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Encyclopedia > Continental dollar
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Continental (currency). (Discuss)

The Continental Dollar was created by the Continental Congress to support the Revolution. They were also called Continentals, and rapidly became worthless. The loyalists to Great Britain waged economic warfare against the colonies by counterfeiting the Continental. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Continental Currency. ... The Continental Congress is the label given to three successive bodies of representatives: The First Continental Congress met from September 5, 1774 to October 26, 1774. ... Combatants American Revolutionaries, France, The Netherlands, Spain, American Indians Great Britain, German mercenaries, Loyalists, American Indians Canadian Indians Commanders George Washington, Comte de Rochambeau, Nathanael Greene, Bernardo de Gálvez Sir William Howe, Sir Henry Clinton, Lord Cornwallis (more commanders) The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


On the June 22, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved to issue a sum not exceeding two million dollars, on bills of credit, "for the defence of America," prescribed the form of the bills, and appointed a committee of five to attend to their printing. The plates were crudely engraved by Paul Revere, of Boston, and printed on such thick paper, that the British called the currency "the paste-board money of the rebels." Each denomination had a separate and significant device and motto, most designed by Benjamin Franklin, who was on the committee. Twenty-eight gentlemen were appointed to sign them. June 22 is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 192 days remaining. ... 1775 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley, c. ... Boston is a town and small port c. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ...


The two million was issued by July of the same year, and Congress quickly concluded that more was needed. By the end of 1775, a total of $6,000,000 in Continentals had been issued. Since the total money supply in the Colonies has been estimated at $12 million before the revolution, this reflects a 60% increase in the supply of money within a single year. Betsy Ross purportedly sewed the first American flag with 13 stars and 13 stripes representing each of the 13 colonies. ...


New issues were made at various times until the close of 1779, when the aggregate amount was $242,000,000. It was no surprise that the bills were rapidly discounted in terms of gold or silver money. In 1775 they were accepted at nearly par value, but by the end of 1777 had dropped to 3-1, to 7-1 by the end of 1778, and 42-1 by the end of 1779. In January, 1781, Captain Allan McLane paid $600 for a pair of boots, and $10 for a skein of thread. By the end of 1781 the bills had depreciated so much that one hundred dollars in specie would buy $16,800 in paper currency. 1779 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1777 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1778 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1779 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1781 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


The Congress never redeemed the bills, and their part of the debt was not assumed by the new United States government. This, along with the preceeduing devaluation, gave rise to the saying ...not worth a Continental.


Further reading

  • Bennett Baack; "Forging a Nation State: The Continental Congress and the Financing of the War of American Independence"; The Economic History Review, Volume 54, Number 4 (November 2001).

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