Spaulding, Elbridge Gerry

Spaulding, Elbridge Gerry,

1809–97, U.S. banker and politician, b. Locke (now Summer Hill), N.Y. A lawyer practicing in Buffalo, N.Y., after 1834, he gradually became a banker there and was active in local and state politics. A Whig, he served as a U.S. representative (1849–51) and as New York state treasurer (1854–55), then returned to the Congress for two terms (1859–63) as a Republican. In 1861, as the costs of the Civil War threatened the Union's banking system, he drafted the Legal Tender Act, which authorized (1862) the issuing of greenbacksgreenback,
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.
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 (instead of bonds) as an emergency measure to pay for the war. He wrote A Resource of War … Being a Loan without Interest and a National Currency (1869).
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