Clash of Currencies: The History of the Dollar
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Since its creation, money has been one of the most important aspect of our lives. It has also been one of the most famous in inciting war. It has been used to buy armies for ancient kings while feudal lords undermined each other’s treasuries. Money has been the root of many clashes, one of which is the British Empire and its colony in America.
Barter
During its colonization, American colonies were held tightly by the English. Money was limited. Mint coins were illegal. Trading with other countries was impossible. The only choice given to the colonies were to trade with English bills for English goods. Because of this, the colonies were forced to go back to the barter system using nails, pelts, ammunition, tobacco, etc.
Defiance
In 1652, the British Empire had vacated the monarchy and Massachusetts became the first colony to rebel against the British Empire as they minted their own silver coins along with their very own shilling from pine and oak. The first paper money came in 1690. The colony was able to find a loophole in the British law that stated that the issuance of coins may only be done under the monarch. The Revolutionary War soon followed. In 1775, the colonial leaders declared independence and at the same time produced a new currency called “continentals.” Due to the currency not being mounted to any standard, it soon became worthless, spurring inflation.
Aftermath
After the war, most currencies were useless until 1788 when Congress established a national monetary system which they also regulated. This is the creation of the dollar which was also set to a bimetallic standard, the gold and the silver. State currencies clashed to dominate before the disputes settled in the early 1800’s when paper money was circulated once again.
The greenback was then produced to finance the Civil War which became useless after the ordeal. Then came the 1900 when the Gold Standard Act, pinning the dollar to gold. In 1913, the Federal Reserve came into being. In 1971, the dollar was removed from the Gold Standard Act to make more money than there was gold.
Present
Today, the worth of money is measured by its purchasing power as dictated by inflation. The American economy is maintained to make sure that it doesn’t plunge and take with it the global economy.

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