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Speaking of "dollars"...

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  • Frog Farmer
    This is a cut and paste from another yahoo list, but it s better than I could say myself, and everyone needs this information. FF ... What Is A Dollar ? An
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2009
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      This is a cut and paste from another yahoo list, but it's better than I
      could say myself, and everyone needs this information. FF
      -----------------------------------------------


      What Is A "Dollar"?
      An Historical Analysis Of The Fundamental Question In Monetary Policy
      by Edwin Vieira, Jr.
      Foreword

      Today, all thinking, informed Americans know their country is in
      trouble.

      Many haven't a clue as to what went wrong with their government, while
      others can recite a litany of reasons for their country's distress. Of
      course, no one reason is paramount; but surely a debased, corrupt, and
      inflationary monetary system must be placed near the top of the list
      of causes of America's woes.

      What To Do About It?

      This Monograph presents, in irrefutable fashion, the legal and
      economic history of the "dollar," and of the "dollar's" role in
      America's monetary system, as originally devised by the Founding
      Fathers. It also analyzes the Coinage Act of 1792, signed into law by
      President Washington, which put into effect the monetary system the
      Founders had previously outlined in the Constitution.

      This system helped make the United States "dollar" the safest, most
      sought-after currency in the world, leading to the well-known saying
      "sound as a dollar." However, in 1913, Congress - in an
      unconstitutional act - relinquished its constitutional power and duty
      to "coin Money and regulate the Value thereof" to a private banking
      cartel, the Federal Reserve System.

      The ensuing years witnessed a gradual abandonment of the Founding
      Fathers'system (based on silver and gold coins) and the insidious
      substitution of a paper-currency system based on irredeemable, fiat
      Federal Reserve Notes, which continue to circulate today only because
      of the public's misplaced confidence.

      What to do about it? is the question. Obviously, the Federal Reserve
      System's experiment with fiat currency has failed. But we cannot have
      a sound economy without sound money. That means we must return to a
      monetary system based on silver and gold coins - as the Founding
      Fathers wisely specified. This will require action by Congress to
      rectify its mistake of 1913, by abolishing the Federal Reserve System
      and reaffirming the "dollar"as a coin containing 371.25 grains (troy)
      of fine silver.

      We know that Congress will take no such action on its own initiative.
      Congress will move only when the general public becomes aware of, and
      incensed by, the monetary mess Congress and the Federal Reserve System
      have created. Therefore, everyone concerned with "the money issue"
      must bring the facts to the attention of as many Americans as possible.

      This Monograph contains more than enough documentation to convince
      anyone of good faith and an open mind of what a "dollar" is. This
      documentation should be used in every possible way to generate public
      debate on the money issue:
      letters to the editor, call-ins to radio talk shows, local citizens'
      meetings, and so on. All these offer opportunities to present powerful
      arguments for a restoration of the constitutional monetary system, and
      to wrest the initiative in the public forum away from the Federal
      Reserve System and its apologists.

      As the Monograph concludes, "modern money has become a means for the
      total confiscation of private property by the government." It is,
      therefore, incumbent on those of us who understand this issue to make
      the truth known to others. Nothing could be more vital than to restore
      the monetary system with a proven track record: the one devised by our
      Founding Fathers!

      Richard L. Solyom, Chairman
      Sound Dollar Committee
      What Is A "Dollar"?

      Introduction

      The question "What is a 'dollar'?" may seem trivial. Everyone knows
      what a "dollar" is - or, at least almost everyone thinks he does. In
      fact, however, very few people could correctly define a "dollar." And
      even fewer know why a correct definition is vital to their continued
      economic and political well-being.

      Analysis

      1. Why is a correct definition of the term "dollar" important?
      The United States has a highly advanced free-market economy. In a
      free- market economy, the prices of almost all goods and services are
      stated in units of money. Under present law - and, as will be
      described below, from the very beginnings of this country - "United
      States money is expressed in dollars * * * ."
      1<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Moreover, all "United States coins and currency (including Federal
      Reserve Notes * * *) are legal tender for all debts, public charges,
      taxes and dues."
      2 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Thus,all "coins and currency (including Federal Reserve notes * * * )"
      that are "expressed in dollars" are both money and legal tender. For
      this reason, accurately defining the noun "dollar" is mandatory, in
      order to know what is supposedly the official "Money" of the United
      States and what constitutes "legal tender for all debts, public
      charges. taxes and dues."
      3 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      2. Do the present monetary statutes intelligibly define the "dollar'"?
      Unf-rtunately, the present monetary statutes do not define the
      "dollar" in an intelligible fashion.
      a. Federal Reserve Notes. Most people associate the noun "dollar" with
      the Federal Reserve Note ("FRN") "dollar bill," engraved with the
      portrait of President George Washington. This association is mistaken.

      No statute defines - or ever has defined - the "one dollar" FRN as the
      "dollar," or even as a species of "dollar." Moreover, the United
      States Code provides that FRNs "shall be redeemed in lawful money on
      demand at the Treasury Department of the United States * * * or at any
      Federal Reserve bank."
      4 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Thus, FRNs are not themselves "lawful money" - otherwise, they would
      not be "redeemable in lawful money." And if FRNs are not even "lawful
      money," it is inconceivable that they are somehow "dollars," the very
      units in which all "United States money is expressed."
      5<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      People are confused on this point because of the insidious manner in
      which FRNs "evolved" - actually, degenerated is a more appropriate
      verb - from the late 1920s until today. FRNs of Series 1928 through
      Series 1950E carried the obligation "The United States of America will
      pay to the bearer on demand [some number of] dollars." Prior to 1934,
      the notes carried the inscription "Redeemable in gold on demand at the
      United States Treasury, or in gold or lawful money at any Federal
      Reserve Bank." After 1934, the notes carried the inscription "this
      note * * * is redeemable in lawful money at the United
      States Treasury, or at any Federal Reserve Bank" (post-1934).

      Starting with Series 1963, the words "will pay to the bearer on
      demand" no longer appear; and each FRN simply states a particular
      denomination in "dollars." With and after Series 1963, the promise of
      redemption also vanished from the face of each note.
      6<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Thus, on their faces FRNs became, in the apt description of banking
      expert John Exter, an "I.O.U. Nothing" currency. This change in the
      mere language printed on FRNs could not transform their legal
      character, however. If FRNs were not "dollars" when they explicitly
      promised to pay in gold or "lawful money," they did not magically
      become "dollars" when they stopped explicitly promising to pay in
      anything at all.
      7<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      b. United States coins. The situation with coinage is more complex,
      but equally (if not more) confusing. The United States Code provides
      for three different types of coinage denominated in "dollars": namely,
      base- metallic coinage, gold coinage, and silver coinage.
      (1) The base-metallic coinage consists of "a dollar coin," weighing
      "8.1 grams," "a half dollar coin," weighing "11.34 grams"; "a quarter
      coin," weighing "5.67 grams": and "a dime coin," weighing "2.268 grams."
      8<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      All of these coins are composed of copper and nickel.
      9<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      The weights of the dime, the quarter, and the half dollar are in the
      correct arithmetical proportions, the one to each of the others.
      10 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      But the "dollar" is disproportionately light (or the other coins
      disproportionately heavy). In this series of base metallic coins,
      then, the questions naturally arise: Is the "dollar" a cupro-nickel
      coin weighing "8.1 grams"? Or is it two cupro- nickel coins (or four
      or ten coins) collectively weighing 22.68 grams? Or is it both? Or is
      it neither, but something else altogether, to which the weights of
      these coins are irrelevant?

