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What was the difference between soft-money and hard-money advocates?

Between the Civil War and the First World War, soft-money advocates argued that paper money should be issued that was not tied to the amount of gold in the U.S. Treasury. By the 1880s, soft-money advocates also pushed for increased silver coinage.

Hard-money advocates wanted to limit the amount of currency in circulation to the amount of gold possessed by the U.S. Treasury.



Bimetallism is a monetary standard by which the value of the monetary unit is defined as both the value of an amount of silver and the value of an amount of gold.


Why did farmers and small businessmen support the continuation of Greenbacks as national currency during the later half of the 1800s?

Greenbacks were issued as currency during the Civil War. Since Greenbacks were not backed by specie they were worth less than their value in gold (i.e. $1 in Greenbacks bought less than $1 in gold).

Farmers and small businessmen continued to advocate their use after the end of the War because it was cheaper to pay debt using Greenbacks rather than gold. Further, those who supported Greenbacks believed their use increased the price of farm products.


Many in the Republican Party opposed the continued use of Greenbacks during the 1860s and 1870s. Why?

Greenbacks were not backed by specie (gold or silver). Believing that specie-backed dollars would better hold their value, bankers, investors, and established businessmen argued against Greenbacks, contending that dollars backed by specie would better hold their value against inflation.


How did President Grant propose to handle the question of Greenbacks during the early 1870s?

Grant proposed to let the Greenbacks appreciate in value until $1 in Greenbacks was worth roughly $1 in gold, and then retire the Greenbacks with a limited amount of economic disruption. Grant proved unable to get his proposal adopted by Congress.


What did soft-money advocates term "The Crime of '73"?

"The Crime of '73" refers to the Coinage Act of 1873. Signed by President Grant, the Coinage Act ended bimetallism, placing the United States once more on the gold standard.

Farmers and small businessmen considered the Act a crime because it would increase interest rates and restrict the money supply. Instead, they supported both Greenbacks and bimetallism.


How did farmers and Northern laborers propose to bring the United States out of the economic depression that followed the Panic of 1873?

Farmers and Northern laborers wanted to increase the monetary supply by having the government print more Greenbacks and coin silver. President Grant disagreed and threatened to veto any legislation to that effect.


What caused the Panic of 1873?

The Panic of 1873 was ostensibly caused by the failure of Jay Cooke & Co. to market several million dollars worth of railroad bonds, but it had several deeper causes. These included a constriction in the monetary supply caused by the Coinage Act of 1873 and the precarious financial position of many railroads.

The Panic led to a lengthy economic depression, which lasted until 1879.


What was the Farmers' Alliance?

The Farmers' Alliance was officially a nationwide movement that thrived in the 1880s and 1890s, encompassing many regional farmers' movements such as the Grange, the Colored Farmers' National Alliance and Cooperative Union, and the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union.

The Farmers' Alliance entered politics in 1892 when it formed the backbone of the Populist Party.


What were the Ocala Demands?

In 1890, several regional farmers' alliances gathered in Ocala, Florida, where they drafted the Ocala Demands. In part, the Demands advocated:

increased federal regulation of the railroads
an income tax
lower tariffs
silver currency
a federally regulated banking system
The Ocala Demands were incorporated into the Omaha Platform, the founding document of the Populist Party.


In 1893, historian Frederick Jackson Turner published his essay The Frontier in American History. What did Turner argue?

Turner argued that America's success was due to the American Frontier.

As Americans moved west, each succeeding generation discarded elements of European political and social culture which were no longer valuable, such as established churches and a small group of landowners; becoming instead individualistic, independent, and less tolerant of hierarchy.