This broadside advises the public that the Illinois Central Rail Road
will no longer accept Georgia or Tennessee currency in exchange for
service. In the years before the Civil War individual banks, and not
the federal government, issued currency. Americans taking part in a
market economy faced the prospect of assessing each of these currencies'
value in every transaction. For instance, a note issued by a bank usually
stated that its bearer might exchange his paper for bullion or coin
of the same value at the bank itself. But the vast majority of banks
maintained only small such reserves, making notes' value a representation
of the public's faith in them. These private notes' values often fluctuated
wildly, leading merchants and businessmen such as the Illinois Central
to reject currency they regarded as having no value. The several states
each regulated banks and their notes differently, making some states'
bank notes more reliable than others. In this instance, railroad officials
have deemed Tennessee and Georgia currency too risky to accept.