Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=225443
 


 



Turning Points in the Civil War: Views from the Greenback Market


Kristen Willard


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Timothy W. Guinnane


Yale University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Harvey S. Rosen


Princeton University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

December 1995

NBER Working Paper No. w5381

Abstract:     
In early 1862, the United States government began issuing Greenbacks, a legal tender currency that was not convertible into gold. The government promised to redeem the Greenbacks in gold eventually, but speculators understood that the probability of redemption depended on Union Army military fortunes and political developments that affected the total cost of the war. To serve the speculative interest in gold, a market emerged for the purpose of trading Greenbacks for gold dollars. Because the market price of a Greenback reflected the public's perceptions of future war costs, the movement of these prices provides unique insights into how people at the time perceived various events. We use daily quotations of the gold price of Greenbacks to identify a set of dates during the Civil War that market participants regarded as turning points. In some cases, these dates coincide with events familiar from conventional historical accounts of the war. In other instances, however, market participants reacted strongly to events that historians have not viewed as very significant.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

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Date posted: June 11, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Willard, Kristen and Guinnane, Timothy W. and Rosen, Harvey S., Turning Points in the Civil War: Views from the Greenback Market (December 1995). NBER Working Paper No. w5381. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=225443

Contact Information

Kristen L. Willard Barry (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Timothy W. Guinnane
Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )
28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
(203) 432-3616 (Phone)
(203) 432-3898 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~guinnane
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
Harvey S. Rosen
Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )
001 Fisher Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany
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