Definitions of Money

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Definitions of Money

Richard Anthony and Chuck Reames

The Following definitions are from Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition.

Dollar: The money unit employed in the United States of the value of one hundred cents, or of any combination of coins totalling 100 cents. Page 483.

Cent: A coin of the United States, the least in value of those now minted. It is the hundredth part of a dollar. Page 224.

Notice the terms "dollar" and "cents" are not even defined! A dollar is 100 cents? But what's the definition of a cent? A cent is one hundredth (1/100) of a dollar!

Money: In usual and ordinary acceptation it means coins and paper currency used as circulating medium of exchange, and does not embrace notes, bonds, evidences of debt, or other personal or real estate. Page 1005.

Money does not embrace notes or evidences of debt. Look at the "cash" we carry around are in our pockets; it's called a "federal reserve note," which, as will be seen shortly, is an evidence of debt.

Currency: Coined money and such bank notes or other paper money as are authorized by law and do in fact circulate from hand to hand as the medium of exchange. Page 382.

Current Money: The currency of the country; whatever is intended to and does actually circulate as currency; every species of coin or currency. It is employed to describe money which passes from hand to hand, person to person, and circulates through the community, and is generally received. Money is current which is received as money in the common business transactions, and is the common medium in barter and trade. Page 383.

Legal Tender: All coins and currencies of the United States (including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations), regardless of when coined or issued, are legal tender for all debts, public and private, public charges, taxes, duties, and dues. 31 U.S.C.A. § 392. Page 897.

Fiat money: Paper currency not back by gold or silver. Page 623.

Flat money: Paper money which is not backed by gold or silver but issued by order of the government. Page 639.

Federal reserve notes: Form of currency issued by Federal Reserve Banks in the likeness of noninterest bearing promissory note payable to bearer on demand. The federal reserve note (e.g. one, five, ten, etc. dollar bill) is the most widely used paper currency. Such have replaced silver and gold certificates which were backed by silver and gold. Such reserve notes are direct obligations of the Unites States. Page 613.

And since cash is called a "dollar bill," let us define what a "bill" is. When someone gets a "bill" in the mail (such as a utility bill, phone bill, etc.), they know that it is a statement of what is owed. Likewise, a dollar bill is a statement of what is owed. It is a direct obligation of the United States. Under the definition of "bill," we see the following definitions, all of which pertain to federal reserve notes:

Bill of credit: A bill or promissary note issued by the government, upon its faith and credit, designed to circulate in the community as money. See Federal reserve notes. Page 164.

A federal reserve note is synonymous with a promissary note...a promise to pay something that's owed.

Commercial transactions: As a verb, as generally and customarily used in commercial transactions, "bill" is synonymous with "charge" or "invoice." Page 164.

Bill payable: In a merchant's accounts, all bills which he has accepted, and promissory notes which he has made, are called "bills payable," and are entered in a ledger account under that name, and recorded in a book bearing the same title. Page 164.

Commercial paper: A promissory obligation for the payment of money. Page 164.

Bill of debt: An ancient term including promissory notes and bonds for the payment of money. Page 165.

Here are some quotes that evidence that Federal Reserve Notes are not dollars.

“Federal Reserve Notes are not dollars.” Russell L. Munk, Assistant General Counsel, Department of the Treasury, February 18, 1977.
“The term 'dollars' likewise is incorrect, which, according to constitutional definition, are monetary units, used in exchange, backed by gold and silver. Our present day fiat issues are supported by more printed paper of the same; therefore, they are correctly termed Federal Reserve Notes (FRN), not dollars. Robert P. Vichas, Handbook of Financial Mathematics, Formulas, and Tables (1979), p. 420.
"Promise to pay does not equal payment." Christensen v. Beebe (1907), 91 P. 129.

And here are some court cases:

“Federal Reserve Bank notes, and other notes constituting a part of common currency of country, are recognized as good tender for money, unless specially objected to.” MacLeod v. Hoover (1925), 159 La. 244, 105 S. 305.
“There is a distinction between a debt discharged and one paid. When discharged, the debt still exists, though divested of its character as a legal obligation during the operation of the discharge.” Stanek v. White (1927), 172 Minn. 390, 215 N.W. 781.
“What is a dollar? It's just something artificial we throw out there. What you're doing is you're fooling people into thinking they have purchasing power, when in fact they do not.” Denis Karnofsky, Chief Economic Advisor, St. Louis, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank (June 10, 1978).

And how about coins? Are coins money? Well, here is a definition of a "dollar" and a "cent" from Webster's Dictionary of 1828:

Dollar: A silver coin of Spain and of the United States, of the value of one hundred cents, or four shillings and sixpence sterling.

Cent: In the United States of America, a copper coin whose value is the hundredth part of a dollar.

So, dollars and coins used to be a certain weight in silver, before 1964. However, since 1964, we no longer have silver coins, but a mixture of many different pieces of metals. Is this considered "money" today?

Token-money: A conventional medium of exchange consisting of pieces of metal, fashioned in the shape and size of coins, and circulating among private persons, by consent, at a certain value. No longer permitted or recognized as money. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, Page 1487.

