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Preachy paper currency


A "continental" designed by Benjamin Franklin.

In 1775, the American Revolution began, and the Continental Congress started printing paper currency ("continentals") to help fund it. They asked Benjamin Franklin to design the notes. Never one to squander a potential platform for his views, Franklin emblazoned the notes with emblems and mottos intended to instill republican virtues of hard work and self-reliance. The bill above says "Mind Your Business;" his six-dollar bill had the Latin word Perseverando (“Perseverance”), while his one-dollar bill read Depressa Resurgit (“Though Crushed, it Recovers”). As both elegantly executed works of art and cleverly disguised propaganda, Franklin’s continentals were the most visually interesting paper money that America had ever seen.