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Washington State Looking to Follow Constitution and Legalize Gold and Silver

HB 2731 was dropped this week by Rep. Cary Condotta, Rep. Matt Shea, and Rep. Overstreet to legalize gold and silver as legal tender in WA St. as directed by the US Constitution.

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You mean a state leg. has read and is applying the US


sounds too good to be true

Rep. Matt Shea (one of the

Rep. Matt Shea (one of the sponsors) is a very outspoken, articulate, and strong supporter of Ron Paul, and is very active with 10th amendment issues. He's also an Iraq war veteran. Yes there are some GOOD people being elected to state legislatures, we just need more of them!

If this bill passes, it'll be

If this bill passes, it'll be a crucial step forward for sound money!

http://RonPaulHemp.com - Quality Ron Paul shirts and apparel made from hemp for the Ron Paul Revolution. Original articles and news on Ron Paul, marijuana, hemp, the 2012 GOP race, and liberty!

Doesn't go far enough

While private individuals can use anything they mutually agree upon as a medium of exchange, Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution says that states shall not make anything but gold or silver coin a tender in payment of debts. That means that any debt owed by or to the state *must* be denominated in gold or silver coin. So a truly constitutional bill would not merely allow states to use gold and silver coin as legal tender, it would require it.

Well actually technically...

The way I see it the state's don't have to make any thing a tender in payment of debts, but if they choose to they are limited to gold and silver coin. So constitutionally a state making some thing a tender in payment of debts allows debtors to discharge their debts with creditors using gold and/or silver coin. This bill does not force private individuals to accept gold and silver coin in payment of debts but it does impel the state to do so thus allowing individuals to transact in specie for taxes, fees, etc. I think the bill is trying to be nonthreatening so that it has a better chance of passing.


but it is a step in the right direction. We've been through so many giant leaps in the wrong direction lately, that I will take this. Maybe I'll move to Washington if it gets passed...

<3 Washington

We do a lot of silly things in this state of mine, but, for this bill, I'm proud to be from Washington.

Just happen to see this article Printing Money....Yahoo

No, the Fed Does NOT ‘Print Money’: Just Explain It


Yahoo! Poll......Are you as pessimistic as the Fed?

Baldwin and Woods going out to Washington State Feb 11th!!

Two rock-star speakers are heading out to that state for a February 11th NW Freedom Fest... an all day event found online at www.NWFreedomFest.org !

The website reads...

"How to Win Freedom & Influence Caucuses"... and in addition to appearances by Woods and Baldwin, features such 'shocking' affronteries as:

Guerrilla Robert’s Rules of Order - Getting down and getting dirty with what it takes to win at this year’s upcoming Washington State Republican convention.

Insiders' Guide to Washington State - Ultimate, up to the minute, late breaking news flash on how the Washington State Republican Party operates and how Conventions are won and lost.

Plus special guests, merchants & more!"


How shocking, what nerve... sounds like it is worth attending!

Tom Woods and Chuck Baldwin

Tom Woods and Chuck Baldwin for $20? Sounds like a no-miss event if near there..wow.

It is completely unbelievable

It is completely unbelievable to me, and I did study the law you know.

How is, the higher law like constitution is irrelevant and you need to write a state law to overturn some federal law to restore back the constitutional law ?

Can any sane lawyer explain me how is this even possible ?

Explain more?

The constitution says "No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts". (Article 1 Section 10) The federal government, on the other hand, has the power to "coin Money, regulate the Value thereof". (Article 1 Section 8)

I read that as saying that the federal government can coin money, and regulate the value thereof. Obviously if the federal government coins that money and regulates that value, it applies to all the states. That money is made to be a tender in payment of debts by the federal government. (And nothing is said here, by the way, about the money regulated by the federal government having to be gold or silver.)

The federal government has the authority to coin money and make it legal tender, but Article 1 Section 10 says that the states don't share that right. They can't create a competing currency, in other words EXCEPT that they can't be prevented from doing so with gold or silver.

You ask why Washington State needs to pass a state law to do this. Washington State is within their Constitutional rights to make gold and silver legal tender, but they aren't required to do so. Therefore, they need to pass a law to do so, and that's what they're trying to do here.

If I'm misreading the Constitution on these points I'd appreciate some pointers.

Woodstock, watch this video

Woodstock, watch this video by Tom Woods; he's MUCH more articulate on this very question than I could ever be:


I think you are misreading

First of all the state's are specifically forbidden from coining money and emitting bills of credit, there was absolutely no sense whatsoever that the state's would have competing gold and silver currencies, in fact that is exactly the problem they were trying to fix at the time!

If you read Thomas Jefferson's notes on coinage and the establishment of a money unit (http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=s...), you'll find that there was a problem because the states all had different definitions of how much silver or gold a "pound" was worth (originally it was appropriately defined as a troy pound of silver or 12 troy ounces but that is a whole other story...). The solution Jefferson proposes is to use the spanish milled dollar as the standard unit of account as it was known throughout the states how much silver was in a dollar and the confederation's debt was denominated in terms of this coin.

