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The Continental Dollar: How Much Was Really Issued?

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  • GRUBB, FARLEY

Abstract

The U.S. Congress issued paper money called Continental Dollars to finance the American Revolution. The story of the Continental Dollar is familiar to all -- a lot were issued and hyper-inflation ensued. However, the details of this story are less well known. Scholars even disagree over how much was issued -- disagree by over 50 percent. Meaningful monetary analysis of the Continental Dollar cannot proceed given this confusion in the data. Evidence is gathered here to reconcile past estimates and establish the exact amount and time path of Continental Dollars emitted thereby overcoming the entropy that has crept into the historical record.
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Suggested Citation

  • Grubb, Farley, 2008. "The Continental Dollar: How Much Was Really Issued?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 283-291, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:68:y:2008:i:01:p:283-291_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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, vol. 48(01), pages 47-68, March.
    2. Garber, Peter M., 1991. "Alexander Hamilton's market-based debt reduction plan," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 79-104, January.
    3. Michener, Ron, 1988. "Backing Theories and the Currencies of Eighteenth-Century America: A Comment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 682-692, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Farley Grubb, 2008. "The Distribution of Congressional Spending During the American Revolution, 1775-1780: The Problem of Geographic Balance," Working Papers 08-21, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    2. Farley Grubb, 2011. "State Redemption of the Continental Dollar, 1779-1790," Working Papers 11-08, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    3. Hugh Rockoff, 2015. "War and Inflation in the United States from the Revolution to the First Iraq War," NBER Working Papers 21221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Farley Grubb, 2008. "The Continental Dollar: What Happened to It after 1779?," Working Papers 08-09, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    5. Farley Grubb, 2011. "The Continental Dollar: Initial Design, Ideal Performance, and the Credibility of Congressional Commitment," NBER Working Papers 17276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Peter L. Rousseau, 2013. "Politics on the road to the U.S. monetary union," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00006, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    7. Farley Grubb, 2015. "Common Currency versus Currency Union: The U.S. Continental Dollar and Denominational Structure, 1775-1776," NBER Working Papers 21728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hugh Rockoff, 2015. "War and Inflation in the United States from the Revolution to the First Iraq War," Departmental Working Papers 201516, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    9. Farley Grubb, 2015. "Common Currency versus Currency Union: The U.S. Continental Dollar and Denominational Structure, 1775-1779," Working Papers 15-10, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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