The Last Female Face on U.S. Print Currency
Yesterday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman would be replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.
"We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman," Lew said. The last female face on U.S. print currency was Martha Washington, who was on the one dollar Silver Certificate in the 1890s.
The switch will be made in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Constitution's 19th Amendment. There's no word yet who the woman will be—the decision won't be made for at least a few more months. But the Department of Treasury's website offers some clues: "Democracy is the theme for the next redesigned series and the Secretary will select a woman recognized by the public who was a champion for democracy in the United States," the site states. "The person should be iconic and have made a significant contribution to—or impact on—protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded." Additionally, only deceased people can be put on U.S. currency.
According to the website, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) typically provides "advice on themes, symbols and concepts to be used on currency," but this time, the treasury is asking the general public for their input. They're using the hashtag #TheNew10 on social media to poll opinions, and will be having roundtables and town halls this summer.
If you're looking for inspiration for who the new face of the $10 bill should be, we have some recommendations, and here's what other people have been saying:
Of course, you can't please everybody: Hamilton, the first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, has been securely positioned on $10 bill since 1929 (he replaced Andrew Jackson, who was placed on the $20 bill). Although many had been campaigning to have a woman on the $20 bill, the treasury had already pegged the $10 as the next bill to be updated due to security reasons—and some people are little annoyed that the creator of the first bank of the United States is getting bumped from its currency.
And from Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the much-lauded Hamilton musical, soon to make its Broadway debut:
But there's still hope for Hamilton: According to the New10 website, Hamilton will still be honored in some way. One option is to feature him on the $2 bill.