Notice that today's so-called coins are "in the shape and size of coins" but are not coins themselves. And they have a "certain value," but not a fixed value. Let's compare this to what a "coin" actually is from the same law dictionary:

Coin: Pieces of gold, silver, or other metal, fashioned into a prescribed shape, weight, and degree of fineness, and stamped, by authority of the government, with certain marks and devices, and put into circulation as money at a fixed value. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, Page 260.

Real coins include pieces of gold or silver, or other precious metals, which have a fineness to it, and are at a fixed value. Even a copper penny has a fixed value, because 100 copper pennies could be exchanged for a one dollar piece of gold or silver.

Ezra 8:27, "Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold."

Currently, none of the "coins" produced for circulation contain precious metals. Pennies are no longer made out of copper, and coins are no longer made out of silver or gold. They are made out of worthless pieces of metal, which have no fineness to them. The penny is composed of copper plated zinc; the nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar and dollar "coins" are made out of cupro-nickel; and the golden dollar is made out of manganese-brass.

Here are some other definitions of "dollar" for the reader's further edification:

Ballentines Law Dictionary, Third Edition:

Dollar. The legal currency of the United States; State v Downs, 148 Ind 324, 327; the unit of money consisting of one hundred cents. The aggregate of specific coins which add up to one dollar. 36 Am J First Money § 8. In the absence of qualifying words, it cannot mean promissory notes, bonds, or other evidences of debt. 36 AM J First Money § 8.

Ballentines Law Dictionary, Second Edition:

Dollar (dol'ar). “There is no ambiguity about the word 'dollar'.” If any word has a settled meaning at law, and in the courts, it is this. It can only mean the legal currency of the United States, not dollars vested in lands. A dollar is the volume of money, and is by law made a money unit value of the value of one hundred cents. See State v. Downs, 148 Ind. 324, 327.

Black's Law Dictionary, Seventh & Eight Editions:

Dollar.   (no definition)

Money.   1. The medium of echange authorized or adopted by a government as part of its currency <coins and currency are money>. UCC 1-201(24). 2. Assests that can be easily coverted to cash <demand deposits aremoney>. 3. Capital that is invested or traded as as commodity <the money Market> 4. (pl.) Funds; sums of money <investment moneys>.

[Ed. Note: Also curiously missing is the term "United States".]

Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition:

Dollar. The money unit employed in the United States of the value of one hundred cents, or any combination of coins totalling one hundred cents.

Cent. A coin of the United States, the least in value of those now minted. It is the hundredth part of a dollar.

Black's Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition:

Dollar. The money unit employed in the United States of the value of one hundred cents, or any combination of coins totalling one hundred cents.

Black's Law Dictionary, Fourth Edition Revised:

Dollar. The unit employed in the United States in calculating money values. It is of the value of 100 cents. People v. Alba, 46 Cal.App.2d 859, 117 P.2d 63. Money or currency issued by lawful authority and intended to pass and circulated as such. Neufield v. United States, 118 f,2d 375, 387, 73 App.D.C. 174.

Black's Law Dictionary, Fourth Edition:

Dollar. The unit employed in the United States in calculating money values. It is coined both in gold and silver, and is of the value of one hundred cents. People v. Alba 46 Cal.App.2d 859, 117 P.2d 63. Money or currency issued by lawful authority and intended to pass and circulated as such. Neufield v. United States, 118 f,2d 375, 387, 73 App.D.C. 174. The dollar of nine-tenths fine consisting of the weight determined under the 31 U.S.C.A. § 321, shall be the standard unit of value, and all forms of money issued or coined shall be maintained at a parity of value with this standard. 31 U.S.C.A. § 314.

Black's Law Dictionary, Third Edition:

Dollar. The unit employed in the United States in calculating money values. It is coined both in gold and silver, and is of the value of one hundred cents. Thompson v. State, 90 Rex. Cr. R. 125, 234 S.W. 406, 408.

Black's Law Dictionary, First Edition:

Dollar. The unit employed in the United States in calculating money values. It is coined both in gold and silver, and is of the value of one hundred cents.

Cent. A coin of the United States, the least in value of those now minted. It is the hundredth part of a dollar. Its weight is 72 gr., and it is composed of copper and nickel in the ratio of 88 to 12 (88:12).

Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition:

Dollar, money. A silver coin of the United States of the value of one hundred cents, or tenth part of an eagle.

2. It weighs four hundred and twelve and a half grains. Of one thousand parts, nine hundred are of pure silver and one hundred of alloy. Act of January 18, 1837, ss. 8 & 9, 4 Sharsw. Cont. of Story's L. U. S. 2523, 4; Wright, R. 162.

3. In all computations at the custom-house, the specie dollar of Sweden and Norway shall be estimated at one hundred and six cents. The specie dollar of Denmark, at one hundred and five cents. Act of May 22, 1846.

Cent, money. A copper coin of the United States of the value of ten mills; ten of them are equal to a dime, and one hundred, to one dollar. Each cent is required to contain one hundred and sixty-eight grains. Act of January 18th, 1837, 4 Sharsw. cont. of Story's, L.U.S. 2524.


NOTICE: Richard Anthony and Chuck Reames are not affiliated with Freedom School.
NOTICE: If anything in this presentation is found to be in error a good faith effort will be made to correct it in timely fashion upon notification.
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