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International Bimetallism

International Bimetallism

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The word bimetallism means something concerning two metals, in conjunction or in some mutual relation to each other. In addition to this, it has come to be understood that the two metals are gold and silver; and that this conjunction, or mutual relation, is in, or through, their use as money. Beyond this, bimetallism may mean more or may mean less. In ordinary speech, if without qualification or previous explanation, it means either the system of national bimetallism, with free coinage of both metals at the legal ratio, such as existed in the United States from 1792 to 1873, in France after 1785, and in many other countries at various times; or else, and this more properly, the system of international bimetallism – again with free coinage of the metals, at a ratio common to the contracting nations – such as existed under the Latin Union between 1865 and 1873; such as has been proposed to be constituted between wider groups of nations, in successive international conferences and in a host of treatises, tracts, and public addresses.

Francis A. Walker, Ph.D., LL.D., at the time of the original publication, was President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the author of “Political Economy,” “Money,” “The Wages Question,” “Money, Trade, and Industry,” and “International Bimetallism.”