Fiscal discriminations in three wars

George J. Hall, Thomas J. Sargent

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In 1790, a U.S. paper dollar was widely held in disrepute (something shoddy was not 'worth a Continental'). By 1879, a U.S. paper dollar had become 'as good as gold'. These outcomes emerged from how the U.S. federal government financed three wars: the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. In the beginning, the U.S. government discriminated greatly in the returns it paid to different classes of creditors; but that pattern of discrimination diminished over time in ways that eventually rehabilitated the reputation of federal paper money as a store of value.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)148-166
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Monetary Economics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 2014


    • Albert Gallatin
    • Alexander Hamilton
    • Discrimination
    • Greenbacks
    • Legal tender
    • Repudiation
    • Reputation
    • Ulysses S. Grant

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics


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