Monday, February 25, 2013
All about the Benjamins
Paper money has circulated in North America since 1690, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony issued some to paper over — so to speak — the shortage of coins. But these were just promissory notes from governing bodies. That changed on this date in 1862, when Congress passed the Legal Tender Act, fixing paper money as a means of paying the government's considerable Civil War bills with something other than gold or silver. One result was that greenbacks became a means of exchange for all private transactions. Currently, there are about 1.6 trillion U.S. dollars in circulation. From that total, America's nearly 117 million households draw an average annual income of just over $50,000.