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The Continental Dollar: What Happened to It after 1779?

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  • Farley Grubb

Abstract

Congress financed the American Revolution by issuing paper Continental Dollars. The story of the Continental Dollar is familiar to all -- a lot were issued and hyper-inflation ensued. Emissions were permanently discontinued in 1779. Thereafter, they became worthless and were forgotten. They had no impact on subsequent public finance. The veracity of the last part of this story is challenged here. Evidence is presented to establish that the disposition of the Continental Dollar remained an open question well into the 1790s. Evidence is also presented to establish the exact time path of the retirement of Continental Dollars between 1779 and 1790.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13770.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Publication status: published as “State Redemption of the Continental Dollar, 1779-90,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., vol. 69, no. 1 (Jan. 2012), pp. 147-180.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13770

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  1. Calomiris, Charles W., 1988. "Institutional Failure, Monetary Scarcity, and the Depreciation of the Continental," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(01), pages 47-68, March.
  2. Farley Grubb, 2007. "The Continental Dollar: How Much Was Really Issued ?," Working Papers, University of Delaware, Department of Economics 07-09, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  3. Farley Grubb, 2007. "The Net Worth of the U.S. Federal Government, 1784-1802," Working Papers, University of Delaware, Department of Economics 07-02, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  4. Garber, Peter M., 1991. "Alexander Hamilton's market-based debt reduction plan," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 79-104, January.
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Cited by:
  1. George J. Hall & Thomas J. Sargent, 2013. "Fiscal Discriminations in Three Wars," NBER Working Papers 19008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Farley Grubb, 2008. "The Distribution of Congressional Spending During the American Revolution, 1775-1780: The Problem of Geographic Balance," Working Papers, University of Delaware, Department of Economics 08-21, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
  3. Elizabeth Brainerd & Nidhiya Menon, 2013. "Religion and Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from the Indian Subcontinent," Working Papers, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School 65, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.

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