Currency Act

1764 — American Revolution

The Currency Act was an attempt by Parliament to assume control of the colonial currency system. It added to the growing list of grievances in the colonies, which eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

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Summary of the Currency Act

Colonial America suffered from a lack of hard money due to the mercantile system. Under that economic, system colonies exported relatively cheap raw materials and imported relatively expensive manufactured goods. The system was good for merchants in the mother country, but bad for the colonies because it resulted in more money leaving the colonies than coming in.

Some colonies relieved their currency problems by issuing paper money backed by anticipated tax collections or land mortgages. Paper money was popular among the working class and farmers because it put more money into circulation and stimulated the economy. Paper money was unpopular with British merchants because its value fluctuated – often downward. At the urging of those merchants, on April 19, 1764, the British Parliament passed the Currency Act. That act prohibited the colonies from printing any new paper money and stated that the paper money already in circulation was to be retired according to a prescribed timetable.

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The Currency Act greatly burdened the colonial economy, which already suffered from a shortage of hard money. It proved to be one of a continually growing list of grievances in the colonies, which eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

Currency Act — Quick Facts

Key facts and important details about the Currency Act of 1764 for kids doing research and students studying for the AP U.S. History (APUSH) exam.

  • Colonial America suffered from a lack of hard money due to the mercantile system, under which colonies exported relatively cheap raw materials and imported relatively expensive manufactured goods.
  • Some colonies relieved their lack of currency problems by issuing paper money backed by anticipated tax collections or land mortgages.
  • Paper money was popular among the working class and farmers because it put more money into circulation.
  • Paper money was unpopular with British merchants because its value fluctuated – often downward.
  • On April 19, 1764, the British Parliament enacted the Currency Act.
  • The Currency Act was an attempt by Parliament to assume control of the colonial currency system.
  • The Currency Act prohibited the colonies from printing any new paper money and stated that the paper money already in circulation was to be retired according to a prescribed timetable.
  • The Currency Act greatly burdened the colonial economy, which already suffered from a shortage of hard money.
  • The Currency Act was not repealed before the American Revolution.
  • The Currency Act was one of a continually growing list of grievances in the colonies, which eventually led to the Revolutionary War.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Currency Act
  • Coverage 1764
  • Author
  • Keywords Currency Act, American Revolution
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date October 4, 2022
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update May 5, 2022

Currency Act is Part of the Following on AHC

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