      (2) Similarly, the gold coinage consists of "[a] fifty dollar gold
      coin" that "weighs 33.931 grams, and contains one troy ounce of fine
      gold"; "[a] twenty-five dollar gold coin" that "contains one-half
      ounce of fine gold"; "[a] ten dollar gold coin" that "contains one
      fourth ounce of fine gold"; and "[a] five dollar gold coin" that
      "contains one tenth ounce of fine gold."
      11 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      The "fifty dollar," "twenty-five dollar," and "five dollar" coins are
      in the correct arithmetical proportions each to the others. But the
      "ten dollar" coin is not. Therefore, is a "dollar" one-fiftieth or
      one-fortieth of an ounce of gold? Or both? Or neither?
      And what is the logical, economic, or other relationship between a
      "dollar" that contains "8.1 grams" of copper and nickel, and a
      "dollar" that consists of 0.679 grams of gold alloy?
      12<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      (3) Finally, the silver coinage consists of a coin that is inscribed
      "One Dollar," weighs "31.103 grams," and is supposed to contain one
      ounce of ."999 fine silver."
      13<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      What is the rational relationship between this "dollar" of "31.103
      grams" of ".999 fine silver," a "dollar" containing 0.679 grams of
      gold alloy, and a "dollar" containing "8.1 grams" of base metals?
      Obviously, these are not the amounts of the metals that exchange
      against each other in the free market - that is, the different weights
      of different metals do not reflect equivalent
      purchasing powers. So, on what theory are each of these disparate
      weights, and purchasing powers, equally "dollars"?

      c. Currency of "equal purchasing power" The United States Code
      provides no answer to this perplexing question. Indeed, it mandates
      that the question should not even be capable of being asked. For the
      Code commands that "the Secretary [of the Treasury] shall redeem gold
      certificates owned by the Federal reserve banks at times and in
      amounts the Secretary decides are necessary to maintain the equal
      purchasing power of each kind of United States currency.
      14<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      One need be no expert in currency transactions to know that a
      "fifty-dollar" gold coin has significantly more purchasing power than
      a "fifty-dollar" FRN or than fifty cupro-nickel "dollars," and that a
      "one-dollar" silver coin has significantly more purchasing power than
      a "one-dollar" FRN or one cupro-nickel "dollar." Thus, one need be no
      expert in administrative law to realize that the Secretary of the
      Treasury has defaulted on his obligation to keep all forms of "United
      States currency" at parity with each other - that is, to maintain a
      "dollar" of the same purchasing-power, whether it be composed of gold,
      silver, or base metals.

      The Secretary's default cannot be traced to a lack of power to perform
      his duty. For example, "With the approval of the President, the
      Secretary of the Treasury may - (A) buy and sell gold in the way, in
      amounts, at rates, and on conditions the Secretary considers most
      advantageous to the public interest; and (B) buy the gold with any
      direct obligations of the United States Government or United States
      coins and currency authorized by law * * *."
      15 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      "The Secretary may buy silver mined from natural deposits in the
      United States that is brought to a United States mint or assay office
      within one year after the month in which the ore from which it is
      derived was mined."
      16<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      "The Secretary may sell or use Government silver to mint
      coins * * * . The Secretary shall sell silver under conditions the
      Secretary considers appropriate for at least $1.292929292 a fine troy
      ounce."
      17<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      "Except to the extent authorized in regulations the Secretary of the
      Treasury prescribes with the approval of the President, the
      Secretary may not redeem United States currency (including Federal
      reserve notes * * *) in gold. * * * When redemption in gold is
      authorized, the redemption may be made only in gold bullion bearing
      the stamp of a United States mint or assay office in an amount equal
      at the time of redemption to the currency presented for redemption."
      18 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      Thus, the United States Code simply presents another unanswered
      question:
      "Why has the Secretary of the Treasury failed 'to maintain the equal
      purchasing power of each kind of United States currency'?"
      In sum, the present monetary statutes of the United States do not
      define the noun "dollar" in an unique way. Instead of monetary law -
      which, by hypothesis, requires clearly defined terms and rational
      relationships among those terms - the country's present monetary code
      smacks of political psychosis - in which completely different things
      have the same name, things unequal to each other are treated as
      equivalent, and things that should have the same characteristics
      (e.g., "equal purchasing power[s]") are quite different.

      3. What do American history and the Constitution identify as the
      "dollar"? Reference to history clears away the confusion of
      present-day politics, by showing beyond cavil that the "dollar" is a
      specific coin, containing 371.25 grains (troy) of fine silver, and
      nothing else.

      a. The "dollar" in the Constitution. Both Article 1, Section 9, Clause
      1 of and the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution refer explicitly to
      the "dollar" - in the one case, permitting "a Tax or duty * * * not
      exceeding ten dollars for each Person" the States saw fit "to admit"
      prior to 1808; and, in the other, guaranteeing trial by jury "[i]n
      suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed
      twenty dollars." The Constitution does not define this "dollar." But,
      in the late 1700s, no explicit definition was necessary: Everyone
      conversant with political and economic affairs knew that the word
      imported the silver Spanish milled dollar.

      Indeed, had not such an understanding been catholic, powerful
      contending forces might never have agreed to support the Constitution
      at all. For example, the traditional interpretation of Article 1,
      Section 9, Clause 1 is that it elliptically refers to the slave-trade,
      and represents a compromise between pro- and anti-slavery forces that
      was vital to ratification of the Constitution. 19
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Self-evidently, those in the pro-slavery faction would never have
      accepted the "Tax or duty" phrase unless they already knew that the
      "dollar" identified as the measure of the "Tax" had a fixed value, and
      what its value was. Otherwise, by monetary manipulation aimed at
      increasing the purchasing-power of the "dollar," anti-slavery forces
      in Congress might have eliminated the slave-trade altogether.

