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ECONOMIC ROLE

The Continental

Move your cursor over the bill or tap it on your screen to see the reverse side.
The Continental front
The Continental back
  • The Continental Dollar was first issued in 1775 by the Continental Congress to finance the American Revolution.
  • Continentals were issued in large denominations as zero-interest bearer bond notes with fixed future redemption dates. Prior to 1777, half of the notes issued were used to pay soldiers. Congress hoped soldiers would hold their Continental Dollars for future redemption. They were not intended to be used as a circulating currency.
  • By mid-1777, as Congress increasingly used Continentals to pay for war supplies, the notes began to circulate as a medium of exchange. Ultimately, British counterfeiting and inflationary pressures led to the coining of the phrase "not worth a continental." Eventually, they became worthless.
  • Public confidence in paper currency was so eroded during the American Revolution that it wouldn't be until the need to fund the Civil War that the federal government would again issue paper money for circulation among the general public.