On This Day Congress issues Continental currency

Continental Currency

On this day June 22nd, in 1775, Congress issues $2 million in bills of credit, as Continental Currency.

By the spring of 1775, colonial leaders, concerned by British martial law in Boston and increasing constraints on trade, had led their forces in battle against the crown. But, the American revolutionaries encountered a small problem on their way to the front: they lacked the funds necessary to wage a prolonged war.

Though hardly the colonies’ first dalliance with paper notes–the Massachusetts Bay colony had issued its own bills in 1690–the large-scale distribution of the revolutionary currency was fairly new ground for America. Moreover, the bills, known at the time as “Continentals,” notably lacked the then de rigueur rendering of the British king. Instead, some of the notes featured likenesses of Revolutionary soldiers and the inscription “The United Colonies.” But, whatever their novelty, the Continentals proved to be a poor economic instrument: backed by nothing more than the promise of “future tax revenues” and prone to rampant inflation, the notes ultimately had little fiscal value. As George Washington noted at the time, “A wagonload of currency will hardly purchase a wagonload of provisions.” Thus, the Continental failed and left the young nation saddled with a hefty war debt.

A deep economic depression followed the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Unstable currency and unstable debts caused a Continental Army veteran, Daniel Shays, to lead a rebellion in western Massachusetts during the winter of 1787. Fear of economic chaos played a significant role in the decision to abandon the Articles of Confederation for the more powerful, centralized government created by the federal Constitution. During George Washington’s presidency, Alexander Hamilton struggled to create financial institutions capable of stabilizing the new nation’s economy.

Duly frustrated by the experience with Continental currency, America resisted the urge to again issue new paper notes until the dawn of the Civil War.

 

Most Read Stories

US

What is going on in Michigan? We did some digging and found out this isn’t the first time

Officially, I cannot endorse fake news of any kind. We have attempted to, and are continuing to attempt to prove the validity of the story, which I personally believe was an explainable phenomenon resulting in […]

Defense

A view to a kill: Russia creates world’s most powerful ultra long-range rifle

Russia’s light arms industry presented its most innovative development in recent years, the SVLK-14S Sumrak, the world’s first sniper rifle that can hit a target four kilometers (2.4 miles) away. In the town of Tarusa, […]

Project Thor
Defense

Did the U.S. Just launch “Project Thor” as the secret ZUMA Payload that SpaceX just put into Orbit?

The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed or used from Earth’s orbit. What they didn’t count on was the U.S. Air Force’s most simple weapon […]

Police State
Defense

With a Stroke of a Pen, PA Governor Wolf Limits Firearm Rights by Proclaiming State of Emergency

Today, Pennsylvania Governor Wolf issued a proclamation declaring Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency, seemingly triggering the firearm prohibitions found in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6107 during declared emergencies. Specifically, Section 6107 provides: (a) General […]

Winter Gun
Defense

What Really Happens to Your Guns in Winter (it could get you killed)

Winter presents unique challenges for everyone and everything, especially when you’re experiencing a “bombogenesis”. So, obviously having a working firearm is crucial in any situation. Ask the Marines at the Chosin Reservoir as their guns […]