      Similarly, the proponents of the fundamental right to jury-trial in
      the Seventh Amendment would never have accepted the
      "dollar"-limitation on jury- trials unless they already knew that the
      "dollar" had a fixed value, and what its value was. Otherwise,
      monetary manipulation might have eliminated common-law juries
      altogether. Yet both these groups also were aware of the
      doctrine that, if Congress had discretion to change the value of the
      unit of money, there could be no legal limits to the changes it might
      make.20<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      Therefore, their support of these provisions inferentially establishes
      what a literal reading of them straightforwardly suggests: to wit,
      that the noun "dollar" refers, not to a mere name applicable to
      whatever Congress whimsically might decide thereafter to call a
      "dollar," but instead to a particular coin so familiar in American
      experience as to be beyond political transmogrification.

      An interpretation of the term "dollar" as signifying merely the label
      the Constitution gives to whatever Congress decides to make the unit
      of money, if consistently applied to other undefined terms in the
      document, would render the Constitution nonsensical. For example, the
      noun "Year" appears repetitively in Article I - particularly in
      Section 2, Clause 1 ("The House of Representatives shall be composed
      of Members chosen every second Year"), and Section 3, Clause I ("The
      Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from
      each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years").

      Self-evidently, the Framers used this term with the presumption that
      everyone would implicitly understand it to mean the time the earth
      actually requires for one complete revolution around the sun - rather
      than a mere empty shorthand for a unit of time within the discretion
      of Congress to adopt or change. Yet, if the word "dollar" need have no
      fixed, historically ascertainable meaning, neither need the word
      "Year." The principle of constitutional interpretation is precisely
      the same in both cases. And if the noun "Year" need have no meaning
      more fixed than the noun "dollar" does in present-day monetary
      statutes (as discussed above), then Congress could enact laws
      "redefining" the "Year" so as to extend, for instance, the terms
      of the House and Senate to ten, twenty, one hundred, or any other
      number of earthly revolutions.

      Of course, Congress may, with constitutional propriety, appoint
      astronomers, physicists, and other qualified experts to determine with
      scientific precision what the "Year" actually is. Congress lacks
      authority, however, to decide for itself what the "Year" ought to be,
      or to declare the "Year" to be whatever Congress may arbitrarily
      desire from time to time. Analogously, Congress may, with
      constitutional propriety, appoint economists, monetary historians, and
      other experts to determine with clinometric accuracy what
      the "dollar" actually was in the late 1700s. In fact, this is what
      Congress did do, under both the Articles of Confederation and the
      Constitution (as described below). Congress has no authority, however,
      to decide for itself what the "dollar" ought to be.

      Besides constitutional history and logic, economic analysis and
      history support an interpretation of the noun "dollar" as referring to
      a specific thing the character of which was an ascertainable
      historical fact that Congress was obliged to determine, rather than as
      constituting merely a political label that Congress could assign to
      whatever it deemed expedient.

      The nominalistic view that would treat the term "dollar" as simply a
      convenient, historically vacuous term for whatever Congress chooses to
      declare to be "money," and set up as the "unit of value," is incapable
      of answering the question: "What is an abstract 'unit of value'?," and
      passes over in silence the question: "Before ratification of the
      Constitution, was the 'dollar' something that it ceased to be
      thereafter?"

      Economically, of course, "abstract" (or "objective") value does not
      exist, in monetary matters or elsewhere. In general, the notion that
      value is objective is "[a]n inveterate fallacy"; and the allied
      concept that value is measurable in terms of some definedly fixed unit
      is a "spurious idea."

      Simply put, "[t]here is no method available to construct a unit of
      value."

      More specifically, "money is not a standard for the measurement of
      prices; it is a medium whose exchange ratio varies in the same way * *
      * in which the mutual exchange ratios of the vendible commodities and
      services vary." Furthermore, money can never arise ex nihilo.

      "The acceptance of a new kind of money presupposes that the thing in
      question already has, previous exchange value on account of the
      services it can render directly to consumption or production." 21
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      In short, no governmental edict can make something with no previously
      existing purchasing power either a "unit of value," or "money" in the
      economic sense. Prior to ratification of the Constitution, no one
      conversant with economics and commercial practices conceived of
      monetary values as abstractions.

      Rather, "money" was generally synonymous with known weights of the
      precious metals, gold and silver, and (to a lesser degree) the base
      metals, such as copper. In particular, Anglo-American monetary history
      records that merchants traditionally tendered and accepted coins, the
      standard monetary instruments of the times, not by tale without
      consideration of those coins' qualities. but only as pieces of
      precious metal of specific weights and fineness.

      Where commercial practice accepted payment of coins by tale, it was
      always with the definite belief that those coins' stamps assured them
      to be of the correct weights and usual fineness for their types.
      Absent grounds supporting this assumption, merchants regularly
      resorted to weighing and chemical analyses. Thus, commercial practice
      always insisted that the "value" of coins was not their face-values as
      abstract governmental tokens, but only their market-values as pieces
      of actual metal. And whenever circumstances indicated that a stamp no
      longer reflected a coin's physical content, merchants ceased relying
      on the official monetary "value," and substituted their own system for
      measuring the coin's market-worth in precious metal.

      From an early day, the law applicable to America conformed to this
      age- old commercial understanding. Queen Anne's Proclamation of 1704,
      for example, spoke not of abstract values, but of "the value of * * *
      coins which usually pass in payment in our said plantations [in
      America], according to their weight, and the assays made of them in
      our mint," and specifically referred to the "Sevil, Pillar, or Mexico
      pieces of eight" (various forms of Spanish silver dollars) as having
      "the full weight of seventeen penny-weight and an half" - thereby
      recognizing that the value" of a coin lay in its "weight" and "assay"
      according to a fixed standard, or "full weight."22
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Thus, at the time of ratification of the Constitution, no person with
      any understanding of law and monetary affairs would have attributed to
      the noun "dollar" a meaning other than (for example): "a silver coin
      with a value of such-and-so grains of precious metal when at full
      weight."23 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      b. Adoption of the "dollar" as the unit of money prior to ratification
      of the Constitution. The actions of the Continental Congress itself
      prove that the foregoing analysis is correct.

      The Founding Fathers did not need explicitly to adopt the "dollar" as
      the national unit of money or to define that noun in the Constitution
      - because the Continental Congress had already performed that task.
      I. Use of the dollar as a standard coin and monetary unit did not
      begin with the Continental Congress, however. Monetary historians
      generally first associate the dollar with one Count Schlick, who began
      striking such silver coins in 1519 in Joachim's Thai, Bavaria. Then
      called "Schlickten thalers" or "Joachimsthalers, " the coins became
      known simply as "thalers," which transliterated into "dollars."

