Specie Circular

From Ohio History Central

In July 1836, President Andrew Jackson issued the Specie Circular. Under this act, the government would only accept gold or silver in payment for federal land. This act prevented working-class Americans from purchasing federal land in the West, including in Ohio, due to the lack of gold and silver. The principal reason for Jackson's implementation of the Specie Circular was high inflation. During the early 1830s, Jackson had attacked the Second Bank of the United States by withdrawing approximately ten million dollars in federal government funds from the bank. The president then deposited the money in state banks and privately-owned financial institutions. These banks began loaning the money to industrialists and farmers. The banks also began printing exorbitant amounts of currency. This action led to high inflation. The government did not want to accept currency that was quickly declining in value for federal land. The Specie Circular was partly responsible for the Panic of 1837. As currency depreciated, businesses, like the government had already done, demanded gold and silver in payment of debts. Unfortunately, there was not enough gold and silver available to keep the United States' economy operating efficiently.

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