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Wildcat Money


WILDCAT MONEY was currency issued by wildcat banks during the nineteenth century, particularly during the period 1830–1860. Wildcat banks earned their name by locating their main offices in remote places where it would be difficult for noteholders to present notes for payment. Bankers would often start wildcat banks with specie borrowed just long enough to show the banking commissioners, leaving the banks themselves with insufficient hard money to do legitimate business. These banks created a confusion in the currency and led the secretary of the treasury, Salmon P. Chase, to demand a national bank currency.


Bray, Hammond. Banks and Politics in America, from the Revolution to the Civil War. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1957.

James D.Magee/s. b.

See alsoBanking: Bank Failures ; Financial Panics ; Money ; Specie Circular .

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