      Interestingly, the American Colonies did not adopt the dollar from
      England, but from Spain. Under that country's monetary reforms of
      1497, the silver real became the Spanish money-unit, or unit of
      account. A new coin consisting of eight reales also appeared.
      Variously known as pesos, duros, piezas de a ocho ("pieces of eight"),
      or Spanish dollars (because of their similarity in weight and fineness
      to the thaler), the coins quickly achieved predominance in financial
      markets of the New World because of Spain's then-important commercial
      and political position.24
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Indeed, by 1704, the "pieces of eight" had in fact become a unit of
      account of the Colonies, as Queen Anne's Proclamation of 1704
      recognized, when it decreed that all other current foreign silver
      coins "stand regulated, according to their weight and fineness,
      according and in proportion to the rate before limited and set for the
      pieces of eight of Sevil, Pillar, and Mexico."25
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      By the War of Independence, the Spanish dollar was, for all practical
      purposes, rapidly becoming the monetary unit of the American people as
      a matter of economics. Not surprisingly, the Continental Congress
      first used, and then took formal steps to adopt, that dollar as the
      nation's standard of value. On 22 May 1776, a Congressional committee
      reported on "the value of the several species of gold and silver coins
      current in these colonies, and the proportions they ought to bear to
      Spanish milled dollars." And on 2 September of that year, a further
      committee-report undertook to "declar[e]
      the precise weight and fineness of the * * * Spanish milled dollar * *
      * now becoming the Money-Unit or common measure of other coins in
      these states and to "explai[n] the principles and establish the rules
      by which * * * the said common measure shall be applied to other coins
      * * * in order to estimate their comparative values."26
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Meanwhile, Congress and its agents were carefully exploring the basis
      of, and possible structures for, a national monetary-system. In his
      letter to Congress of 15 January 1782, Robert Morris, Superintendent
      of the Office of Finance, commented that, "[a]lthough most nations
      have coined copper, yet that metal is so impure, that it has never
      been considered as constituting the money standard. This is affixed to
      the two precious metals [i.e., silver and gold], because they alone
      will admit of having their intrinsic value precisely ascertained. "
      "Arguments are unnecessary to shew that the scale by
      which every thing is to be measured ought to be as fixed as the nature
      of things will permit," wrote Morris, concluding that"[t]here can be
      no doubt therefore that our money standard ought to be affixed to
      silver."

      Although Morris personally favored creating an entirely new standard
      coin, he recognized that "[t]he various coins which have circulated in
      America, have undergone different changes in their value, so that
      there is hardly any which can be considered as a general standard,
      unless it be Spanishdollars."27
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      In a plan first published on 24 July 1784, Thomas Jefferson strongly
      concurred that "[t]he Spanish dollar seems to fulfill all * * *
      conditions" applicable to "fixing the unit of money." "Taking into our
      view all money transactions, great and small," he ventured, "I
      question if a common measure, of more convenient size than the dollar,
      could be proposed." "The unit, or dollar," he wrote equating the one
      with the other, "is a known coin, and the most familiar of all to the
      minds of people. It is already adopted from south to north: has
      identified our currency, and therefore happily offers itself as an
      unit already introduced. Our public debt, our
      requisitions and their apportionments, have given it actual and long
      possession of the place of unit."28
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Yet Jefferson recognized the necessity of certain practical steps to
      adopt the dollar as the "Money-Unit" : "If we determine that a dollar
      shall be our unit, we must then say with precision what a dollar is.

      This coin as struck at different times, of different weight and
      fineness, is of different values." This, though, Jefferson saw as a
      problem for economic science to solve through objective measurement,
      not as a matter for politics to dictate according to arbitrary policy.

      "If the dollars circulating among us be of every date equal, we should
      examine the quantity of pure metal in each, and from them form an
      average for our unit. This is a work proper to be
      committed to the mathematicians as well as merchants, and which should
      be decided on actual and accurate experiments. "

      "The proportion between the value of gold and silver," he added, "is a
      mercantile problem altogether."

      Given "[t]he quantity of fine silver which shall constitute the unit,"
      and "the proportion of the value of gold to that of silver," Jefferson
      went on, "a table should be formed * * * classing the several foreign
      coins according to their fineness, declaring the worth * * * in each
      class, and that they should be lawful tenders at those rates, if not
      clipped or otherwisediminished." 29
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Concluding, he encouraged Congress: To appoint proper persons to assay
      and examine, with the utmost accuracy practicable, the Spanish milled
      dollars of different dates in circulation with us.

      To assay and examine in like manner the fineness of all the
      other coins which may be found in circulation within these states.

      To appoint also proper persons to enquire what are the
      proportions between the values in fine gold and fine silver, at the
      markets of the several countries with which we are or probably may be
      connected in commerce; and what would be a proper proportion here,
      having regard to the average of their values at those markets * * * .

      To prepare an ordinance for establishing the unit of money
      within these states * * * on the * * * principle[:]
      That the money-unit of these states shall be equal in value
      to Spanish milled dollar, containing so much fine silver as the assay
      * * * shall shew to be contained on an average in dollars of the
      several dates in circulation with us.30
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Jefferson's cogent and straightforward analysis of the problem of
      selecting and defining a unit of money should be compared -
      contrasted, really - with the present mishmash of monetary statutes
      that leave the definition of the "dollar" in a state of hopeless
      confusion today.

      First, for Jefferson, the "unit" was to be "a known coin"
      that was "familiar" to the people because it was "already adopted" in
      the marketplace. None of the coins that Congress now authorizes - be
      it of silver, gold, or base metals - was (before its authorization) a
      "known coin" "familiar" to anyone in the United States, even in terms
      of its content of metal.

      Second, having settled on the "dollar" as the "unit," for
      Jefferson the problem of fixing the standard "unit" reduced to
      determining "what a dollar is" in terms of "the quantity of pure
      metal" [i.e., silver] contained in "an average" coin that actually
      circulated in the marketplace.

      Thus, for Jefferson it was not the prerogative of Congress to create
      the "dollar" ex nihilo, but the responsibility of Congress to
      determine what the "dollar" in common use among the people actually
      was. Today's Congress assumes that it may declare anything a "dollar,"
      and then impose that ersatz, political pseudo- "dollar" on the people
      whether they want it or not.

      Third, for Jefferson, to settle the relative values of
      silver and gold coins was also a matter of studying actual economic
      relationships in the marketplace: to wit, "the proportion of the value
      of gold to that of silver" in the various coins in circulation. For
      today's Congress, economic relationships between silver and gold are
      irrelevant.

      And, of course, there is no rational economic relationship between the
      coins of base metals and the coins of precious metals, either.
      Moreover, even within the sets of gold and base-metallic coins
      themselves, rational economic relationships are irrelevant to Congress!

      Obviously, Jefferson's free-market, scientific approach is a world
      apart from the arbitrary way in which Congress has set up the mutually
      incompatible and internally irrational sets of silver, gold, and base-
      metallic coins that exist today.

      On 13 May 1785, a committee presented Congress with "Propositions
      Respecting the Coinage of Gold, Silver, and Copper," which referred to
      the "Plan which proposes that the Money Unit be One Dollar." "In favor
      of this Plan," the committee reported, is "that a Dollar, the proposed
      Unit, has long been in general Use. Its Value is familiar. This
      accords with the national mode of keeping Accounts."

