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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Farley Grubb, 2008. "The Continental Dollar: What Happened to It after 1779?," NBER Working Papers 13770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13770
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Farley Grubb, 2007. "The Net Worth of the US Federal Government, 1784–1802," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 280-284, May.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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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. Hall, George J. & Sargent, Thomas J., 2014. "Fiscal discriminations in three wars," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 148-166.
    3. Elizabeth Brainerd & Nidhiya Menon, 2013. "Religion and Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from the Indian Subcontinent," Working Papers 65, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.

    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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