Did you realize there is no woman pictured on U.S. paper currency? If you haven't realized that, others have, and for the first time in more than a century plans are underway to select a woman to appear on the $10 bill, the next denomation scheduled for an update. While some are pleased to see that a woman will finally be recognized, not everyone is happy. In fact, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is among those "appalled" that the founding father currently pictured on the $10 bill is being replaced.
Do you know whose image appears on that bill? The answer is Alexander Hamilton, whose portrait at right was done by well-known artist John Trumbull. Do you know the historic role Hamilton played?
|This country will never be prosperous again until Silver is reinstated...|
Hamilton was an active participant among America's Founding Fathers, but probably his most important role was serving as the 1st U.S. Treasury Secretary. Bernanke supports leaving Hamilton on the bill because in his opinion, Hamilton was "...without doubt, the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history."
Hamilton was an often-cited hero of the Progressive Movement in urging a return to bi-metalism. For a discussion of that movement, visit "The People's Party Urged Silver," at 7-15-2013 in the blog archives. In Hamilton's role as the Treasury Secretary, he submitted to the House of Representatives in 1791 his Report on the Establishment of a Mint. In forming his ideas, he looked to European economists, as well as other founding fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson and New Yorker and Pennsylvania representative to the Continental Congress, Goueurnor Morris. Although he is said to have favored the single gold standard, what he actually initiated was a bimetallic currency, and the initial bimetallism established under Hamilton is what made him a hero to the Progressives. The caption under the above political cartoon from the 1890s reads "This country will never be prosperous again until Silver is reinstated to full and unlimited coinage."
Here is my challenge to you: First, let me know with your comments (here, on face book, or by e-mail) how you feel about replacing Hamilton on the $10 bill. Second, if you favor the idea of a woman on the $10 bill, (or on a different choice of US paper currency), what woman from our American history would you prefer. I hope some of you will participate in this challenge...it will be fun to see how you feel!