The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.5: "The Congress shall have Power … To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin…." This provision in the United States Constitution gave the Congress the responsibility to establish the coins to be used in our nation as well as their weight and value. It also gave Congress the responsibility to establish the value of foreign coins as related to the domestic coins.
According to W. Cleon Skousen, the original draft of this provision gave the federal government power to "emit bills of credit" (paper money), but the Founders didn't like that idea. "The Founders had lost confidence in paper money. During the Revolutionary War they had issued paper money on the assumption that it would be redeemed in gold or silver by the states. Then the states began issuing vast quantities of paper money and England brought over bales of American counterfeit paper money. It soon became evident to everyone that all the so-called Continental (paper) dollars couldn't possibly be redeemed by the states or anyone else. Their value therefore fell to less than a penny per dollar and people began to speak of worthless things as `not worth a Continental.'
"It was decided that the government would mint only gold and silver coins as `money'" (The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 420).
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