      Later, the report referred to the "dollar" as the "Money
      of Account," thereby equating that term with the term "Money-Unit. "31
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      On 6 July 1785, Congress unanimously "Resolved, That the money unit of
      the United States be one dollar."32
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Almost another year elapsed until, on 8 April 1786, the Board of
      Treasury reported to Congress on the establishment of a mint:
      Congress by their Act of the 6th July last resolved, that the Money
      Unit of the United States should be a Dollar, but did not
      determine what number of grains of Fine Silver should constitute the
      Dollar.

      We have concluded that Congress by their Act aforesaid,
      intended the common Dollars that are Current in the United States, and
      we have made our calculations accordingly.
      * * * * *
      The Money Unit or Dollar will contain three hundred and
      seventy five grains and sixty four hundredths of a Grain of fine
      Silver. A Dollar containing this number of Grains of fine Silver, will
      be worth as much as the New Spanish Dollars.33
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Shortly thereafter, on 8 August 1787, Congress adopted this standard
      as "the money Unit of the United States.34
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Again, stark and striking is the contrast between how the committee of
      the Continental Congress - composed of the Founding Fathers -
      approached the problem of fixing the unit of money, and how the modern
      Congress deals with the same matter. The committee determined that an
      American"dollar" should contain a known, unchangeable weight of
      silver, and would be "worth as much as the New Spanish Dollars"
      because it actually contained this weight of precious metal, not
      simply because Congress said it was a "dollar."

      Today's Congress, however, assumes that the "dollar" need have no
      rational relationship to a weight of silver, of gold, or even of base
      metals. Thus, today's Congress assumes that the value of money has
      nothing to do with the substance that composes a coin, but is merely
      the product of a political decree.

      In today's Washington, D.C., might not only makes right, but also
      creates economic value!

      Many of the same people who served in the Continental Congress
      participated in the Federal Convention that drafted the Constitution.
      And even those members of the Convention who had not served in the
      Continental Congress knew what that Congress had done. Therefore, when
      the Convention used the noun "dollar" in Article 1, Section 9. Clause
      I of the Constitution, it was with the tacit understanding of all the
      history surrounding that noun.

      Thus, the lesson here is clear: The constitutional "dollar," the
      constitutional "Money-Unit" or "Money of Account" of the United
      States, is an historically determinate, fixed weight of fine silver in
      the form of a coin - in essence, a unit of measure - adopted, not
      created, first by the American market and then by the Continental
      Congress well before ratification of the Constitution.

      c. Adoption of the "dollar" as the unit of money immediately after the
      ratification of the Constitution. Upon ratification of the Constitution.
      Congress and the Executive began work on a national monetary system.

      (1) Alexander Hamilton's Report on the Mint. On 28 January 1791,
      Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton presented to Congress his
      Report on the Subject of a Mint. "A plan for an establishment of this
      nature," he wrote, "involves a great variety of considerations
      intricate, nice, and important." Indeed, the erection of a mint was
      essential to the continued integrity of the nation's coinage:
      The dollar originally contemplated in the money transactions
      of this country [i.e., the silver Spanish milled dollar], by
      successive diminutions of its weight and fineness [in the Spanish
      mints], has sustained a depreciation of five per cent, and yet the new
      dollar has a currency in all payments in place of the old, with
      scarcely any attention to the difference between them. The operation
      of this in depreciating the value of property depending upon past
      contracts, and * * * of all other property, is apparent. Nor can it
      require argument to prove that a nation ought not to suffer the value
      of the property of its citizens to fluctuate with the fluctuations of
      a foreign mint, or to change with the changes in the regulations of a
      foreign sovereign. This, nevertheless, is the condition of one which,
      having no coins of its own, adopts with implicit confidence those
      of other countries.
      * * * * *
      It was with great reason, therefore, that the attention of
      Congress, under the late Confederation, was repeatedly drawn to the
      establishment of a mint; and it is with equal reason that the subject
      has been resumed * * * .35
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      To form "a right judgment of what ought to be done," Hamilton posed
      two questions, "lst. What ought to be the nature of the money unit of
      the United States?," and "2d. What the proportion between gold and
      silver, if coins of both metals are to be established? "36
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Recognizing that "[a] pre-requisite to determining with propriety what
      ought to be the money-unit of the United States" is "to form as
      accurate an idea as the nature of the case will admit, of what it
      actually is," Hamilton referred to the resolutions of the Continental
      Congress on the subject, noted that they had resulted in "no formal
      regulation on the point," and concluded that "usage and practice * * *
      indicate the dollar as best entitled to that character." As to "what
      kind of dollar ought to be understood; or, * * * what precise quantity
      of fine silver," he surveyed the various pieces in circulation over
      the years, and recommended that "[t]he actual dollar in common
      circulation has * * * a much better claim to be regarded as the actual
      money unit."37
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Hamilton recognized that "[t]he suggestions and proceedings hitherto
      have had for object the annexing of [the title of 'money unit']
      emphatically to the silver dollar." Yet, his personal view was that "a
      preference ought to be given to neither of the metals for the money
      unit" - at least "[i]f each of them be as valid as the other in
      payments to any amount." He realized, of course, that adopting
      equivalent, interchangeable "money units" of both silver and gold
      would pose practical problems "from the fluctuations in the relative
      [market-]value of the metals"; but he suggested that this could be
      overcome "if care be taken to regulate the proportion between them
      with an eye to their average commercial value."38
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Turning to "the proportion which ought to subsist between [gold and
      silver]in the coins," Hamilton proposed two "option[s]": namely, "[t]o
      approach as nearly as can be ascertained, the * * * average proportion
      * * * in * * the commercial world"; or "[t]o retain that which now
      exists in the United States." The first alternative "requir[ing]
      better materials than are possessed, or than could be obtained without
      an inconvenient delay," he recommended instead the domestic
      market-ratio of "about as 1 to 15." "There can hardly be a better rule
      in any country for the legal than the market
      proportion," he explained, "if this can be supposed to have been
      produced by the free and steady course of commercial principles. The
      presumption in such a case is that each metal finds its true level,
      according to its intrinsic utility, in the general system of money
      operation."39 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_
      is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      In the course of determining the method by which the government would
      defray the expenses of coining silver and gold brought to the mint by
      private parties (the system of "free coinage"40
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>
      ),Hamilton restated the traditional policy against monetary debasement
      in emphatic terms:
      [R]aising the denomination of the coin [is] a measure which
      has been disapproved by the wisest men in the nations in which it has
      been practiced, and condemned by the rest of the world. To declare
      that a less weight of gold or silver shall pass for the same sum,
      which before represented a greater weight, or to ordain that the same
      weight shall pass for a greater sum, are things substantially of one
      nature. The consequence of either of them is to degrade the money
      unit; obliging creditors to receive less than their just dues, and
      depreciating property of every kind.
      * * * * *
      The quantity of gold and silver in the national coins,
      corresponding with a given sum, cannot be made less than heretofore
      without disturbing the balance of intrinsic value, and making every
      acre of land, as well as every bushel of wheat, of less actual worth
      than in time past. * * *

      [A debasement would cause] a rise of prices proportioned to
      the diminution of the intrinsic value of the coins. This might be
      looked for in every enlightened commercial country; but, perhaps, in
      none with greater certainty than in this; because in none are men less
      liable to be the dupes of sounds; in none has authority so little
      resource for substituting names for things.

