Hands Off Hamilton

 

shutterstock_43324921They’re coming for our money. Ok, that’s nothing new, but this time, the Obama Administration is coming for our $10 bills – the notes graced by the image of Alexander Hamilton. True to the identity politics of the Democratic Party, the Obama Treasury Department has announced that some worthy female will replace Hamilton on the currency.

The sheer arrogance, ignorance, and stupidity of this move are difficult to capture in one column.

Let’s start with stupidity. If there’s one figure whose face arguably does not deserve to adorn the currency, it’s the man on the $20 dollar bill, not the $10. That is Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States, adamant opponent of paper currency (!), friend of slave power, and scourge of Native Americans. Who can forget that when the Cherokee appealed their treatment by the state of Georgia to the Supreme Court, and won, that President Jackson refused to enforce the law? Jackson pushed for and signed the Indian Removal Act, which led directly to the forced deportation of nearly 17,000 Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee, and others – known as the Trail of Tears. He was fiercely opposed in this by his predecessor, John Quincy Adams, who took the view (in case you’re tempted to argue that Jackson was only doing what was possible at the time) that Indians should be paid for their land if they wished to sell, and that they should be given the protections of the U.S. Constitution.

There was actually a little boomlet to replace Jackson on the $20 bill. Alas, like so much in our era, it wasn’t so much about consigning the flawed Jackson to much-deserved obscurity as about putting a woman’s face on the bill. The “Women on 20s” campaign ginned up some signatures and apparently attracted the approval of the president. But according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the $10 is up for a security redesign, so, what the heck. Hamilton who?

Here’s the arrogance: The Treasury Department is downgrading Hamilton, without whom there might not be a United States currency, just because they yearn to check a “diversity” box, and without consulting the American people. Hamilton was a poor kid from the West Indies who immigrated to New York, joined the patriot army at age 17 or 18 and organized an artillery company, became an aide to General George Washington, authored more than half of the Federalist Papers, and served as first Treasury Secretary of the United States where he structured the finances of our infant republic so that we didn’t drown in debt. He was also a fierce opponent of slavery.

Hamilton belongs in the pantheon of American heroes. Though we’re currently in a fad for the founders – countless successful biographies of Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson have been published and relished over the past couple of decades – our debt to those extraordinary men is bottomless. Besides, only a tiny fraction of the public buys books. Meanwhile, the AP American history exam is being hijacked by progressives to downgrade the greatness of the founders. Hamilton deserves far more than a place on the $10 bill – and he certainly deserves no less.

Finally, ignorance. Senator Jeanne Shaheen gushes that putting a female on the $10 will tell “young girls across this country . . . that they too can grow up and do something great for their country.” This is tiresome. Girls and women are doing great in America. Girls graduate from high school at higher rates than boys. They attend and graduate from college at significantly higher rates. U.S. Census Bureau data show that in 2012, 71 percent of female high school graduates went on to college, compared to 61 percent of young men. While men’s wages have stagnated for three decades, women’s have been rising. Women outnumber men in the workforce, even in professional, managerial, and technical occupations. [Source: “Wayward Sons,” a Third Way report] So, please, spare us the patronizing “female role model” nonsense.

Here’s the solution: Upgrade the security features on the $10, but keep Hamilton in his spot. Dump Jackson from the $20 and hold an essay competition among American high school seniors for his replacement. It would be a great exercise in the appreciation of excellence. Both sexes may be nominated. There are many American women who could be chosen – Emily Dickinson, Harriett Tubman, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Susan B. Anthony? But by announcing in advance that you’re choosing a woman, you’ve guaranteed that the honor will be downgraded to the “best woman” rather than the best candidate. In short, you’d be echoing the Hillary Clinton campaign.

There are 40 comments.

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  1. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OmegaPaladin

    This essay expresses all of my thoughts on the matter.

    If only there was a like feature for conversation starters.

    • #1
  2. coffee2 Member
    coffee2
    @coffee2

    Isn’t it fortuitous that all this fuss will be happening as Hillary runs for president?

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I agree that Hamilton belongs in the “pantheon” of American founders.  Washington-Franklin-Adams-Jefferson-Hamilton-Lincoln.  Adams has received short shrift, and deserves better.

    I have enjoyed recent changes in the coinage, such as the US Presidents series on the $1 coin, and the state quarters series.

    On another post today, Ricochetti Jeffery Shepherd suggested taking Jackson off the $20, and putting on a variety of others — Harriet Tubman, MLK, Chief Joseph, Edison, Edward Teller, and Souza were his ideas.

    I like this idea quite a bit.  The $20 is used far more often than the $10, and they could use a different portrait each year.

    The other candidate for substitution is Grant on the $50, but $50s are pretty rare.  We ought to put Adams on the $50.

    • #3
  4. Johnny Dubya Member
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    In fact, when I heard something about an idea to replace a face, I assumed it was Jackson who would be given the heave-ho.

    My vote for the new face on the 20: Lafayette.

    • #4
  5. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Agree on all points. Well said.

    • #5
  6. Nick Stuart Member
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Clearly the times demand that DWM Hamilton be replaced by a woman of color. An anonymous source has leaked what may be the design:

    10Glozell

    • #6
  7. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Mona Charen: But by announcing in advance that you’re choosing a woman, you’ve guaranteed that the honor will be downgraded to the “best woman” rather than the best candidate.

    Then we will go from “That will cost a Sawbuck” to “That will cost you a Token”.

    • #7
  8. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Nick, please don’t do things like that. I mean it, dude. Take it from the guy who manipulated them into getting rid of the photo carousel. Fun is good, ugly is offensive.

