Test Your Knowledge of
Constitutional Money and Banking

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  1. In what particulars did America's monetary system derive from English law—and why does it matter critically to constitutional law?
  2. Which of the Founding Fathers was the chief designer of America's constitutional coinage system?
  3. What is a constitutional “dollar”? What is its relation to the silver Spanish milled dollar, or “piece of eight”? May a constitutional “dollar” be composed of gold, of base metals, or of paper?
  4. What was the Founding Fathers’ original intent as to the powers of Congress and the States to issue silver and gold coinage and paper currency, and to declare various media of exchange “legal tender”?
  5. From what does the familiar “dollar sign” ($) derive?
  6. What fundamental rôle does each of the following constitutional provisions play in America’s monetary and banking systems—
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 2;
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 5;
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 6;
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 18;
    Article I, Section 9, Clause 1;
    Article I, Section 9, Clause 7;
    Article I, Section 10, Clause 1; and
    the Seventh Amendment?
  7. What do the Articles of Confederation, the debates in the Federal Convention, and the Constitution reveal about whether Congress has any constitutional authority to emit paper currency?
  8. What were the names of the first United States silver and gold coins under the Constitution–and why does it matter?
  9. What was the basic flaw in America’s original “bimetallic” system of silver and gold coinage–and does the Constitution provide a method to avoid it in the future?
  10. What is the constitutional significance of the number 371¼?
  11. When was the first “gold dollar” coined?
  12. When did Congress emit the first Treasury Notes designed to circulate as a paper currency?
  13. Who first proposed the “free coinage of silver”? The “free coinage of gold”?
  14. Does the Constitution allow Congress to create a monopolistic private national bank, or a cartel of private banks such as the Federal Reserve System?
  15. Were the notes of the first or second Banks of the United States the national government’s “bills of credit”?
  16. How did the Supreme Court effectively excise from the Constitution the prohibition in Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 that “No State shall * * * emit Bills of Credit”?
  17. What is the significance of each of the following dates in the history of American money and banking: 1792, 1834, 1849, 1862, 1864, 1873, 1878, 1900, 1913, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1965, 1978?
  18. When and why did Congress emit the first paper currency with the power of a general “legal tender”?
  19. What radical doctrines of governmental power were first introduced in the Legal Tender Cases following the Civil War?
  20. Has America’s monetary system ever been based on an exclusive “gold standard”?
  21. What constitutional rôle do foreign silver and gold coins play in America’s monetary system? What rôle has Congress assigned to such coins today?
  22. What was the relationship between the people who promoted the monometallic “gold standard” in the late 1800s, and the people who promoted central banking and the Federal Reserve System in the early 1900s?
  23. Were the proponents of “free coinage of silver” in the late 1800s radical inflationists? Was “free coinage of silver” the antithesis of “sound money”?
  24. To what degree has the development of American monetary and banking policy been controlled by politicians and financiers intent on protecting and extending the practice of fractional–reserve banking?
  25. Was President Franklin D. Roosevelt legally justified in using the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to prohibit Americans from “hoarding” gold during the banking crisis of 1932–1933?
  26. Was it an accident of history or someone’s deliberate decision that the Supreme Court never heard a case challenging Roosevelt’s seizure of Americans’ gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates in 1933?
  27. Was Roosevelt's gold seizure of 1933–1934 unconstitutional?
  28. What is the relevance of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 to the Federal Reserve Act?
  29. Did Roosevelt and his New Deal Congress violate the Constitution by reducing the weight of the “gold dollar” in 1933 and 1934? If so, how? And could the devaluation have been performed in a constitutional manner?
  30. When did Congress first declare Federal Reserve Notes to be legal tender? Was this justified by the Supreme Court’s decisions on legal–tender United States Notes (the “Greenbacks”) in Knox v. Lee and Juilliard v. Greenman?
  31. Who was the Justice who supplied the crucial fifth vote to sustain Roosevelt’s prohibition of “gold clauses” in the Gold Clause Cases of 1935—and who later admitted that he had probably been wrong?
