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Greenback Party

bonds, paper, act and greenbacks

GREENBACK PARTY, a political party in the United States that favored an increase in the greenback or paper currency, to be ex changeable for interest paying bonds. Though commonl bearing this name, its own choice (1874-76 was Independent Party. The perity of western agriculture during the due largely to the heavy government purchases and the payability of mortgages in depreciated paper, was attributed by a large section there to the plentifulness of the paper by itself ; hence, when hard times had succeeded, it was believed that a fresh inflation of greenbacks would re produce the same conditions. The chief ob stacle to this was thought to be the eastern banking interests, which, having bought govern ment bonds in greenbacks, had obtained the act of 1869 making them payable in coin whether so specified or not ; and should have been forced to take what they gave, the more since paper was now at par and their bonds were not taxed. By 1868 the Ohio Democrats, led by George H. Pendleton, were insisting on the payment in greenbacks of all bonds not specifically payable in coin, as the 5-20's; this was called the "Ohio Idea." Western Democratic conventions placed this plank in their platforms for three or four years, but the nomination of Greeley put an end to that in 1872. The revival of greenback ism is often attributed to the silver demonetiza tion act of 1873; but in fact silver was above par at that time, the act drew no general atten tion, and but for the later fall in silver prob ably never would have done so. The real cause

was the bringingforward of the Resumption J Act, passed 14 Jan. 1875, to take effect 1879. On 25 Nov. 1874 a Greenback convention was held to protest against it, and adopted three resolutions (1) that all bank and corporation currency should be withdrawn; (2) that no currency be allowed except government paper "based on the faith and resources of the na tion? and exchangeable on demand for 3.65 per cent bonds; (3) that coin should be paid only for interest on the national debt, and for that part of the principal which promised it, Several Democratic conventions indorsed these; hut in 1876 the prospect of the hard-money Tilden being the next Presidential candidate, led the party to form an organization of its own. At a convention at Indianapolis,17 May, they nominated Peter Cooper of New York and Newton Booth of California for President and Vice-President; Booth declined, and Sam uel F. Cary of Ohio was substituted. The plat form, besides the three points above, demanded the repeal of the Resumption Act. The ticket polled 81,737 votes, over half of them in Michi gan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas. In the State elections the next year the parry polled 187,095 votes, but the main strength Continued to be in the West. The next year it was absorbed in the Greenback-Labor Party (q.v.).