Opinion

TSI Opinion: Silver, the American Revolution, and declaring your own Independence Day

We tend to think of the Fourth of July as a day celebrating the independence of the 13 colonies from the centralized authority of a bloated and corrupt bureaucratic British government, which was content at only allowing their people in the periphery “virtual” representation in parliament. But there is another story of this independence movement that is rarely told—that is the independence of the colonists from the banking monopoly of the Bank of England.

You see, the colonists had their own currencies called colonial script. They were paper currencies since the monetary authorities in Britain carefully controlled the outward flow of gold and silver specie (or coins) out of Britain. Thus with little circulating physical money, the British colonists in mainland North America made due with tightly controlled local fiat paper notes. It worked for them because the economy was decentralized and the populations closely interconnected.

After the French and Indian War, the first truly global conflict according to many historians, the British people were left to pay a tremendous amount of interest on their national debt. The government of Britain sought to repay the debt partially by directly taxing the colonies, a story familiar to almost any student of history. What is left out of this narrative however is their attempt to intervene in the colonial currency market by eliminating colonial script. By controlling their currency, the Bank of England could inflate away the purchasing power of the colonists while the people would be none the wiser. In fact, this was so critical in the colonies decision to declare independence, that Benjamin Franklin called it the primary reason for the American Revolution.

In his own words:

“The refusal of King George to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from clutches of the money manipulators was probably the prime cause of the revolution.” -Ben Franklin

It wasn’t a coincidence that this publication was founded under the name Silver Independent. Rather it was a direct acknowledgement of the association between human freedom and sound money. But at a time when the gold supply is controlled largely by central banks and global oligarchs who own multinational corporations, we argue that silver, which has historically been the “peoples money,” has the best chance to make individuals free and independent of a highly centralized and corrupt institutional power structure.

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