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Alexander Hamilton and the History of the U.S. Mint

November 03, 20112463 view(s)

On September 11, 1789, George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton Secretary of Treasury. In his five years serving, he was the primary author of a number of economic policies for the Washington Administration, including The Coinage Act, which Congress passed on April 2, 1792.

The Coinage Act

The act established the U.S. Mint and regulated coinage in the United States. Construction of the U.S. Mint Building in Philadelphia was completed in the autumn of 1792, making it the first federal building erected under the United States Constitution.

The Silver Dollar

In addition to the creation of the U.S. Mint, The Coinage Act authorized the silver dollar as the American unit of money and created a decimal system for U.S. currency. With the act, Alexander Hamilton rectified much of the economic chaos that ensued from the former Confederation and provided a framework for the production of future coinage.

The first draft of The Coinage Act called for a presidential portrait on the obverse of each coin, but the final version replaced it for an image of emblematic liberty.

Resigning as the Secretary of Treasury

Hamilton resigned from his position as Secretary of Treasury after his affair with Maria Reynolds became public. He officially left office on January 31, 1795, and went back to New York where he returned to practicing law.

The Philadelphia U.S. Mint

Today, the U.S. Mint Building in Philadelphia is one of five throughout the country, each of which serves its own purpose. It's responsible for all engravings, manufacturing of coin and metal dyes and the production of circulating and commemorative coins.

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