The U.S. Silver Dollar coin was authorized as the base unit of American silver coinage in the Coinage Act of 1792. This same legislation also established the U.S. Mint. The first silver dollars were minted from 1794 until 1804. After 1804, high silver prices meant that no new silver dollars would be minted until 1836, when the Gobrecht silver dollars appeared for three years. The Seated Liberty silver dollar was minted from 1840 to 1873. However, once again, rising silver prices made it impractical to continue production.
Besides the Trade Dollar, which was only allowed to be used in foreign trade (to compete with the silver Mexican Peso,) there were no silver dollars minted until the Morgan Dollar in 1878. After 1904, mintage ceased due to low demand. In 1918, 270 million Morgan Dollars were melted down. Morgan Dollars were briefly minted in 1921, until the Peace Dollar was introduced. The Peace Dollar was designed to celebrate the end of World War I, "the war to end all wars." It was the last circulating U.S. Dollar made of silver, and was minted from 1921-1928, and again from 1934 to 1935. In 1986, the United States began minting a non-circulating silver bullion and proof coin, called the Silver Eagle.