Hamilton to remain on $10 bill — for now
By Evan Lips | April 20, 2016, 16:40 EST
WASHINGTON — Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury and the man chiefly responsible for establishing a national bank, will likely remain on the $10 bill after surviving a duel with feminists aiming to replace his portrait with that of a woman.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced Wednesday that the face of African-American abolitionist and Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman will appear on the $20 bill, replacing seventh President Andrew Jackson. Last year, Lew announced that a woman would replace Hamilton on the $10 bill, creating an uproar among Hamilton aficionados.
The $10 bill is up for a redesign in order to protect against counterfeiting and was slated to be unveiled in 2020, a date that coincides with the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote. In the past Lew had cited the timing as a reason to replace Hamilton’s face on the $10 bill with a woman’s.
But in his online statement, Lew said that “the redesigned $10 note is scheduled to go into circulation next” and that Tubman will appear on the $20 bill. Lew did not state when he expects the revamped $20 to enter into circulation, but noted that he’s “directed the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to work closely with the Federal Reserve to accelerate work on the new $20 and $5 notes” — the back side of the new $5 bills “will depict the historic events that have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial” such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
A group backing the inclusion of women’s portraits on American currency, Women on 20s, responded in a prepared statement that while Lew’s decision is “an exciting one,” they will only rest “if Secretary Lew commits to issuing the new $20 bill alongside the $10 by 2020.”
The Treasury Department website, www.thenew10.treasury.gov/, which lists plans to change American currency notes that “the new $10 will celebrate the history of the women’s suffrage movement, and features images of Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul, alongside the Treasury building. The front of the new $10 will retain the portrait of Alexander Hamilton.”
According to the site, the back side of the new $20 bill will retain Jackson’s image alongside another image of the White House.
In a April 13 TIME Magazine op-ed, Women on 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone and founder Barbara Ortiz wrote that “relegating women to the back of the bill is akin to sending them to the back of the bus.”
Despite Wednesday’s announcement, the movement to replace Hamilton isn’t showing any signs of stopping. As word leaked of Lew’s plans for replacing Jackson on the $20 bill, the hashtag #TheNew10 continued to circulate:
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) April 20, 2016
— Lisa M. Maatz (@LisaMaatz) April 20, 2016
— MAKERS (@MAKERSwomen) April 20, 2016
The decision to replace Jackson with Tubman on the $20 bill appears to be enjoying broad support. Within hours of the news breaking, the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty lauded the decision in a public statement.
“Harriet Tubman was a woman of faith who was not afraid to act on her beliefs to fight for justice,” stated Kristina Arriaga, the Beckett Fund’s executive director, in the organization’s release. “Her incredible moral and physical courage is an example to all Americans, as is her willingness to act on her Christian faith. She is an icon of religious liberty.”