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I would say all those possibilities you listed are correct. Trade could be paid in paper money, which could then be redeemed for metal and shipped home. But even in the early 1800s, trade could be conducted on credit. Of course, under normal trading conditions, credit earned from exports was credit that could then be used to pay for imports of other goods ...


At that time the trade of the United States was primarily with Britain or the Spanish main. The English trade was conducted in pounds sterling and the Spanish trade in the Spanish milled dollar. Ultimately the dollar was selected as the U.S. standard of value. The merchants themselves would have dealt primarily in bank notes, but the banks eventually would ...

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