      A general revolution in prices * * * could not fail to
      distract the ideas of the community, and would be apt to breed
      discontents as well among those who live on the income of their money
      as among the poorer classes of the people, to whom the necessaries of
      life would * * * become dearer.

      Among the evils attendant on such an operation are these:
      creditors, both of the public and of individuals would lose a part of
      their property, public and private credits would receive a wound; the
      effective revenues of the Government would be diminished. There is
      scarcely any point, in the economy of national affairs, of greater
      moment than the uniform preservation of the intrinsic value of the
      money unit. On this the security and steady value of property
      essentially depend.41<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_
      is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      In sum, Hamilton recommended two equivalent statutory money-units
      based on weight, a gold coin of 24.75 grains of fine gold, and a
      silver coin of 371.25 grains of fine silver. "[N]othing better," he
      wrote, "can be done * * * than to pursue the track marked out by the
      resolution [of the Continental Congress] of the 8th of August,
      1786."42 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      Hamilton's Report thus restated the traditional monetary principles of
      American law, as the Continental Congress applied them, and as the
      Federal Convention embodied them in the Constitution. Congress,
      Hamilton urged, should adopt silver and gold as the nation's monetary
      substances, at an exchange-ratio representing the average
      proportionate value between the metals in the domestic free market.

      Congress should continue on "the track marked out" under the Articles
      of Confederation and the Constitution by employing the "dollar" as the
      "money-unit, " or "money of account" - a silver "dollar" derived
      directly from the Spanish milled dollar, and a new gold coin
      containing a silver-"dollar' s" worth of gold. The government should
      provide "free coinage" of both silver and gold for the public. And it
      should guarantee the preservation of the intrinsic value of the coinage.

      Of enduring importance is Hamilton's admonition that "[t]here is
      scarcely any point, in the economy of national affairs, of greater
      moment than the uniform preservation of the intrinsic value of the
      money unit. On this the security and steady value of property
      essentially depend" Apparently, however, although Hamilton's statue
      stands before the Department of the Treasury, his words have been
      forgotten in contemporary Washington, D.C.

      (2) The Coinage Act of 1792. Little more than a year after Hamilton's
      Report, Congress enacted its principles into law. The Coinage Act of
      179243 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM> initiated a new statutory system embodying the
      constitutional principles that Hamilton had reaffirmed.

      First, Congress followed consistent American common-law tradition by
      continuing the use of silver, gold, and copper as "Money."44
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Second, it reiterated the judgment of the Continental Congress and the
      Constitution that "the money of account of the United States shall be
      expressed in dollars or units,"45 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_
      Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM> and defined the "DOLLARS OR
      UNITS" in terms of weight, as "of the value of a
      Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three
      hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of
      pure * * * silver."46 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_
      is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Recognizing that to adopt Hamilton's suggestion of a "gold dollar"
      would cause confusion and require constant governmental supervision to
      "regulate * * * Value[s],"47 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_
      Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM> Congress created no such coin,
      instead mandating the coinage of "EAGLES," "each to be of the value of
      ten dollars or units,"48 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_
      is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM> that is, of the weight of fine gold
      equivalent in the marketplace to 3,712.50 grains of fine silver.

      Following Hamilton's recommendation, though, it fixed "the
      proportional value of gold to silver in all coins which shall by law
      be current as money within the United States" at "fifteen to one,
      according to quantity in weight, of pure gold or pure silver."49
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      And it made "all the gold and silver coins * * * issued from the * * *
      mint * * * a lawful tender in all payments whatsoever, those of full
      weight according to the respective values [established in the Act],
      and those of less than full weight at values proportional to their
      respective weights."50 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_
      is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Thus, Congress did not establish a "gold dollar," or enact a "gold
      standard," as the popular misconception holds. For example, the
      Encyclopaedia Britannica erroneously reports that the "dollar * * *
      was defined in the Coinage Act of 1792 as either 24.75 gr. (troy) of
      fine gold or 371.25 gr. (troy) of fine silver."51 <http://www.fame
      org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      The Act did no such thing. It explicitly defined the "dollar" as a
      fixed weight of silver, and "regulate[d] the Value" of gold coins
      according to this standard unit (or money of account) and the market
      exchange-ratio between the two metals. Nowhere did the Act refer to a
      "gold dollar," only to various gold coins of other names that it
      valued in "dollars."52<http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_
      is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Congress also provided free coinage "for any person or persons,"53
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>
      and affixed the penalty of death for the crime of debasing the
      coinage.54 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_
      EV-002.HTM>

      Thus did the first Congress - which knew what the Constitution meant
      if any Congress ever did - rigorously apply the Constitution' s mandate:

      It determined as a fact "the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the
      same is now current," and thereby permanently fixed the constitutional
      standard of value, or "money of account," as a unit of weight
      consisting of 371.25 grains of fine silver in the form of coin.

      It coined American "dollars" as "Money," containing this intrinsic
      value of silver.

      It coined American "eagles" as "Money," containing a fixed weight of
      pure gold - and regulate[d]" their "Value" at so-many "dollars" by
      comparing their intrinsic value in (weight of) fine gold to the
      market-equivalent of silver.

      It gave both the silver and gold coins legal-tender character for
      their intrinsic values in all payments. It opened the mint to free
      coinage of the precious metals. And it outlawed debasement of the
      nation's new "Money."

      The handiwork of the statesmen who drafted and approved these measures
      is more than a merely coincidental embodiment of the traditional
      principles of Anglo-American common law, the experiences of the
      Continental Congress, and the explicit provisions of the Constitution.
      Rather, taking into account the vicissitudes of the time, the Coinage
      Act of 1792 perfectly reflects what the common law and the law under
      the Articles of Confederation had been before ratification of the
      Constitution, and what the constitutional law was
      then and remains today.55 <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_
      Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      It is a definitive interpretation, elaboration, and application of the
      Constitution - with, in some of its sections at least, a clearly
      constitutional character of its own: in particular, Sections 9
      (definition of the "dollar"), 14-15 (free coinage of silver and gold),
      16 (legal-tender character for silver and gold coins),56
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>
      and 20("dollar" identified as the "money of account").57
      <http://www.fame org/HTM/Vieira_ Edwin_What_ is_a_Dollar_ EV-002.HTM>

      Most importantly, Congress' determination of the proper weight of the
      "dollar" is, for all practical purposes today, a statement of
      constitutional law unalterable except by amendment of the Constitution
      itself. For, at the remove of almost two centuries, to check the
      accuracy of the conclusion that 371.25 grains (troy) of fine silver
      best represents an average weight of the various Spanish milled
      "dollars" in circulation in the United States in 1792 is most probably
      impossible.

