Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic

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Monday December 7

5:30 PM  –  6:30 PM

Joshua R. Greenberg


Before Civil War greenbacks and a national bank network established a uniform federal currency in the United States, loosely regulated banks saturated the early American republic with upwards of 10,000 unique and legal bank notes. Joshua R. Greenberg shows how ordinary Americans accumulated and wielded the financial knowledge required to navigate interpersonal bank note transactions and argues that the shift from state-regulated banks and private shinplaster producers to federally authorized paper money in the Civil War era led to the erasure of the skill, knowledge, and lived experience with banking that informed debates over economic policy.