Origins of Sayings - The Almighty Dollar

About the history and origins behind the famous saying the Almight Dollar from the work of Washingotn Irving.

Stories behind Famous Sayings


Who Said It: Washington Irving

When: 1836

The Story behind It: "The almighty dollar" comes from Irving's "The Creole Village," which was published in the November, 1836, issue of Knickerbocker Magazine. The sketch, which appeared the following year as part of Wolfert's Roost and Other Papers, was based on the author's memories of a steamboat voyage in Louisiana. Irving was impressed by the small, isolated riverbank communities and wrote: "The almighty dollar, that great object of universal devotion throughout our land, seems to have no genuine devotees in these peculiar villages; and unless some of its missionaries penetrate there, and erect banking houses and other pious shrines, there is no knowing how long the inhabitants may remain in their present state of contented poverty." It should be noted that Ben Jonson had used the term "almighty gold" in his "Epistle to Elizabeth, Countess of Rutland," which he wrote in 1616.

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