As an answer to consumer complaints about the size and weight, the Treasury Department ended the production of large one-cent coins all together. However, the one-cent denomination was one of the most important coins in the American currency system so the mint made sure to replace the large cent with a smaller, less hefty coin. The first version of the small-cent coin donned a flying eagle design that was previously printed illegally. After two years of circulation, the Treasury, mint and the people decided on the necessity for change. By 1859 the new design which featured a Native American, which looked more like a Caucasian woman, in a head dress was set to premier the next year. Unfortunately for both the chief engraver and the head of the mint, Longacre and Snowden respectively, their new coin debuted on the eve of the Civil War which prompted several people to hoard coins. Sure that the highly controversial copper-nickel alloy newly approved by congress would deter hoarders, the coin was released anyway. This was not the outcome however, as more nickel coins were struck and demand skyrocketed, the value of nickel escalated making the coins intrinsic value increase, which attracted hoarders. Soon, every copper-nickel denomination was as scarce as precious metal coins, and private issuers took advantage of the void by producing small bronze coins that maintained an intrinsic legality and explicitly promised “redemption in goods, services, or money.” The Treasury was so impressed by the token, they followed suit and removed copper-nickel alloy from production and replaced it with bronze. Thankfully this swap was more successful at combating hoarders and the Indian Head design continued to be stamped on bronze for the next 50 years of the series.
By 1872, nearly ten years in to the production of these bronze one-cent coins, the United Stated had begun slowly piecing itself back together after the Civil War. In fact, the Amnesty Act of 1872 finally gave all southern citizens the civil rights usually granted to U.S. citizens, save for five-hundred confederate leaders. Furthermore, the age of invention had begun as gasoline-powered engines, triple train airbrakes, wireless telegraphy, and dried milk were all patented the same year. Similar advancement was made in equality in 1872 as well. Susan B. Anthony, the head of the Woman’s Suffragette movement, casted an illegal ballot in the presidential election to prove the effect of a woman’s vote and William Still, an African-American man, published the first black authored book which detailed the ins and outs of the Underground Railroad. All of this happening in the then-short life span of the small-cent coin, proved the huge leaps that can be made in a short amount of time.