In 1792, the American Congress officially introduced the dollar currency; actual coinage began to years later. Before, fierce debates had been held in Congress as to the appearance of the new coins. There was a choice between the portrait of the then-president George Washington and the personification of freedom. On the express wish of President Washington it was decided to depict Liberty. The motif on the coins of the new democratic state thus differed from the portraits of the monarchs in the Old World. On the reverse appeared an eagle. The personification of liberty and the eagle both harked back to Roman antiquity.