Financial History Issue 119 (Fall 2016) - Page 10

THE TICKER  CONNEC TING TO COLLEC TIONS The $3 War of 1812 Treasury Note By Sarah Poole, Collections Manager An exceedingly rare example of US paper money in the Museum’s collection is a $3 Treasury Note issued in 1815. This note was part of five series of notes issued between 1812 and 1815 created to help fund the War of 1812. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war against Great Britain over conflicts including the British impressment of American sailors, as well as British attempts to restrict American trade and expansion in North America. Although tension between the two nations had been building for years, the United States was unprepared for war. The Army was small and the national sentiment was divided. The New England states vehemently opposed the war, undermining the effort by withholding their militias, trading with the enemy and threatening possible secession. Furthermore, the US economy lacked the strength to financially support the war. In 1811, Congress refused to renew the charter of the First Bank of the United States, the quasi-central bank established by the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in 1791. Without a national bank to facilitate funding, the Treasury had to raise funds directly. Led by the fourth Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, the United States first resorted to war loans. Congress authorized a loan of $11 million in March 1812 in anticipation of the war, to be issued as 6% bonds (known as “stock” at the time). The issue was not particularly successful, and the Treasury was forced to come up with other solutions. One such solution was to issue Treasury Notes. The first four issues between 1812 and 1814 bore 5.4% interest and totaled $40.5 million. They were denominated in $20, $100 and $1,000 notes. Congress authorized the fifth issue on February 24, 1815. Although the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814, word of the peace agreement did not reach the United States until February 1815. Congress officially proclaimed the end of the war on February 18, 1815, but the fifth issue of notes still funded the costs of the conflict. The Museum’s rare $3 Treasury Note from 1815 is currently on view in “America in Circulation: A History of US Currency Featuring the Collection of Mark Shenkman.” DEC 13 1961 The longest bull market on record, which began June 14, 1949, ends as the Dow Jones Industrial Average peaks at 734.91. 8    FINANCIAL HISTORY  |  Fall 2016  | DEC 15 1886 For the first time, total daily trading volume on the NYSE exceeds one million shares.