The real inspiration for the United States silver dollar probably came from a Spanish coin. This Spanish coin was made out of silver, a very rare commodity at that time and the coin consist nearly an ounce of it. This gave rise to the name Spanish dollar by the American colonists, which further charioted fame to the silver coin.
First minted in the year 1794, the United States silver dollar was proposed by and voted in by the United States congress to be used as the main form of United States currency. The United States silver dollar was also duly used along side the Spanish dollar well after the American Revolutionary War ended. The United States Mint continued producing these silver dollars up to the year 1803, but the minting of the silver dollar was ceased for almost 30 years due to the shortage of the precious metal. Then in 1836, during the period of the Old American West, the silver dollar made its comeback into the American currency system and began gaining a reputation as one of the most preferred currency of that time .
The reason why the populace of the Old American West favored the silver dollar to paper currency bills is because they felt that due to the value of the precious metal at that time, the coins proved to be more valuable simply because it was made of silver, which was a very rare and expensive commodity. Because of this, the silver dollar remained amongst the major and most used United States currency until the late eighteen hundreds, coming only second to the United States gold coins, for obvious reasons, one being that gold has always been far more valuable than silver.
The United States silver dollar was also very important to the various communities of the American West, especially for the people who enjoyed going to the saloons or better known as bars today, as they could finally have a fair exchange for a drink instead of being shortchanged by the bartender, through the unspecified amount of gold dust they receive in return. Silver coins were also highly treasured by gamblers, river boat travelers, even traders, as well as by those purchasing goods from the local mercantile, as it more practical and it eases the exchange of goods for fixed amounts of money. It was said that many famous personas from the old west carry the silver dollar, characters including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Geronimo. It was also said that many rouge guns slinger of wild west would sometimes melt these silver coins and turn them into bullets!
In the Old West the silver dollar was worth far more than a dollar is today. People were able to buy shoes or other clothing items for a dollar, and it was a bargain compared to what a pair of shoes or pants cost today. A silver dollar would also buy 50 pounds of flour, 60 pounds of potato, 10 quarts of milk, five pounds of butter and two pounds of sugar. If only we enjoyed the same spending power today