When the United States Secret Service (USSS) was established,in 1865, its main duty was to prevent the illegal production, or counterfeiting, of money. In the 1800s, America's monetary system was very disorganized. Bills and coins were issued by each state through individual banks, which generated many types of legal currency.
The Secret Service officially went to work on July 5, 1865. William Wood, widely known for his heroism during the Civil War, served as its first chief. Wood was very successful in his first year, closing more than 200 counterfeiting plants. This success helped prove the value of the Secret Service, and in 1866 the National Headquarters was established in the Department of the Treasury building in Washington, D.C. With so many different
kinds of bills in circulation, it was easy for people to counterfeit money.
During President Lincoln's Administration, more than a third of the nation's
money was counterfeit. On the advice of Secretary of the Treasury Hugh
McCulloch, President Lincoln established a commission to stop this rapidly
growing problem that was destroying the nation's economy, and on April 14, 1865,
he created the United States Secret Service to carry out the commission's