Most of us have some denomination of greenbacks stashed somewhere. Whether in our wallet or in a shoebox under our beds, U.S. paper money has a long history.
According to the U.S. Currency Education Program, paper currency was established in the United States in 1690. The Massachusetts Bay Colony used paper money to fund military expeditions. Other U.S. colonies followed suit soon after.
In 1766, Continental Currency denominations featured illustrations that were inspired by the colonial fight against Great Britain during the American Revolution. According to the U.S. Currency Education Program, these “illustrations signify the colonies’ values and virtues.”
By 1775, the Continental Congress had issued paper currency in an effort to finance the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, the value of the Continental Currency quickly lost value because of a lack of concrete backing.
The first $2 Continental note was issued on June 25, 1776 – nine days before the July 4th Declaration of Independence.
Bank of the United States
Yes, Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton is actually based on a real person. In 1791, Alexander Hamilton established the Bank of the United States, which created a credit system for the government. Hamilton is credited with having an insight when creating the Bank of the United States that has led our financial system for almost 250 years.
While our paper currency has changed significantly over the years, its purpose has remained largely the same – to allow for an equalized ability to purchase the goods and services that we need to get through our daily lives.