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New American: A Crisis of Dollars and Sense
Writing for the New American, Edwin Vieira, Jr., an attorney and noted monetary expert, traces the true history of the American Dollar:
The "dollar" bills that we routinely exchange for goods and services are not genuine constitutional dollars, but promissory notes substituting for the real thing.

Every day, millions of Americans receive and pay out what they think are "dollars." Yet, in almost every instance, they are deceiving themselves. For the "one-dollar" (picture of George Washington on its face) Federal Reserve Note (FRN) that most everyone uncritically calls a "dollar" is not a "dollar" at all. No statute of the United States has ever declared that note to be a "dollar." Neither could such a declaration ever be made. For each and every FRN, of whatever denomination, is only a "note" — a private bank's promise to pay the holder a stated number of "dollars." Self-evidently, a promise to pay some thing is not that thing itself.
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