Nigerian rapper Modenine commercial album debut.
- Also appears at the end of a short story by Philip K. Dick, "The Impossible Planet".
- Conspiracy theorists may link the concept of "many" becoming "one" to the supposed Illuminati's one world government plan, which was supposedly fabricated shortly after the founding of America. That it is America's motto is a subtle indicator that from America, the wealthiest and most powerful families in the Western World will unite to control the lower classes.
- Unume pluribus is the motto of Wokingham Borough Council in England.
- One of the episodes of Family Guy is entitled "E. Peterbus Unum", an obvious parody.
- 'E Pluribus Nukem' says the Seal of the United States in the Duke Nukem additional episode 'Duke it out in D.C.' released in 1997.
- 'E Pluribus Unicorn' is a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories by Theodore Sturgeon, published in 1953.
- In the Novel Killing Floor, by Lee Child, The codename of the anti-counterfeiting mission is E unum pluribus, or 'Out of One, Many' (though in actual Latin grammar this would have an identical meaning to the original phrase, due to the language's case system). This is reference to the fact that dollar bills are being turned into higher denomination notes.
- The calling card of the comic book vigilante Foolkiller (created by Steve Gerber) has the phrase 'e pluribus unum' following his name. The text on the card that followed has varied with the different individuals assuming the mantle of the Foolkiller.
- It appears on the seal of the city of Norwalk, Connecticut.
- E Pluribus Wiggum is the title of a Simpsons episode.
- The phrase was used as part of Barack Obama's Keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
- E Pluribus Funk is Grand Funk Railroad's fifth studio album, released in November 1971.
- The national motto of Jamaica is the equivalent phrase in English: "Out of many, one people".
- Out of Many is a the title of a series of textbooks on American History, one of which is one of the recommended textbooks by the College Board for Advanced Placement (AP) United States of America History.
- In the Gene Simmons song, from his album Asshole, "Weapons of Mass Destruction", the line "E pluribus unum" is used as the second line of the chorus.
- It is the title of a 2005 electronic music album by SSI.
- Used as a punch line in a Monty (comic strip).