February 21, 1857

On February 21, 1857, the US Congress outlawed foreign currency as legal tender in the United States. Up until that time, foreign coin (especially the Spanish dollar) was allowed as legal tender throughout America, with the metal value of the foreign coins propping up the American economy. By 1857, the US mint was finally producing enough coins to allow the phasing out of the foreign silver and gold. Even though it is over 150 years later, there are still some areas in the country that will accept foreign currency for every day purchases, even though it is technically illegal. Some examples include grocery stores in Niagara Falls, New York that have a lot of Canadian shoppers, and Brownsville, Texas, that get a lot of Mexican nationals going back and forth across the border from their homes to their jobs, as well as Roswell, New Mexico, that have a ton of Alpha Centurions dropping by for the techno-dance parties at Area 51. You just can’t expect to use the Canadian dollar or the Ruvian xentic at the Rite Aid in Baxley, Georgia. You’d get that wall-eyed look from the cashier as she slides it back to you and taps the counter as she waits for some green American money.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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