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greenback,

in U.S. history, legal tender notes unsecured by specie (coin). In 1862, under the exigencies of the Civil War, the U.S. government first issued legal tender notes (popularly called greenbacks) that were placed on a par with notes backed by specie. By the end of the war such notes were outstanding to the amount of more than $450 million. They had been issued as temporary, and in accordance with the Funding Act of 1866 Secretary of State Hugh McCullochMcCulloch, Hugh
, 1808–95, American financier and public official, b. Kennebunk, Maine. Educated at Bowdoin College, he studied law in Boston and practiced two years at Fort Wayne, Ind.
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 began retiring them. The hard times of 1867 caused many, especially among Western debtor farmers, to demand that the currency be inflated rather than contracted, and Congress suspended the retirement. George H. PendletonPendleton, George Hunt,
1825–89, American political leader, b. Cincinnati. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1847 and served (1854–56) in the state senate. He was an antiwar Democrat in the House of Representatives (1857–65) and vice presidential candidate on
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 advanced the so-called Ohio Idea, recommending that all government bonds not specifying payment in specie should be paid in greenbacks. John ShermanSherman, John,
1823–1900, American statesman, b. Lancaster, Ohio; brother of William Tecumseh Sherman. He studied law, was admitted (1844) to the bar, and practiced law several years in Mansfield, Ohio, before he moved (1853) to Cleveland.
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, more conservative, was nevertheless willing to let the greenbacks stay in circulation on a redemption basis. The question was warmly debated in 1869 and was ended by a compromise, which left greenbacks to the amount of $356 million in circulation. The law creating them was declared constitutional in the later Legal Tender casesLegal Tender cases,
lawsuits brought to the U.S. Supreme Court involving the constitutionality of the Legal Tender Act of 1862, which was passed to meet currency needs during the Civil War.
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, and the matter rested until the Panic of 1873. The hard-hit agrarians then wanted to inflate the currency with more greenbacks. An inflation bill passed Congress in 1874, but so intense was conservative opposition that President Grant reversed his former position and vetoed the bill. Although the Greenback party worked hard to oppose them, the conservatives triumphed in Jan., 1875, with the Resumption Act, which fixed Jan. 1, 1879, as the date for redeeming the greenbacks in specie. The Secretary of the Treasury accumulated a gold reserve of $100 million, and confidence in the government was so great that few greenbacks were presented for surrender in 1879. Congress provided in 1878 that the greenbacks then outstanding ($346,681,000) remain a permanent part of the nation's currency.

Bibliography

See W. C. Mitchell, A History of the Greenbacks (1903, repr. 1960); D. C. Barrett, The Greenbacks and the Resumption of Specie Payments, 1862–1879 (1931, repr. 1965); I. Unger, Greenback Era (1964).

References in periodicals archive ?
WELCOME: Well-wishers at Durham's Palace Green BACK HOME: Members of 3 Rifles regiment at Palace Green
This bird is half the size of a magpie, sporting a red head with a fawn coloured breast, and a light green back.
The home jersey has the familiar green and white striped front but this time with a plain green back.
The seven-year-old beat Exotic Dancer, with 40-1 chance Turpin Green back in third, and the success was especially sweet for Smith, who in addition to bagging over pounds 200,000 for winning the blue riband of jumps racing, also picked up the lion's share of a pounds 1million bonus offered by betting exchange firm Betfair.
But moaning about putting out a green back or two every week is simply a luxury we can't afford in a day and age where, well, there may not be too many more days and ages to come.
MOST attention on junior rugby this week has been focused on Everton's new 16-year-old prodigy James Vaughan, who began his career in the 15-a-side game at Lightfoot Green back in 1997.
Smith has been out of action for the last few weeks due to his ban and will certainly come back into the line-up refreshed and ready to hit the goal trail again, especially with the club's former boss Mark Green back on the management team.
Three minutes later, Mark Robinson curled a left foot shot past keeper Ross Bate and Laws got his second in the 24th minute when the Moor Green back four were caught ball watching.
4 -- color) Hummingbirds: The most common variety of hummingbird in the area is Anna's, noted for an iridescent green back.
Craig Woodley fired Moor Green back into winning ways and into the third round of the Dr Martens Cup.
Dropping Green back off near the footpath, Young arrives at the school car park at 10.
Filming for Joe Maddison's War has also taken Robson Green back to the Swan Hunter site where he worked briefly before making it as an actor.