Furthermore in the seventh amendment to the constitution, part of the bill of rights, your right to a trial by jury in suits at common law is protected when the value in controversy is greater than twenty dollars. The founders weren't referring to the current value of a twenty dollar bill from a bankrupt federal reserve, they were referring to the value of twenty spanish milled dollars. You see those twenty dollars bills are actually worth far less than their face value, in fact they aren't even worth one dollar today. That's because the federal reserve doesn't pay its bills so their notes are only worth pennies on the dollar. The more bills of credit they emit the less your bank account and Federal Reserve Notes are worth in real terms.

You see there is a reason why congress is given the authority to "coin money", it is because it was quite clear at that time that money is coin. The founders new the difference between coin and credit. In fact the original proposed constitution would've given the authority to the congress "Borrow money and emit bills on the credit of the United States" but it was a hotly contested issue and the language was stricken out prior to ratification and changed to only say borrow money on the credit of the United States. Read for yourself http://www.civil-liberties.com/pages/draft.html

Keep in mind the other part of that same clause to "fix the Standard of Weights and Measures". That is because Money is a measure of value using units which are standard weights of precious metals. To coin money is to take raw precious metals and stamp them with symbols indicating their weight and purity.

Keep in mind also that the federal government is not given any authority to make any thing a tender in payment of debts, and whatever powers not vested in the federal government are to be left to the states and the people. The problem is congress has gone and illegally done exactly what state's are specifically prohibited from doing, that is they have made Federal Reserve Notes a tender in payment of debts. Your statement that "The federal government has the authority to coin money and make it legal tender" is half wrong, they have the authority to coin money no where in the constitution are they given the power to make any thing a tender in payment of debts, that power is reserved to the states or the people respectively with the restriction of course that states are only allowed to make Gold and Silver coin a tender in payment of debts.

That seems like a convoluted way to read it

If that were the right interpretation they could have said (a) that the federal govt has the power to coin money in gold and/or silver only and (b) the states can not use anything other than the money coined by the federal government in payment of debts.

But in saying that the federal government could coin money they didn't say that the coins couldn't be copper, for example. If there were such a restriction that's where you'd expect to find it written. And saying that the states can't make anything other than gold and silver a tender in payment of debts would be an odd place to put a restriction on what the federal government can use in coining money.

What I'm suggesting is a plainer and more straightforward reading. The federal government can coin money and regulate the value thereof. They could coin copper and silver money, and define the relative values, for example. And the states could use them.

The states could obviously use the coins minted by the federal government. Otherwise what's the point? But the language about gold and silver makes sense where it is written, as a restriction on the states only, because it recognizes that gold and silver, in whatever form those elements happen to be in, are a legitimate store of value.

Whether or not the federal government mints gold coins a state treasury might store gold bullion. (Note that it says gold and silver; it doesn't say gold and silver coins, just gold and silver, the metals.) So if a state uses gold from its treasury to pay a debt to another state, for example, rather than using whatever coins the federal government happens to have minted, there's no reason to prevent it. It's not an economic problem to use gold and silver that way, the way it's an economic problem to have a state issuing competing currencies or bills of credit etc.

P.S. I'm in favor of Washington State doing this, and I hope they do. I think it's obviously within their rights, as long as they stick to gold and silver (physical metal). It would be a positive step toward sound money. My comments were just about how to read the Constitution's language about money without having to turn it into something convoluted where something that on the face of it is expressed as a restriction on the states is counter-intuitively actually intended to express a restriction on the federal government.

You're misinterpreting what I said

It's not convoluted it's really simple. The fact is that nowhere in the constitution is the federal government given the authority to to make any thing a tender in payment of debts, that right is reserved to the states who are only allowed to make gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts per article I section 10. The fact that the congress can coin copper money has nothing to do with making some thing a tender in payment of debts there is no implied power for the Federal Government to make bills of credit a tender in payment of debts so the current system is illegal and unconstitutional.

As far as State's not being allowed to use copper coins, I think you are misunderstanding the nature of making something a tender of payment in debts. There is nothing preventing a state or an individual from accepting any thing in payment of debts if they so choose, so long as both parties to a given contract agree there is no need for tender laws. Making something a tender in payment of debts is to settle disputes where the parties are in disagreement. There are good reasons why you wouldn't want copper coins to be a tender in payment of debts because they are bulky and forcing someone to accept them in payment of a large debt would be problematic for obvious reasons.

And for the record it DOES say coin in the constitution please read it Article I Section 10 "No State shall...coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts". I never said this applies to the federal government, it clearly does not, but remember that the federal government only has those powers explicitly written in the constitution and there is clearly no authority to make any thing a tender in payment of debts in the document.

