National Archives at Philadelphia

A Common Currency

Finding Franklin

A Common Currency

Franklin advocated the power of the Congress to, "make such general those that may relate to our general Commerce; or general Currency." As a printer, Benjamin Franklin printed money for each colony prior to the revolution and was able to see firsthand how competing currencies could impede commerce.

The Constitution did not stray from Franklin's view on currency. Article I, section 8 gives Congress the power to coin money. The Mint of the United States was established at Philadelphia by an act of Congress approved on April 2, 1792 (1 Stat. 246). The primary functions of the Philadelphia Mint included: coinage; the assaying of ores, bullion, and coins; the purchase of bullion; and the melting, refining, and casting of precious metals into bars or ingots.

Refer to CaptionAppointment of Henry Voight, January 29, 1793; National Archives Identifier 566343

To carry out these duties, President Washington appointed Henry Voigt to the post of Chief Coiner of the United States. Voigt would serve in this post until his death in 1814 and in that time would be responsible for the accuracy and quality of the nation's common currency.

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List of full citations for documents in this exhibit