For the first time over a century, a woman’s face will show up on a new American $10 bill.
The Treasury Department declared Wednesday it will replace the main image of its own founder, Alexander Hamilton, on the $10 bill, with a woman as yet to be determined. Mr. Hamilton will remain on the bill in a diminished way.
The currency will be made known to the public in 2020, the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the rights to vote. The last woman to appear on a bill was Martha Washington, in the late 19th century.
Americans will have the whole summer to weigh in which one of the history’s leading women they think will have the honor to be on the $10 currency bill. There are no lists of successors, but names frequently mentioned include Eleanor Roosevelt, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, civil rights icon Rosa Parks and Wilma Mankiller, who served as the primary leader of the Cherokee Nation.
“It’s very important to be sending the signal of how important to recognize the role that women have played in our national life and in our national history for quite a while, really from the beginning,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a meeting Wednesday. “This is a symbolic representation of that, but symbols are important.”
Mr. Lew said he “will be announcing a decision later in the year. At that point we will go into production.”
The option to eclipse Mr. Hamilton, the first treasury secretary and a chief architect of the nation’s financial system, is a part of a reorganized design of the $10 bill. The Legal Tender Act of 1862 gives the Treasury Department broad powers to design U.S. money.
Displacing Mr. Hamilton isn’t the first choice for some.
A group called Women On 20s has urged President Barack Obama to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman. Organizers sent a petition to the White House last month calling for the change.
Respondents to their online poll chose Ms. Tubman for the slot.
Mr. Lew, however, said the $10 bill already was the next up for a redesign, making it the most practical vehicle for the symbolic portrait change.
Mr. Jackson may have been seen as more easily replaced. As the nation’s seventh president, he led a successful campaign to kill off the nation’s central bank and stridently argued against the dangers of a paper currency, which he said concentrated too much power in the hands of bankers.
But federal agencies in 2013 recommended starting with the $10 bill as part of a broader currency redesign that will include tactile features for the blind and visually impaired. Currency officials said they selected it because it is widely used in commerce.
”While it might not be the twenty dollar bill, make no mistake, this is a historic announcement and a big step forward,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.). “Young girls across this country will soon be able to see an inspiring woman on the ten dollar bill who helped shape our country into what is today and know that they too can grow up and do something great for their country.”
Mr. Obama raised the idea of putting a woman on American currency during an economic speech in Kansas City last July. A girl wrote him a letter asking why there wasn’t a woman on U.S. currency, he said, “which I thought was a pretty good idea.”
This Article was previously published on Yahoo Finance
Image: Kirk Clyatt (Flickr)