1870 HEPBURN V GRISWOLD US SUPREME COURT DECISION
The Court declared that certain parts of the passed Congressional Legal Tender acts in the 1860’s were unconstitutional. The Legal Tender acts authorized the government to issue paper money, “Greenbacks,” and recognized it as legal to meet financial obligations. The Court concluded, however, that a party to a contract could not use paper money as payment for a debt if the contract stipulated gold or silver as payment. The Court explained how the US Congress possessed the power to coin money, but that that power was different than the power to made paper money legal.
1847 – BIRTH OF THOMAS EDISON, US INVENTOR
“If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good… If the Government issues bonds, the brokers will sell them. The bonds will be negotiable; they will be considered as gilt edged paper. Why? Because the government is behind them, but who is behind the Government? The people. Therefore it is the people who constitute the basis of Government credit. Why then cannot the people have the benefit of their own gilt-edged credit by receiving non-interest bearing currency… instead of the bankers receiving the benefit of the people’s credit in interest-bearing bonds?”
2004 – RON PAUL, US CONGRESSMAN, SPEAKING TO THE HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
He referred to the Federal Reserve by stating, “maybe there’s too much power in the hands of those who control monetary policy? The power to create the financial bubbles. The power to maybe bring the bubble about. The power to change the value of the stock market within minutes. That to me is just an ominous power and challenges the whole concept of freedom and liberty and sound money.”
1791 – BIRTH OF PETER COOPER, US INDUSTRIALIST, PHILANTHROPIST (FOUNDED COOPER UNION) AND GREENBACK CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT
“The substitution of greenbacks for National bank notes, would have the bounty now paid to banks, which, being invested as a sinking fund, would in less than thirty years pay off the whole debt of the country.”
1809 – BIRTH OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 16TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
“The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy.”
Under Lincoln’s administration, the US Government issued 450 million “Greenbacks” – interest and inflation free government-issued currency. They weren’t government bills, bonds or any other debt-bearing notes. They were actual US-based money.
“The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of government, but it is the government’s greatest creative opportunity. The financing of all public enterprise, and the conduct of the treasury will become matters of practical administration. Money will cease to be master and will then become servant of humanity.”
1873 – COINAGE ACT PASSED BY CONGRESS (THE “CRIME OF ‘73”)
The Coinage Act removed silver as a form of currency (“demonetized) – leaving gold as the major form of US currency. The public didn’t realize at first what happened. With silver no longer a form of money, the overall amount of currency dramatically declined, causing the prices farmer’s received for their produce to drop (deflation) but the cost of their debts rise. Thousand of famers lost their land. Those who held silver also suffered. This was one of the sparks of the rise of the farmer-led US Populist movement.
Why this calendar? Many people have questions about the root causes of our economic problems. Some questions involve money, banks and debt. How is money created? Why do banks control its quantity? How has the money system, been used to liberate (not often) and oppress (most often) us? And how can the money system be “democratized” to rebuild our economy and society, create jobs and reduce debt?
Our goal is to inform, intrigue and inspire through bite size weekly postings listing important events and quotes from prominent individuals (both past and present) on money, banking and how the money system can help people and the planet. We hope the sharing of bits of buried history will illuminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice.
This calendar is a project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis and Greg Coleridge helped in its development.
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