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The Crime of 1873

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  • Friedman, Milton

Abstract

The U.S. Coinage Act of 1873 eliminated provision for the free coinage of silver. That act cast the die for a gold standard. The conventional view is that "the act of 1873 was a piece of good fortune." This paper indicates that it was the opposite--a mistake that had highly adverse consequences. This is a judgment about 1873, not 1896. By 1896, when William Jennings Bryan ran for president on a "free-silver ticket," it was too late to undo the damage. Bryan was trying to close the barn door after the horse had been stolen. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 98 (1990)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1159-94

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:98:y:1990:i:6:p:1159-94

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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Cited by:
  1. Busse, Matthias & Hefeker, Carsten & Koopmann, Georg, 2006. "Between two poles: A dual currency board for Mercosur," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 349-362, December.
  2. Flandreau, Marc R, 2002. ""Water Seeks a Level": Modeling Bimetallic Exchange Rates and the Bimetallic Band," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 491-519, May.
  3. Francois R. Velde, 2002. "Following the yellow brick road: how the United States adopted the gold standard," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 42-58.
  4. Flandreau, Marc & Oosterlinck, Kim, 2012. "Was the emergence of the international gold standard expected? Evidence from Indian Government securities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 649-669.
  5. Francois R. Velde, 1998. "Lessons from the history of money," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 2-16.
  6. Francois R. Velde & Warren E. Weber, 2000. "A Model of Bimetallism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1210-1234, December.
  7. Shachmurove, Yochanan, 2011. "A historical overview of financial crises in the United States," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 217-231.
  8. Oppers, Stefan Erik, 1996. "Was the worldwide shift to gold inevitable? An analysis of the end of bimetallism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 143-162, February.
  9. Bailey, Warren & Mao, Connie X. & Zhong, Rui, 2003. "Exchange rate regimes and stock return volatility: some evidence from Asia's silver era," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(5-6), pages 557-584.
  10. Michael D. Bordo & Finn E. Kydland, 1992. "The gold standard as a rule," Working Paper 9205, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  11. Lucien Gillard & Ghislain Deleplace & Marie-Thérèse Boyer, 1992. "A la recherche d'un âge d'or des marchés financiers : intégration et efficience au XVIIIe siècle," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 20(1), pages 33-65.
  12. Francois Velde, 2002. "The crime of 1873: back to the scene," Working Paper Series WP-02-29, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  13. Michael D Bordo & Christopher M Meissner & Marc D Weidenmier, 2006. "Currency Mismatches, Default Risk, and Exchange Rate Depreciation: Evidence from the End of Bimetallism," WEF Working Papers 0010, ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London.
  14. Paul Hallwood, C. & MacDonald, Ronald & Marsh, Ian W., 2000. "Realignment expectations and the US dollar, 1890-1897: Was there a 'Peso problem'?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 605-620, December.

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