Portal:North America/Selected article/20

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US Demand Notes

A Demand Note is a type of United States paper money that was issued between August 1861 and April 1862 during the American Civil War in denominations of 5, 10, and 20 dollars. Original legislation referred to the currency as "treasury notes". The term Demand Note was applied retrospectively due to the fact that the notes were redeemable on demand for gold coin. The notes were created to serve as a means of monetary exchange in place of gold and silver coins. The U.S. government used Demand Notes to pay expenses and salaries. Once the public learned the notes were redeemable in gold coin, the notes began to circulate as widely as gold and silver coins previously did.

Because of the distinctive green ink used on the reverse of all Demand Notes, the notes were nicknamed "greenbacks".The obverse of the notes contained familiar elements such as a Bald Eagle, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Hamilton; however, the portraits used on Demand Notes are different than the ones seen on U.S. currency today. After Demand Notes were discontinued, they were replaced with Legal Tender Notes. Legal Tender Notes of the time, however, were not redeemable in coin like Demand Notes, and thus Demand Notes took precedence. As a result, many more Demand Notes were redeemed and not as many notes exist today.

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