America Began as a Nation Under God

Dr. Jamie Schwandt
14 min readJun 16, 2022


“Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” — Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

America was founded as one nation under God, yet the world today is attempting to erase its history. We need to not only stop removing God from our history but also understand why we were founded under Him.

On July 30, 1956, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution “declaring ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ the national motto of the United States. The resolution passed both the House and the Senate unanimously and without debate. Have we forgotten our own motto?

“America without God is not safe.” — Jonathan Cahn

2 Chronicles 7:14 provides us with a warning. This verse is a call for God’s people to turn back to Him in order to receive His forgiveness and healing.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Bearer of Christ

Let’s go back to 1492. Although most will tear down Christopher Columbus, it cannot be refuted that he began his voyage to the New World in 1492 motivated by his Christian faith. In fact, his name, Christopher, means “bearer of Christ”.

“It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures, a strong and clear testimony from the 44 books of the Old Testament, from the four Gospels, and from the 23 Epistles [Letters ]of the blessed Apostles, encouraging me continually to press forward, and without ceasing for a moment they now encourage me to make haste.” — Christopher Columbus

Image via A replica of the Santa Maria, the flagship of the Italian explorer’s 1492 expedition

When Columbus sailed into the New World in his ship Santa Maria, named for the mother of Jesus, he vowed:

“Blessed be the light of day and the Holy Cross, we say; and the Lord of Verity and the Holy Trinity. Blessed be th’ immortal soul and the Lord who keeps it whole blessed be the light of day and he who sends the night away.”

The site was then marked with a cross to signify claiming the land for Christ. Moreover, we could even go back to 1000 AD, where there is proof that Christians in Viking settlements spread Christianity in what is now the United States of America (U.S.A.)[1]; however, let’s focus on the first-ever colony in America.

The stated purpose of the first-ever colony was to declare its intention to establish a new colony in God’s name and for His glory and to advance the Christian faith. [2] Forty-one Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact on November 11, 1620. Essentially, the colonists would live in accordance with the Christian faith. [3]

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The document outlined the rules by which the Pilgrims would govern themselves while living in the New World. The Compact reads as follows:

At Sea

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

November, 1620

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&.

Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620. [4]

The Compact was signed before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. Thus, America’s first great document read, “In the name of God, Amen.” [5]

City Upon a Hill

“The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us as His own people. He will command a blessing on us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness, and truth than we have formerly known.” — John Winthrop

In 1630, Puritan missionary John Winthrop sailed to the New World to carry the Gospel and Bring the fullness of the Gentiles into God’s Kingdom by obeying Jesus’ Great Commission, which reads in Matthew 28:19–20, by sharing the Gospel with American Indians, to help establish and support an infant church, and to be a city on a hill. To be a city of God or a holy city in America. [6]

Winthrop stated:

“If we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world; we shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God and all believers in God; we shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us, till we are forced out of the new land where we are going.”

One Nation Under God: Pledge of Allegiance

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Pledge of Allegiance was drafted to commemorate Columbus’ voyage, which he likely would not have undertaken had he not been a Christian. [7] In 1954 Congress added the phrase “under God”. [8] When we say the Pledge of Allegiance we place a hand over our heart before reciting it.

“Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism. Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States

Constituted Under God: The Bill of Rights

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“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” — The First Amendment United States Constitution Bill of Rights, 1791

The Body of Liberties was the first legal code established in the New World. It guaranteed certain rights to the colonists and outlined punishments for crimes. It was written by the Puritans who founded Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628. [9]

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The Body of Liberties was important because it established the rule of law in the colony and guaranteed certain rights to the colonists. It was a precursor to the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. [10]

The right to a trial by jury, the right to due process of law, the right to freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures are all similarities between the Body of Liberties and the Bill of Rights. [11]

Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

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“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States sets forth the goals of the founding fathers for the new nation. They sought to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity. The Preamble is important because it sets forth the goals of the Constitution. It is essentially a statement of purpose for the document.

Endowed by Their Creator: Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence says,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It also says, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

The phrase endowed by their Creator means each person has certain inherent rights which come from God, NOT from the government. These rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Rights that come from God are God-given rights.

Unalienable rights are those which are not subject to being taken away or given away by the holder. They are inherent and inalienable rights.

Icons and Locations

“As we have seen, America had been founded primarily for religious purposes, and the Great Awakening had been the original dynamic of the continental movement for independence. The Americans were overwhelmingly church-going, much more so than the English, whose rule they rejected.” — British Historian Paul Johnson

Our most valued icons and locations display the fact that we were a country founded under God.

The words “In God We Trust” on all American currency.

On the 100-ounce aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. are the two words: Laus Deo. These two words mean “Praise be to God!”

The Capitol Building. On July 30, 1956, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution “declaring ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ the national motto of the United States.”

