A slang term for U.S. paper dollars. Greenbacks got their name from their color, however, in the mid-1800s, "greenback" was a negative term. During this time, the Continental Congress did not have taxing authority. As a result, the greenbacks did not have a secure financial backing and banks were reluctant to give customers the full value of the dollar.

It took half a century to get all the foreign coins and competing state currencies out of circulation, but by the early 1800s, the U.S. was ready to try the paper money experiment again. Bank notes had been in circulation for a while, but because banks issued more notes than they had coin to cover, these notes often traded at less than face value.

In the 1860s, the U.S. created over $400 million in legal tender to finance its war against itself. These were called greenbacks simply because the backs were printed in green. The government backed this currency and stated that it could be used to pay back public and private debts. The value fluctuated according to the North’s success or failure at certain stages in the war. Confederate dollars, also issued during the 1800s, followed the fate of the confederacy and were worthless by the end of the war.

Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Greenback — may refer to: * A term used for the United States dollar. * A modern (since 1914) United States Federal Reserve Note. * A United States Note, (U.S. Note) among the first national United States currencies, authorized by the Legal Tender Act of… …   Wikipedia

  • greenback — green‧back [ˈgriːnbæk] noun [countable] informal 1. an American banknote, especially a dollar note 2. the American dollar when it is traded on currency markets : • The Singapore dollar has been rising against the greenback. * * * greenback UK …   Financial and business terms

  • Greenback — Greenback, TN U.S. city in Tennessee Population (2000): 954 Housing Units (2000): 416 Land area (2000): 7.081947 sq. miles (18.342157 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.127051 sq. miles (0.329060 sq. km) Total area (2000): 7.208998 sq. miles (18.671217 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Greenback, TN — U.S. city in Tennessee Population (2000): 954 Housing Units (2000): 416 Land area (2000): 7.081947 sq. miles (18.342157 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.127051 sq. miles (0.329060 sq. km) Total area (2000): 7.208998 sq. miles (18.671217 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Greenback — Green back , n. One of the legal tender notes of the United States; a note of paper currency of the United States; first issued in 1862, and having the devices on the back printed with green ink, to prevent alterations and counterfeits. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • greenback — index money Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • greenback — U.S. dollar bill, 1862, so called from the time of their introduction; bank paper money printed in green ink had been called this since 1778 (as opposed to redbacks, etc.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • greenback — ☆ greenback [grēn′bak΄ ] n. any piece of U.S. paper money printed in green ink on the back …   English World dictionary

  • Greenback — US Dollar * * * Green|back [ gri:nbɛk ], der; [s], s [engl. greenback, aus: green = grün u. back = Rücken, Rückseite]: a) (Bankw.) amerikanische Schatzanweisung mit dem Aussehen von Banknoten mit grünem Aufdruck auf der Rückseite; b) (Jargon)… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Greenback — US Dollar Land: USA (Britische Jungferninseln, Ecuador, Mikronesien, Palau, Osttimor) Unterteilung: 100 Cent ISO 4217 Code: USD …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • greenback — UK [ˈɡriːnˌbæk] / US [ˈɡrɪnˌbæk] noun [countable] Word forms greenback : singular greenback plural greenbacks American informal a US dollar …   English dictionary

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