\ɡɹˈiːnbaks], \ɡɹˈiːnbaks], \ɡ_ɹ_ˈiː_n_b_a_k_s]\
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The popular name for the legal-tender Treasury notes which the U.S. Government issued during the war. Although the right of the Government to issue "bills of credit," legal-tender notes, was disputed by many, the necessities of the Government caused the passage of an act of that effect on February 25, 1862. This authorized the issue of $150,000,000 of such notes. Acts authorizing further issues of the same amount were passed on June 11, 1862, and March 3, 1863. The legal-tender notes rapidly depreciated, the price of gold averaging 220 throughout 1864, and even on one day rising to 285. By Act of 1866 the total amount outstanding was reduced to $356,000,000 within two years. Since 1878 it has been $346,681,016.
By John Franklin Jameson
Legal tender notes. The national paper-money currency of the U.S., first issued on the breaking out of the late civil war. The backs of notes so issued by the Government, and by the national banks, are printed in green, mainly for the purpose of preventing alterations and counterfeits.-Bartlett's Americanisms.
By Henry Percy Smith