Why is Money Green?

I was taking a tour the other day of John Adam’s birthplace along with the house that John Quincy Adams lived in most of his life, and the tour guide, an American park services ranger, said that green was decided to be the color of U.S. currency, because at the time, green paint was the most expensive to mix and so indicated wealthy.

I’m inclined to trust these people since in the past I’ve found them to be very knowledgeable about their area, but since hearing this, I’ve read on the internet that U.S. currency wasn’t green until the civil war, or that green was supposed to be harder for counterfeiters to forge.

Not sure what the deal is with this, but apparently, a lot of words involving “board” come from revolutionary times. Apparently the main table of the house was just a board that could be adjusted for work as well, and so we get things like “chairman of the board” because in meetings during these times, there usually weren’t enough chairs for everyone. The chairman was assured a chair though. Also, “room and board” comes from eating off the board. There are others too.

There is also the term “bigwig” which comes from the time when men wore wigs, and when the size of one’s wig indicated social prestige. This is kind of obvious once you hear it, but I just never made the connection.

The last thing that stood out to me from this tour was this quote. King George, after trying to have John Adams captured for treason, meets with him after the war (I think Adams was now the minister to England). George says something like “now to whom do you owe your allegiance?” To which Adams responds by saying something like “I owe allegiance only to myself.” These quotes are hard to verify, but if he said that, that’s pretty sweet.


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