Currency Act of 1764

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The Currency Act of 1764, also known as the Seven Years War, was passed after the French and Indian War had ended. The act banned the use of paper money in all colonies. In passing this, the British government was attempting to have a greater amount of control over the individual colonies. Following is the timeline and text of the Currency Act of 1764. This was just one of a series of acts which led to greater discontent amongst the colonists.

Eventually, this discontent would lead to the American Revolution.

The Timeline of the Currency Act

  • 1751: The New England colonies issued paper money called "Bills of Credit" that assisted with military expenses, creating and fixing public works, and replacing coins. This act was legally able to cover taxes but disallowed private merchandise.
  • 1607-1763: A British policy was put in place called Salutary Neglect. This existed in the 13 colonies so colonist could breach trade laws. Designed for a remedial improvement, this policy was ultimately abandoned by England due to tensions from colonists toward the British. This caused the colonists to have to dictate themselves, disidentifying from Britain.
  • 1764: This act was implemented to control currencies, however the lack of process created chaos and inconsistency. For example, one of the mishaps included some colonists paying their interests while others got away without doing so. Ultimately, this Act disallowed any new forms of Bills of Credit which led to a scarcity of currency for trade.

    An Excerpt From the Currency Act of 1764

    "WHEREAS great quantities of paper bills of credit have been created and issued in his Majesty's colonies or plantations in America, by virtue of acts, orders, resolutions, or votes of assembly, making and declaring such bills of credit to be legal tender in payment of money: and whereas such bills of credit have greatly depreciated in their value, by means whereof debts have been discharged with a much less value than was contracted for, to the great discouragement and prejudice of the trade and commerce of his Majesty's subjects, by occasioning confusion in dealings, and lessening credit in the said colonies or plantations: for remedy whereof, may it please your most excellent Majesty, that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the King's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of September, one thousand seven hundred and sixty four, no act, order, resolution, or vote of assembly, in any of his Majesty's colonies or plantations in America, shall be made, for creating or issuing any paper bills, or bills of credit of any kind or denomination whatsoever, declaring such paper bills, or bills of credit, to be legal tender in payment of any bargains, contracts, debts, dues, or demands whatsoever; and every clause or provision which shall hereafter be inserted in any act, order, resolution, or vote of assembly, contrary to this act, shall be null and void."

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    Kelly, Martin. "Currency Act of 1764." ThoughtCo, Sep. 18, 2017, thoughtco.com/currency-act-of-1764-104858. Kelly, Martin. (2017, September 18). Currency Act of 1764. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/currency-act-of-1764-104858 Kelly, Martin. "Currency Act of 1764." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/currency-act-of-1764-104858 (accessed January 19, 2018).