Spaulding, Elbridge Gerry

Spaulding, Elbridge Gerry, 1809–97, U.S. banker and politician, b. Locke (now Summer Hill), N.Y. A lawyer practicing in Buffalo, N.Y., after 1834, he gradually became a banker there and was active in local and state politics. A Whig, he served as a U.S. representative (1849–51) and as New York state treasurer (1854–55), then returned to the Congress for two terms (1859–63) as a Republican. In 1861, as the costs of the Civil War threatened the Union's banking system, he drafted the Legal Tender Act, which authorized (1862) the issuing of greenbacks (instead of bonds) as an emergency measure to pay for the war. He wrote A Resource of War … Being a Loan without Interest and a National Currency (1869).

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