Thesis Title

The Attitude of the British Government Toward Colonial Currency 1751-1775

Graduation Date

Summer 1944

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Granting Institution

Catholic University of America

Program Name

Humanities

Abstract

Colonial American history has Interested many eminent writers who have contributed much valuable material. Yet, there remain fields of colonial history to be uncovered, one of which is the money issue. A study of one phase of the subject—the attitude of Great Britain toward colonial currency—Is the objective of this thesis. The writer has purposely limited the study to the Continen­tal Colonies which later became the thirteen original United States. These colonies formed a geographical unit; they were somewhat alike in their republican political system; they spoke the English language; they had similar financial difficulties; and they often had to help each other fight the common enemies around them. Finally in 1775, these colonies united in a common cause against the mother country. The time element of the study covers the period 1751-1775, for it was during this interim that two Important money acts were legislated for the American colonies by the British Parliament. The Act of 1751 prohibited in the New England colonies the further issu­ance of paper bills of credit having a legal tender quality. The Act of 1764 extended the prohibition to all the colonies. As a re­sult of the artificial action of these British financial laws, cur­rency difficulties in the colonies became more complex. The money issue became an important question of vital interest both to the home government and to the colonial. In the latter, it divided the community into two political groups. It caused antagonism between the British Government and the colonists, the creditor and the debtor, the colonial legislature, and the royal governor. Finally, toward the end of the period it will be seen that this colonial money question, which was not only far-reaching and bitterly con­tested, was also one of the factors that separated the colonies from the mother country.

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