  32. The Federal Reserve System has a corporative-state structure. The corporative state is most often associated with: (a) Thomas Jefferson, (b) Henry Clay, (c) Jefferson Davis, (d) Benito Mussolini?
  33. Which two famous decisions of the Supreme Court in the mid-1930s have already in principle declared the entire Federal Reserve System unconstitutional?
  34. Who issues Federal Reserve Notes: The United States Treasury? The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on its own initiative? The twelve Federal Reserve regional banks? And under what conditions and restrictions?
  35. Which of these Presidents stood up for constitutional money: Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon?
  36. Is the Federal Reserve System primarily public or private in character–and why does it matter?
  37. What are the basic powers and functions of the main components of the Federal Reserve System–
    the Board of Governors;
    the twelve Federal Reserve regional banks;
    the Federal Open Market Committee;
    the Federal Advisory Council;
    the National and State “member banks”?
  38. In what are Federal Reserve Notes redeemable as a matter of law? Do the Treasury Department and the courts follow the law?
  39. What statute declares the “George Washington” Federal Reserve Note to be a “dollar”?
  40. Can a Federal Reserve Note that is not redeemable in silver or gold coin be constitutional? Can a Federal Reserve Note that is redeemable in silver or gold coin be constitutional?
  41. Why do the courts not allow anyone to challenge the constitutionality of the statute that includes private parties in the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee and empowers them to participate in making this country’s monetary policy?
  42. What actions should Congress or the States take with respect to fractional-reserve banking?
  43. Are constitutional “dollars” being coined today?
  44. What provision of the United States Code in effect makes the Federal Reserve System a global central bank?
  45. Are Americans required by law to use legal-tender Federal Reserve Notes and base-metallic (“clad”) coinage as their only media of exchange?
  46. What statute declares the “George Washington” Federal Reserve Note to be the standard of value and/or the unit of America’s monetary system?
  47. Does Congress have constitutional authority to replace legal-tender Federal Reserve Notes with legal-tender United States Treasury Notes?
  48. Who owns the gold in the national stockpile?
  49. Are the States constitutionally authorized to impose sales taxes on exchanges of United States silver and gold coins for Federal Reserve Notes? What position do the States and the courts take on this question?
  50. What key section of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 puts the fate of the Federal Reserve System entirely in Congress’s hands?
  51. What coinage or currency do the courts treat as the unique standard of value in America’s monetary system, and on what basis?
  52. What do the courts say about whether private individuals can reduce their taxes by using silver and gold coinage as their personal media of exchange and standards of value?
  53. What so-called “emergency” powers over money and banking invented in the 1930s remain in the present United States Code?
  54. How can constitutional coinage of silver and gold be restored, and the Federal Reserve System be disestablished, without throwing America into political, economic, and social chaos?
  55. Are the courts and the IRS authorized to declare what shall be “money” and “legal tender” for the purposes of taxpayers’ calculations and payments of income taxes?
  56. Does the Constitution provide individual States with an absolute right to put their own governments on the silver and gold coinage standard?
  57. Are silver “Liberty” and gold “American Eagle” coins constitutionally proper coinage?
  58. What was the effect on America's systems of money and banking of each of these key decisions of the Supreme Court–
    McCulloch v. Maryland
    Craig v. Missouri
    Briscoe v. Bank of Kentucky
    Veazie Bank v. Fenno
    Lane County v. Oregon
    Bronson v. Rodes
    Knox v. Lee
    Thompson v. Butler
    Juilliard v. Greenman
    Ling Su Fan v. United States
    Gold Clause Cases?
    Were these strictly constitutional decisions? If not, are Americans bound to follow them?
  59. Why is the constitutionality of America’s monetary and banking systems no longer a major political issue–and whose interests does this situation serve?
  60. If America’s present systems of money and banking are unconstitutional, can the legislators, judges, and other public officials responsible for this situation be held criminally or civilly liable?

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