The government has actually asked the public for its opinion on changes coming to the $10 bill, and remarkably, it seems to be taking the suggestions to heart.
In June, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the renovation of the bill would include placing an American woman from history on paper currency for the first time. Lew is replacing Alexander Hamilton with the new figure and asked the public who they wished to be the new face of the currency.
Recommendations poured in from across the country for figures such as Harriet Tubman, Michelle Obama, Susan B. Anthony and many more. Quickly the topic began to shift, however, from which woman should be the first to grace the nation’s currency, to which dollar said woman should actually be placed on.
Lew was floored when he began to receive an overwhelming campaign for the renovation of the $20 bill instead of the $10.
Many argue Hamilton, who was the first Treasury secretary and the creator of the American financial system, deserved to remain proudly on display.
Instead of replacing Hamilton, there has been a demand for the removal of Andrew Jackson due to his extreme violence against Native Americans. His ruthless military campaigns included ordering his troops to kill the women and children of massacred tribes to ensure extermination.
Additionally, Jackson made his money from slave labor, and at the time of his death owned approximately 150 people who worked his plantation. While he brought on the “Age of the Common Man,” he made sure blacks, Native Americans and women were denied the rights possessed by working-class white men.
If any figure should be replaced, it undoubtedly should be Jackson. But Lew is now faced with a conundrum. The $10 bill needs to be revised to include new counterfeiting technology, and officials claim they cannot switch bills.
The organization Women On 20s, with the support of the National Organization for Women, has come up with a compromise that may work for everyone: Hamilton stays on the $10 bill, but the back of the dollar is redesigned to include a group of influential American women from history. Then, when the $20 bill is redesigned, the treasury will include the portrait of whichever woman America votes to honor.
Lew has continued to poll the public to determine which woman Americans want to be the first on our national currency. Currently, the top contenders are Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt. He heavily encourages all citizens to state their opinions via social media and is taking all votes into consideration.
Regardless of who is chosen, it’s exciting to see the government slowly make its way towards an inclusive tomorrow. Women deserve to be celebrated for their contributions to American society.
Though women still don’t receive equal pay and make up only 19 percent of U.S. House of Representative seats, despite accounting for over 51 percent of our country’s population, this change is a small yet significant step in the right direction.
While Lew debates how to handle the redesign of our currency, every American can lend his or her suggestions via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For once, it appears the government is actually listening to what its citizens’ want.