Complaints were reaching the Assembly from all over France, that business was stagnant, sales were down, people were without work, and there was a great scarcity of money.
This was quite natural, because all business slows down when the prevailing source of Authority is under question. The Bastille prison had been taken the prior year by a revolutionary crowd and all sorts of ugly things were being said about King Louis XVI and his pretty young Queen, Marie Antoinette.
But this was the “Age of Reason” and the most educated, intelligent and reasonable people in France were members of the revolutionary National Assembly, which gathered daily in Paris.
The Assembly put their highly educated heads together and came to the conclusion that a scarcity of money was quite intolerable and that the Assembly must really do something about it.
“What do we have highly educated brains for, if we can’t solve the problem of a scarcity of money? Without a doubt, Reason can overcome this problem.”
So the members of the National Assembly thought about the problem of the scarcity of money, and came up with a splendid idea: “Let us create the necessary money, and things will go swimmingly.”
Thus was born the “Assignat”. Out of the collective wisdom of the Assembly, the Assignat was born as a claim upon the vast extension of lands recently taken by the State of France, from the Catholic Church. What could be more solid than a claim upon the lovely lands of dear France?
The Assignats were soon printed up, with various denominations of monetary value in gold Francs.
At first, the Assignats circulated alongside gold coin at par value. But soon enough, the exchange value of the Assignats against gold began to fall.
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