Department of Economics

State Redemption of the Continental Dollar, 1779-1790

Department of Economics
University of Delaware
Working Paper #2011-08

State Redemption of the Continental Dollar, 1779-1790

Farley Grubb

ABSTRACT

Remittances of Continental Dollars to the national treasury from each state by year from 1779 through 1789 are used to determine state compliance with congressional resolutions regarding Continental-Dollar redemption. From 1781 through 1789, the states as a whole stayed well ahead of the remittance schedule set by Congress in 1779. Individual state compliance, however, varied considerably. By the time Congress changed redemption requirements with the Funding Act of 4 August 1790, a majority of the net new Continental Dollars ever emitted by Congress had already been redeemed by the states and remitted to the national treasury to be burned.

JEL Codes:N11, N21, N41, H11, E42, E51

Keywords:  American Revolution; US Constitution; credible commitment; debt retirement; state taxation

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