Furthermore there is no restriction on who coins the gold and silver other than the states of course who are not allowed to do so per Article I Section 10. at the time it was written most coins were foreign and there have been many private domestic mints that have coined money, in 1849 a private mint in California coined the first ever $1 gold coin for example.

As far as a state treasury storing bullion and paying debts to other states in bullion that is all well and good so long as no one is compelled to accept said bullion there need be no problem. The state cannot compel creditors to accept bullion, they can only constitutionally compel them to accept gold and silver coin.

What I said was that money is coin, pieces of paper with amounts of money written on them are not money. Those pieces of paper we all use as a medium of exchange are bills, debts, IOU's, i.e. promissory notes. They are not money they are a promise to pay money, only the promissor the Federal Reserve and the Treasury have defaulted on their debts and the congress has illegally declared their bills a tender in payment of debts and given them a monopoly on note issue. It is really quite clear and straightforward what is going on once you understand the difference between a dollar and a dollar bill. Nothing convoluted about it just the facts plain and simple it's the difference between coin and credit.

Trying again

You're right about the word coin in article 1 section 10. Either I wasn't reading carefully, or I had Federalist #44 open in a browser window (where the text is similar but the word "coin" is omitted). Not reading carefully either way.

So suppose Washington State wants to make American gold eagles legal tender within that state. They'd presumably want to set the value (for USD debts) based on the spot price, not the face value of $50. But can they? The states don't have the power to regulate the value of the coins, only the federal govt does. They could constitutionally make the $50 gold eagle legal tender for debts in the amount of $50, but can they make it legal tender and regulate the value of it as legal tender according to the spot price?

I've also been reading your http://whatisadollar.blogspot.com/ blog this evening. That led me to the Coinage Act of 1792, where a dollar was defined to be 371.25 grains of silver. But first, that Act in Section 16, says "And be it further enacted, that all the gold and silver coins which shall have been struck at, and issue from the said mint, shall be a lawful tender in all payments whatsoever, those of full weight according to the respective values herein before declared, and those of less than full weight at values proportional to their respective weights." http://nesara.org/files/coinage_act_1792.pdf

Which, unless I'm missing something here, makes it look like the Congress of 1792 took it for granted that they had the power to define the coins minted by the federal government to be legal tender. Subsequent acts did the same, but 1792 sets a pretty early precedent for that view.

I appreciate the discussion.

Good point

You've poked a good hole in my argument that the Federal government doesn't have the authority to make gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, I guess maybe there is an argument that this law is necessary and proper to fix a standard of weights and measures. I could still stick to my guns though as there is also the argument that could be made that the Congress overstepped their authority just as I believe they did when they established the bank of the united states and passed the alien and sedition acts around the same time.

Anyway it matters little to the current system which is clearly illegal as there can be no argument made that congress has the authority under the constitution to make promissory notes a tender in payment of debts. This was what the States were doing and it was causing problems. I know Jefferson for example lost a great deal because the emission of large amounts of bills of credit with legal tender status made it possible for tenants on his land to pay their lease payments to him in depreciating notes while his mortgage with a British bank could only be paid in specie so he was effectively robbed by the inflation. There were many cases like that so that is why state's were not allowed to emit bills of credit or make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts under the constitution.

Also notice the part about the coins that are not full weight being worth less than their face value. This is important to note because it illustrates the fact that money is measured in value by the weight of precious metals it contains. Thus the seventh amendment's reference to the value of twenty dollars is a reference to the value of a fixed weight of silver.

I also appreciate the discussion by the way thanks.

Note also the end of section 19

The penalty for debasement of the currency is death. This was a serious matter to say the least.


I don't know enough about all this stuff so I'm just stumbling around. This discussion, and your dollar blog, pushed me in some useful directions!


That's what the blog is there for! I didn't know all this stuff until Ron Paul mentioned the part about gold and silver in the constitution which spurred me to do some research on the topic. The blog is basically a collection of articles on the subject I've found as well as videos where Ron Paul has recently addressed the issue in Congressional Hearings.

Doesn't "this constitution"

Doesn't "this constitution" state:

"No State shall (... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit;) make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts".


"No State shall make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts".

States rights!!

WhooHoo!! Awesome!
I wish California would get its act together and wake up!
Good on Washington!

FINALLY. Something this Socialist State does right.

We have very little to be proud of here.

But I'm sure Queen Christine will strike it down.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

That probably depends on how

That probably depends on how much support we get behind it, so drum it up and write letters!

This is my state

I also live in Washington state we must write them and make sure this becomes law.

Stinkin' Awesome

This is great! The revolution will march on - with or without the presidency.


With VA looking to repeal its states role in the NDAA, and WA looking to legalize gold and silver, I don't know which state to move to!

VA also attempted to legalize

VA also attempted to legalize gold and silver last year, but it failed to pass. Hopefully, it will come up again this year.
I don't know why it needs to be "legalized." The Constitution already says " ...anything BUT gold and silver..."