United States National Motto

Theodore Roosevelt Island is a national monument in Washington D.C. that commemorates the 26th President of the United States. The island features a 17-foot statue of Roosevelt and several quotes from his speeches, one of which is: “So long as there are men who love justice and despise tyranny, it will be well with the world.” This quote shows Roosevelt’s belief that there is a connection between God and justice. Bible Point is also located on the island.

Mount Rushmore is dedicated to four of the greatest American Presidents.

Plymouth Rock. The curving bay of Plymouth, with Cole Hill rising behind the shoreline, is one of the most historic sites in the United States.

Famous Leaders

Let’s now briefly look at quotes from some of the greatest leaders.

Something to think about here from President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 on the teachings of the Bible. *note that the use of the word “man” includes both genders (male and female)

“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes what a very large number of people tend to forget, that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally — I do not mean figuratively, I mean literally — impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals; all the standards toward which we, with more or less of resolution, strive to raise ourselves. Almost every man who has by his lifework added to the sum of human achievement of which the race [human race] is proud, has based his lifework largely upon the teachings of the BibleAmong the greatest men a disproportionately large number have been diligent and close students of the Bible at first hand.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said,

Jesus gave us a gospel of love and nonviolence. He came preaching love. He came preaching an ethic of love. He said even if your enemies are trying to destroy you, love them.”

Mother Teresa said,

“There is a famine in America. Not a famine of food, but of love, of truth, of life.” She also said, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Haven’t changed, and my love for you hasn’t changed. I love you with the same love that was manifested on the Cross.”

Amy Carmichael said,

“The love of Christ constrains us…to labor incessantly to spread His fragrance everywhere.” She also said, “Jesus calls us to Himself that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).”

Carmichael dedicated her life to serving others in India, and she is an example of how Christians can make a difference in the world.

Susan B. Anthony said,

“I rejoice every time I see a woman vote. It represents her emancipation from slavery, and that is the highest glory of all.” She also said, “The Bible teaches that woman was taken out of man…not out of his head to top it off, not out of his feet to be trampled underfoot, but out of his side…under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”

Ronald Reagan said,

“Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

John F. Kennedy said,

“I am proud of the revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought… the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but the hands of God.”

George Washington said,

“it is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible” and referred to Jesus as the “The Divine Author of our blessed religion”.

Herbert Hoover said,

“The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.”

Booker T. Washington said,

“There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, pure, Christlike character.” He also said, “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life.”

Enter The Arena

Washington Monument — Tallest Obelisk in the World — Obelisk means “To Point Toward the Heavens”. Atop of the monument reads: Laus Deo or Praise be to God

“The same nation that was formed after the pattern of Israel now follows after the pattern of its moral descent, its spiritual departure from God.” — Johnathan Cahn

We must return to God. If we do not, our nation will not endure. We must stop trying to erase our history. It’s no coincidence that we became the most powerful nation on earth. Think back to the Washington Monument. It is the tallest obelisk in the world, measuring 555 feet tall. The word “obelisk” comes from the Greek word meaning “to point toward the heavens.” There are many obelisks around the world, but the Washington Monument is the tallest.

“where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” — 2 Corinthians 3:17

So what does this have to do with God? Well, the Washington Monument was built to honor our first president, George Washington. He was a man who believed strongly in God and His Word. In fact, Washington once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Think back to the earlier discussion on icons and locations. On the 100-ounce aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., there are two words: Laus Deo. These two words mean “Praise be to God!”

So the tallest obelisk (meaning to point towards the heavens) was dedicated to a man of God and the words at the top pointing toward the heavens read: “Praise be to God!” This is no coincidence.

Now, more than ever, we need to stand up for our religious freedom and return to the ideals that made America great. We need to be a nation “Under God” once again.

We must take a stand for what we believe in or we will lose our freedoms. We need to be active in the political arena and make our voices heard. We must vote for candidates who support religious freedom and the values that we hold dear.

We must enter the arena.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

[1] BBC. (n.d.). BBC — History — The Vikings — Religion. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

[2] Gibbs, D. C. (2009). One Nation Under God: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America. Christian Law Association.

[3] (2020, November 11). Mayflower Compact. Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

[4] Foundations of our Constitution: Mayflower Compact Text. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2021, from

[5] Gibbs, D. C. (2009). One Nation Under God: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America. Christian Law Association.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Buchanan, M. (2018, October 8). Christopher Columbus’ religious side was key to his accomplishments. Aleteia.

[8] “The Pledge of Allegiance.”, Accessed 20 March 2021.

[9] Leadership America. (n.d.). The Massachusetts Body of Liberties.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.



Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Dr. Schwandt (Ed.D.) is an American author, L6S master black belt, and red teamer.