      Conclusion

      In the light of this history, the present monetary provisions of the
      United States Code demonstrate that official Washington, D.C., has no
      conception of what a "dollar" really is. The reason for this
      self-imposed ignorance is obvious. By reducing the "dollar" to a
      political abstraction, the national government has empowered itself to
      engage in limitless debasement (depreciation in purchasing power) of
      the currency.

      A "dollar" that contains - and must perforce of the Constitution
      contain - 371.25 grains of fine silver cannot be reduced in value
      below the market exchange value of silver for other commodities.

      A pseudo-"dollar" that contains no fixed amount of any particular
      substance per "dollar" can be reduced in value infinitely. As
      debasement of currency amounts to a hidden tax, Congress' silent
      refusal to recognize the constitutional "dollar" amounts to the
      usurpation of an unlimited power to tax through manipulation of the
      monetary system.

      Thus, modern "money" has become a means for the total confiscation of
      private property by the government.

      More ominously, this scheme of surreptitious confiscation remains
      hidden from the vast majority of Americans, who seem blissfully
      unconcerned about the issue most important to the soundness of the
      country's monetary system: namely, the character of the monetary unit.
      One need not be overly pessimistic to predict that misuse by
      politicians of the fictional, constantly depreciating pseudo-"dollar"
      to expropriate unsuspecting citizens will continue until an economic
      crisis finally shocks an increasingly impoverished American people out
      of its slumber, and forces the people to ask the simple question:
      "What is a 'dollar'?"

      At that time, the answer will be no different from what it is today,
      and has been since 1704 - but the opportunity to use that knowledge to
      prevent a catastrophe may be long gone.

      Therefore, those few who do know what a "dollar" is, and why that
      definition is important, need to inform as many of their
      fellow-citizens as possible.

      If time has not already run out for re-education of the American
      people in this area, it is racing towards the historic exit. Under
      these circumstances, silence by the friends of sound money and honest
      government is not "golden," but potentially fatal.

      Appendix
      Excerpts from the Coinage Act of 1792
      Act of 2 April 1792, 1 Statutes at Large 246
      [246] CHAPTER XVI. - An Act establishing a Mint, and regulating the
      Coins of the United States.

      SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
      the United States of America in Congress assembled, and it is hereby
      enacted and declared, That a mint for the purpose of a national
      coinage be, and the same is established * * * .
      * * * * *
      [248] SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That there shall be from time
      to time struck and coined at the said mint, coins of gold, silver, and
      copper, of the following denominations, values and descriptions, viz.,
      EAGLES - each to be of the value of ten dollars or units, and to
      contain two hundred and forty-seven grains and four eights of a grain
      of pure, or two hundred and seventy grains of standard gold. HALF
      EAGLES - each to be of the value of five dollars, and to contain one
      hundred and twenty-three grains and six eights of a grain of pure, or
      one hundred and thirty five grains of standard
      gold.

      QUARTER EAGLES - each of be of the value of two dollars and a half
      dollar, and to contain sixty-one grains and seven eights of a grain of
      pure, or sixtyseven grains and four eights of a grain of standard
      gold. DOLLARS or UNITS - each to be of the value of a Spanish milled
      dollar as the same is now current, and to contain three hundred and
      seventy one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or
      four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver.

      HALF DOLLARS - each to be of half the value of the dollar
      or unit, and to contain one hundred and eighty-five grains and ten
      sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or two hundred and eight grains of
      standard silver.

      QUARTER DOLLAR - each to be of one fourth the value of the dollar or
      unit, and to contain ninety-two grains and thirteen sixteenth parts of
      a grain of pure, or one hundred and four grains of standard silver.

      DISMES - each to be of the value of one tenth of a dollar or unit, and
      to contain thirty-seven grains and two sixteenth parts of a grain of
      pure, or forty-one grains and two sixteenth parts of a grain of
      standard silver.

      HALF DISMES - each to be of the value of one twentieth of a dollar,
      and to contain eighteen grains and nine sixteenth parts of a grain of
      pure, or twenty grains and four fifth parts of a grain of standard
      silver.

      CENTS each to be of the value of the one hundredth part of a dollar,
      and to contain eleven penny-weights of
      copper.

      HALF CENTS - each to be of the value of half a cent, and to contain
      five penny-weights and a half penny-weight of copper.

      SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the proportional value of
      gold to silver in all coins which shall by law be current as money
      within [249] the United States, shall be as fifteen to one, according
      to quantity in weight, of pure gold or pure silver; that is to say,
      every fifteen pounds weight of pure silver shall be of equal value in
      all payments, with one pound weight of pure gold, and so in
      proportion as to any greater or less quantities of the respective
      metals.

      SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the standard for all gold
      coins of the United States shall be eleven parts fine to one part
      alloy; and accordingly that eleven parts in twelve of the entire
      weight of each of the said coins shall consist of pure gold, and the
      remaining one twelfth part of alloy; and the said alloy shall be
      composed of silver and copper, in such proportions not exceeding one
      half silver as shall be found convenient; to be regulated by the
      director of the mint, for the time being, with the approbation of the
      President of the United States, until further provision shall be made
      by law. * * *

      SEC. 13. And be it further enacted, That the standard for all silver
      coins of the United States, shall be one thousand four hundred and
      eighty-five parts fine to one hundred and seventy-nine parts alloy;
      and accordingly that one thousand four hundred and eighty-five parts
      in one thousand six hundred and sixty-four parts of the entire weight
      of each of the said coins shall consist of pure silver, and the
      remaining one hundred and seventy- nine parts of alloy; which alloy
      shall be wholly of copper.

      SEC. 14. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any
      person or persons to bring to the said mint gold and silver bullion,
      in order to their being coined; and that the bullion so brought shall
      be there assayed and coined as speedily as may be after the receipt
      thereof, and that free of expense to the person or persons by whom the
      same shall have been brought.

      And as soon as the said bullion shall have been coined, the person or
      persons by whom the same shall have been delivered, shall upon demand
      receive in lieu thereof coins of the same species of bullion which
      shall have been delivered, weight for weight, of the pure gold or pure
      silver therein contained: Provided nevertheless, That it shall be at
      the mutual option of the party or parties bringing such bullion, and
      of the director of the said mint, to make an immediate exchange of
      coins for standard bullion, with a deduction of one half per cent,
      from the weight of the pure gold, or pure silver contained in the said
      bullion, as an indemnification to the mint for the time which will
      necessarily be required for coining the said bullion, and for the
      advance which shall have been so made in coins.
      * * * * *

      [250] SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That all the gold and silver
      coins which shall have been struck at, and issued from the said mint,
      shall be a lawful tender in all payments whatsoever, those of full
      weight according to the respective values herein before described, and
      those of less than full weight at values proportional to their
      respective weights.

