Fourth Coinage Act

The Fourth Coinage Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 1873 and embraced the gold standard and de-monetized silver. Western mining interests and others who wanted silver in circulation labeled this measure the "Crime of '73". For about five years, gold was the only metallic standard in the United States.

The act (H. R. 2934) also placed the United States Mint within the United States Department of the Treasury, and specified four United States mints at Philadelphia, San Francisco, Carson City, and Denver, and two assay-offices at New York and Boise City, Idaho.

H. R. 2934 was a very lengthy bill written in 67 sections which filled 35 pages in the House Journal on May 27, 1872. When presented to President Grant, he promptly signed it into law on February 12, 1873.

Reactions

Western miners and others such as farmers called this act the "Crime of '73".

As countries go off the silver standard (or bimetallic standard) there becomes an increased supply of silver, this coupled with the fact that more silver is being found, the world silver-to-gold supply-demand ratio was rising (it would reach 40:1 by 1908). The U.S. Government was being hurt economically to help out the silver miners.

Those who didn’t switch to gold before the change were left with devalued money. The bankers in New York, and elsewhere, knew that the policy change was coming, and switched.

The U.S. Government finally caved to the pressure from the western states (anything west of the Appalachian Mountains was a western state in 1878) and agreed to the Bland-Allison Act of 1878 (this would eventually be replaced by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890). The Bland-Allison Act (Richard P. Bland (Democrat of Missouri) and William Allison (Republican of Iowa)) set the new free coinage ratio at 16 : 1, and allowed the U.S. Treasury to purchase between $2 and 4 million of silver per month.

Supposed Involvement of The Bank of England

Free Silver supporters often claimed that there was involvement by the British in the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873. Most often they claimed it was Englishman Ernest Seyd who came to the United States to secure passage of the measure through means of bribe. In February of 1874, Seyd divulged his involvement to a friend at a dinner, and he was sworn to secrecy until after Seyd's death. Upon Seyd's death, the man signed a sworn affidavit of what Seyd told him:
Insert the text of the quote here, without quotation marks.


In addition, Bankers' Magazine of August 1878 reports:
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See also

References

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The gold standard is a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of gold.
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Silver (IPA: /ˈsɪlvə(ɹ)/) is a chemical element with the symbol Ag (Latin: argentum) and atomic number 47.
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Western United States—commonly referred to as the American West or simply The West—traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States (see geographical terminology section for further discussion of these
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Western United States—commonly referred to as the American West or simply The West—traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States (see geographical terminology section for further discussion of these
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The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 is a United States federal law enacted in response to the Fourth Coinage Act (called by opponents "the Crime of 1873") demonetizing silver. Representative Richard P.
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The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was enacted in 1890 as a United States federal law. While not authorizing the free and unlimited coinage of silver that the Free Silver supporters wanted, it increased the amount of silver the government was required to purchase every month.
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Richard Parks Bland (August 19 1835 – June 15 1899), American school teacher, lawyer, and Democratic Congressman from 1873 until 1899.

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The Specie Payment Resumption Act (January 14, 1875, ch. 15, 18 Stat. 296) provided for the redemption of United States paper currency, known colloquially as greenbacks, in gold beginning in 1879.
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The Sherman Silver Purchase Act was enacted in 1890 as a United States federal law. While not authorizing the free and unlimited coinage of silver that the Free Silver supporters wanted, it increased the amount of silver the government was required to purchase every month.
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The Bland-Allison Act of 1878 is a United States federal law enacted in response to the Fourth Coinage Act (called by opponents "the Crime of 1873") demonetizing silver. Representative Richard P.
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John Jay Knox (1828 - 1892) was an American financier, born in Knoxboro, New York. He graduated at Hamilton College in 1849 and entered the banking business.

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