He was the first in Congress to oppose the claim, which gained momentary and widespread favour in 1867, that the public debt, pledged in coin, should be paid in greenbacks.
Largely owing to friction between himself and the president, Bristow resigned his portfolio in June 1876; as secretary of the treasury he advocated the resumption of specie payments and at least a partial retirement of "greenbacks"; and he was also an advocate of civil service reform.
In Congress he was conspicuous as a Radical Republican in Reconstruction legislation, and was one of the managers selected by the House to conduct the impeachment, before the Senate, of President Johnson, opening the case and taking the most prominent part in it on his side; he exercised a marked influence over President Grant and was regarded as his spokesman in the House, and he was one of the foremost advocates of the payment in "greenbacks" of the government bonds.
In 1880 the Democrats and Greenbacks united and elected their candidate, but after 1883 Maine was strongly Republican until 1910.
But the decision in 1991 to peg the peso to the US dollar boosted confidence - investors deemed dealing in greenbacks a safer bet.