      SEC. 17. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the
      respective officers of the said mint, carefully and faithfully to use
      their best endeavours that all the gold and silver coins which shall
      be struck at the said mint shall be, as nearly as may be, conformable
      to the several standards and weights aforesaid

      SEC. 19. And be it further enacted, That if any of the gold or silver
      coins which shall be struck or coined at the said mint shall be
      debased or made worse as to the proportion of fine gold or fine silver
      therein contained, or shall be of less weight or value than the same
      ought to be pursuant to the directions of this act, through the
      default or with the connivance of any of the officers or persons who
      shall be employed at the said mint, for the purpose of profit or gain,
      or otherwise with a fraudulent intent, * * * every such officer or
      person who shall be guilty of any * * * of the said offenses, shall be
      deemed guilty of felony, and shall suffer death.

      SEC. 20. And be it further enacted, That the money of account of the
      United States shall be expressed in dollars or units, dismes or
      tenths, cents or hundredths, and milles or thousandths, a disme being
      the tenth part of a dollar, a cent the hundredth part of a dollar, a
      mille the thousandth part of a dollar, and that all accounts in the
      public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States
      shall be kept and had in conformity to
      this regulation.

      APPROVED, April 2, 1792.

      NOTES
      1 31 U.S.C. � 5101 (emphasis supplied). See Act of 2 April 1792, ch.
      XVI, �
      9, 1 Stat. 246, 248.

      2 31 U.S.C. � 5103.

      3 Use of the modifier "supposedly" is necessary, because not
      everything that Congress may declare by statute to be "money" may
      qualify as the "Money" Congress may "coin" or "borrow" under the
      Constitution. See U.S. Const. art.
      I, � 8, cls. 2 and 5.

      4 12 U.S.C. � 411.

      5 31 U.S.C. � 5101.

      6 See Hewitt-Donlon Catalog of United States Small Size Paper Money (M.
      Hudgeons ed., 14th ed., 1979), at 66-153.

      7 The adverb "explicitly" deserves careful attention, because no
      matter what FRNs do not state on their faces, they are required by law
      to be "redeemed in lawful money." 12 U.S.C. � 411.

      8 31 U.S.C. � 5112(a)(1-4) .

      9 31 U.S.C. � 5112(b).

      10 One half dollar equals five dimes. One half dollar equals two
      quarters.
      And one quarter equals two and one-half dimes.

      11 31 U.S.C. � 5112(a)(7-10) .

      12 Based on this set of coins, a "dollar's"-worth of coined gold is
      one-fiftieth of the weight of the "fifty dollar" gold coin ("33.931
      grams"), or 0.679 grams.

      13 31 U.S.C. � 5112(e).

      14 31 U.S.C. � 5119(a) (emphasis supplied).

      15 31 U.S.C. � 5116(a)(1).

      16 31 U.S.C. � 5116(b)(1).

      17 31 U.S.C. � 5116(b)(2).

      18 31 U.S.C. � 5119(a).

      19 E.g., 2 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United
      States (5th ed. 1891), � 1335, at 211 & n.2.

      20 See, e.g, McCulloch v. Maryland. 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316, 425-33
      (1819).

      21 L. von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (3rd rev. ed.
      1963), at 203-04, 351-52, 411. See also 1 M. Rothbard, Man, Economy,
      and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles (1970), at 237.

      22 See An Act for acertaining the rates of foreign coins in her
      Majesty's plantations in America, 1707, 6 Anne, ch. 30, � I (emphasis
      supplied in part).

      23 Cf NLRB v. Amax Coal Co., A Division of Amax, Inc., 483 U.S. 322,
      329 (1981): "Where Congress uses terms that have accumulated settled
      meaning under * * * the common law, a court must infer, unless the
      statute otherwise dictates, that Congress means to incorporate the
      established meaning of these terms."

      24 See Sumner, "The Spanish Dollar and the Colonial Shilling," 3 Amer.
      Hist. Rev. 607 (1898).

      25 Note 22, ante.

      26 4 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1777-1789 (W. Ford ed.
      1905), at 381-82; 5 id. at 725.

      27 Propositions respecting the Coinage of Gold, Silver, and Copper
      (printed folio pamphlet presented to the Continental Congress 13 May
      1785), at 4, 5.

      28 "NOTES on the Establishment of a MONEY MINT, and of a COINAGE for
      the United States," The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, Vol.
      XXI, No. 1073 (24 July 1784), in Propositions, ante note 27, at 9, 10.

      29 Id. at 11, 12.

      30 Id. at 12.

      31 28 Journals of the Continental Congress, ante note 26, at 355, 357.

      32 29 id. at 499-500.

      33 30 id. at 162-63. After ratification of the Constitution, Congress
      made a more accurate determination of the value of the dollar, setting
      it at 371.25 grains of fine silver (as described post).

      34 31 Journals of the Continental Congress, ante note 26, at 503.

      35 Hamilton's observation that it requires no "argument to prove that
      a nation ought not to suffer the value of the property of its citizens
      to fluctuate with the fluctuations of a foreign mint, or to change
      with the changes in the regulations of a foreign sovereign" should
      serve as a warning to those who rashly advocate a new "one-world"
      currency-system in which the United States would participate.

      36 2 The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States
      (J. Gales compil. 1834), Appendix, at 2059, 2060, 2061.

      37 Id. at 2061-63.

      38 Id. at 2064-65. This is the source of the (unfulfilled) modern duty
      of the Secretary of the Treasury "to maintain the equal purchasing
      power of each kind of United States currency." 31 U.S.C. � 5119(a).
      See ante, pp.
      5-7.

      39 Appendix, ante note 36, at 2066, 2068, 2069.

      40 See Act of 2 April 1792, ch. XVI, �� 14-15, 1 Stat. 246, 249-50.

      41 Appendix, ante note 36, at 2071-73.

      42 Id. at 2082.

      43 Act of 2 April 1792, ch. XVI, 1 Stat. 246. See the Appendix hereto.

      44 � 9, 1 Stat. at 248.

      45 � 20, 1 Stat. at 250.

      46 � 9, 1 Stat. at 248.

      47 See U.S. Const. art. I, � 8, cl. 5.

      48 Coinage Act of 1792, � 9, 1 Stat. at 248.

      49 � 11, 1 Stat. at 248-49.

      50 � 16, 1 Stat. at 250.

      51 Vol. 7, "Dollar" (1963 ed.) at 558.

      52 For the correct interpretation of the Act, see, e.g., A. Hepburn,
      History of Coinage and Currency in the United States and the Perennial
      Contest for Sound Money (1903), at 22.

      53 Coinage Act of 1792, �� 14-15, 1 S<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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