Star of David Appears on the Dollar Bill-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Claims that the Star of David appears on the dollar bill to honor a Jewish man named Hyam Salomon for his contributions to the Revolutionary war have persisted for years.
There’s no historical evidence proving that the Star of David, or any other Jewish symbol, was intentionally included on U.S. currency, or in official seals.
Emails telling the story of Hyam Salomon, George Washington’s financial advisor and assistant, have been circulating since as early as 2002. The email claims that Salomon died penniless after giving all of his wealth to help the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and that Washington found a unique way to honor him:
If you take a one dollar bill out of your pocket and look at the back at the Eagle, the stars above the Eagle’s head are in the six point Star of David to honor Jews. If you turn the Eagle upside down you will see a configuration in the likeness of a Menorah….both at the insistence of George Washington who said we should never forget the Jewish people and what they have done in the interest of America.
“The Eagle” that the email is referring to is actually called the Great Seal of the United States, which appears on the back of dollar bills:
Obviously, paper currency wasn’t used in colonial times. Up until the 1920s, dollar bills were “silver certificates,” or coins, issued by the Treasury Department. The Great Seal of the United States was added to the back of paper dollar bills in the 1930s. Given all that, the real question is whether or not the Great Seal of the United States includes the Star of David, not whether or not the dollar bill does.
And historical records reveal that the Star of David was not intentionally included in the design of the Great Seal of the United States.
Congress put a lot of thought into the Great Seal of the United States. It considered the design for a full six years before finally approving it in 1782. And, although a pattern of stars that appears above the eagle’s head loosely resembles the Star of David, that wasn’t the original intent of its creator, Charles Thomas. The pattern is known as rising “constellation” made up of 13 individual stars that represent the 13 original colonies. Thomas offers a full explanation of the seal’s symbolism here:
“The Escutcheon is composed of the chief [upper part of shield] & pale [perpendicular band], the two most honorable ordinaries [figures of heraldry]. The Pieces, paly [alternating pales], represent the several states all joined in one solid compact entire, supporting a Chief, which unites the whole & represents Congress. The Motto alludes to this union. The pales in the arms are kept closely united by the Chief and the Chief depends on that union & the strength resulting from it for its support, to denote the Confederacy of the United States of America & the preservation of their union through Congress.
“The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness & valour, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace & war which is exclusively vested in Congress. The Constellation denotes a new State taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers. The Escutcheon is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters [figures represented as holding up the shield] to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own Virtue.
So, the Star of David was not intentionally included in the Great Seal of the United States, and it wasn’t intentionally included on the dollar bill, either.
But historical accounts of Hyam Salomon’s role in the Revolutionary War are mostly true. He loaned $200,000 to the U.S. government to help in its fight against the British, and he never collected on the loan, according to Encyclopedia Britannica:
Among his many other contributions to the Colonies, Salomon subscribed heavily to government loans, endorsed notes, gave generously to soldiers, and equipped several military units with his own money.Robert Morris, the superintendent of finance from 1781 to 1784, appointed Salomon as broker to his office. Morris records in his diary that between 1781 and 1784 Salomon lent more than $200,000. In addition, he made private loans to prominent statesmen such as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe, from whom he would not take interest. In all, the government owed Salomon more than $600,000. Generations of his descendants tried in vain to collect some portion of these loans, which had helped to impoverish Salomon in his last years.
Even so, the claim that the Star of David was put on the dollar bill to honor the contributions of Hyam Salomon is false.