Two-Dimensional Representations : Antebellum Vermont Currency

Antebellum Vermont Currency

Currency is among a country's most deliberate forms of celebration. To associate certain images with tangible value is to idealize particular aspects of a nation, and these uncirculated bills from the Commercial Bank of Burlington are perfect examples of Antebellum (pre Civil War) American ideals. Notice the woman feeding the eagle, the prosperous farmers, the burgeoning indicators of industrialization. Similarly, the people represented on the bills reflect idealized values of human forms and dress for this period. Paper money from throughout the northern US bore similar emblems of patriotic progress, often reviving classical archetypes to demonstrate America's emergence as a republican utopia in the tradition of Greece and Rome. These banknotes, produced between 1858 and 1867, represent Burlington's participation in exemplifying this national ideal.