greenback


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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 ?
In the interbank market, the greenback had been traded at Rs149.60 as compared to Rs150.90 in the earlier session, posting a decline of Rs1.30.
The US dollar gained against key currencies overseas, while rise in demand for the greenback from exporters also pressured the domestic unit, traders said.
'The US dollar bull run continues, with some currencies trading at multi-year lows against the greenback,' Metrobank Research said in its weekly note to clients.
The greenback, internationally, remained bearish in shadow of weak statements about the American economy namely per capita spending, thus fueling jitters regarding its status, in addition to the domestic product in Q3, 2015, which grew by 1.5 percent, short of the projected 1.6 percent.
Optimisms that the lifting of US-led sanctions could happen only three months away pushed down the exchange rate of the greenback against the Rial in Tehran, the activists said.
Summary: The dollar topped the 100-yen mark on Thursday as the greenback won support from growing expectations of strong US jobs data while the Bank of Japan issued an upbeat assessment of the world's third-largest economy.
Lin, director general of the Foreign Exchange Dept., indicated that the decrease of forex reserves in March was due mainly to the depreciation of major currencies against the greenback with the euro falling by 0.8% and Japanese yen down by 2.04%.
The US dollar tumbled to a new all-time low against the Swiss franc on Thursday, as the greenback was dragged down across the board, on concerns over US debt.
Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company Royal DSM N.V (NYSE:DSM)( Euronext: KON) announced today that its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Greenback Acquisition Corporation, has commenced its tender offer for all outstanding shares of common stock of Martek Biosciences Corporation (Nasdaq:MATK) at a price of USD31.50 per share.
THE FTSE 100 Index climbed higher yesterday as mining stocks benefited from a weakened dollar after a meeting of G20 finance chiefs failed to offer any specific measures to strengthen the greenback. The meeting in Korea of 20 major advanced and emerging nations resolved to avoid weakening currencies to boost exports - a scenario that could cause a trade war - but stopped short of setting any targets.
Iran's rial rebounded against the dollar yesterday as banks in the Islamic republic offloaded the greenback to curb the local currency's recent steep losses triggered by sanctions, dealers said.
This method also applies to observations from October 25 to November 15, 1862, when trading in both assets on the exchange was suspended in an effort to curb "excessive speculation." An analogous Greenback price of gold was also collected for the period after Greenbacks were introduced.