For almost 50 years, I have been doing research on the peculiar left-wing movement called the Greenback movement.
Beginning in the 1870s, the Greenback movement began agitating for the extension of fiat paper money by the federal government. It opposed the return to the gold standard. When the federal government returned to the gold standard in 1879, the Greenbackers created a political party to fight it.
Because the Greenbackers oppose the Federal Reserve System, their fiat money ideas have gotten into the conservative movement. Libertarians know better than to entrust the federal government with the right to create money, whether it is directly in charge of fiat money or whether it uses a central bank to do its work for it. But conservatives are easy marks for these people, because they are unfamiliar with basic economic theory, and some of them do not like the Federal Reserve System.
As I’ve said for over 40 years, the Greenbackers rely heavily on fake quotations to bolster their position. They have invented these quotations for a century. The quotations get picked up in book after book, written by greenback promoters who know nothing about the basics of historical research, which matches the fact that they know nothing about basic economic theory. They combine total ignorance about economic theory with ignorance about historical research. They get lots of converts, who prefer ignorance to a little hard study.
It is a small cult movement within the conservative movement. I do not expect it to go away, but I do what I can oppose it.
I have always somewhat amused by people who are followers of Abraham Lincoln, and who write to me telling me that Abraham Lincoln opposed central banking. The fact that he always promoted in public, and the fact that he told Congress in 1863 that he would accept no more greenback currency, never penetrates their minds. They are absolute disciples of Lincoln, and they are absolute disciples of fiat money. They are therefore easy prey for Greenbackers.
Recently, I wrote an article about Lincoln’s early support of a central bank. This support never wavered.
I showed how immigrant banker Paul Warburg cited Lincoln as a way to prove that Warburg’s proposed central bank was really American. He was told that citing Lincolm gains support for any idea. Lincoln is an icon. So, no matter what, cite him.
The Greenbackers have always known this. So they make up quotes, put his name on them, and publish them. This has gone on for at least 80 years.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)