    • #8
  9. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Whew, now that there’s enough of a spacer to hide that thing I can comment.

    What I wanted to say: The only way I’m down with taking Alex Hamilton off the 10-spot is if they replace him with Aaron Burr.

    • #9
  10. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    I like celebrating deserving women as public icons, perhaps Grace Hopper or Clara Barton, along with deserving men such as Dr. Jonas Salk. Role models are important for children, and we should encourage would be software programmers, nurses, and disease conquerors.

    As for Hamilton, he was always be this city boy’s favorite founder. It’s annoying to see him shot down. Again.

    But he’d be the first to tell you that ten bucks isn’t worth much anymore, and that paper money is well on its way to legacy status. He’d probably want out of there before the tenner is reduced in status to car wash tips.

    I hope Apple, Chase, Google, or Visa will emboss his image on whatever virtual doo-dad replaces paper cash.

    • #10
  11. LilyBart Member
    LilyBart
    @LilyBart

    But by announcing in advance that you’re choosing a woman, you’ve guaranteed that the honor will be downgraded to the “best woman” rather than the best candidate.

    Oh, Mona, I must warn you that this kind of statement is now considered a ‘micro-aggression’

    (per UCLA Diversity Committee)

    • #11
  12. LilyBart Member
    LilyBart
    @LilyBart

    It is shameful to trade a true American hero for a ‘woman-to-be-named-later’.

    It might be different if there was an American woman whose major contribution to the country was just crying out to be honored, but this….is just sickening pandering.

    • #12
  13. 1967mustangman Member
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    Watch it will be Margaret Sanger.

    • #13
  14. Butters Member
    Butters
    @CommodoreBTC

    this is an academic discussion

    1. most money is already digital
    2. in a few years we will all be using Bitcoin
    • #14
  15. Julia PA Member
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    Barfly: getting rid of the photo carousel.

    Throwback Thursday. Glad the carousel is gone. :)

    • #15
  16. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    What I would propose is that we have several versions of each bill. Each set of bills would seek to commemorate an event or period in American history by depicting people integral to those periods.

    I would therefore suggest that we issue a series that celebrates the founders Washington (1$), Jefferson (5$), Adams (20$), Hamilton (10$), Franklin (100$), and Madison (50$). A series that commemorates the Civil War: Lincoln (1$), Fredrick Douglas (5$), Grant (50$), Clara Barton (10$), and Harriet Tubman (20$). Maybe a series devoted to great American authors or inventors.

    Really, there is no need to be stingy about this, we have a rich history with many worthy people deserving recognition and commemoration.

    • #16
  17. Julia PA Member
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    Valiuth:What I would propose is that we have several versions of each bill. Each set of bills would seek to commemorate an event or period in American history by depicting people integral to those periods.

    I would therefore suggest that we issue a series that celebrates the founders Washington (1$), Jefferson (5$), Adams (20$), Hamilton (10$), Franklin (100$), and Madison (50$). A series that commemorates the Civil War: Lincoln (1$), Fredrick Douglas (5$), Grant (50$), Clara Barton (10$), and Harriet Tubman (20$). Maybe a series devoted to great American authors or inventors.

    Really, there is no need to be stingy about this, we have a rich history with many worthy people deserving recognition and commemoration.

    plus, we’re always printing more money. :)

    • #17
  18. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    1967mustangman:Watch it will be Margaret Sanger.

    Ooo. You fight dirty.

    But no, that’d be too honest of them. They are anything but honest.

    • #18
  19. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Valiuth: What I would propose is that we have several versions of each bill. Each set of bills would seek to commemorate an event or period in American history by depicting people integral to those periods.

    I like it. A whole new battlefield for the culture wars, and we’ll surely come out on the losing side, but I still like it.

    • #19
  20. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    If one wished to insult Hamilton and his contribution to our nation changing the bill would make sense, if we wish to honor some other significant figure in American history however why not simply issue a new denomination? A $15 dollar bill, $65 anything.

    This move by the Treasury reeks a certain spite.

    • #20
  21. Eric Hines Member
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    It’s the ten-spot because that’s next in line for redesign.

    Still, if it’s to be a woman, I’d be down with Mary Ludwig or Sally Hemings.

    Eric Hines

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    We are a Republic. Don’t put people on the Money, Stick with other symbols of the nation.

    While we are at it, go back to naming Aircrafter Carriers after battles.

    • #22
  23. Douglas Member
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    Mona Charen:Who can forget that when the Cherokee appealed their treatment by the state of Georgia to the Supreme Court, and won, that President Jackson refused to enforce the law?

    That’s actually the one thing I liked about the guy. And I don’t mean that I liked the position that he took, but that he was one of the few Presidents that had the stones to tell John Marshall that he pulled the power of judicial review out of his rear, and that nothing in the Constitution granted SCOTUS that kind of power. IIRC correctly, Jefferson did the same thing.

    • #23
  24. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Eric Hines:It’s the ten-spot because that’s next in line for redesign.

    Ah, seizing the moment.

    Eric Hines:Still, if it’s to be a woman, I’d be down with Mary Ludwig

    An excellent choice.

    • #24
  25. Walker Member
    Walker
    @Walker

    Why stop at just a woman?  Why not transgender (Caitlyn) and trans-racial (Rachel Dolezal)? And why not allow different individuals to be on the same denomination, like our quarters that have different states on them?  I could just imagine trading them like baseball cards!  Or better yet, telling the supermarket cashier that I prefer my ten-spot change in Hamiltons, while others prefer Jenners.  Oh the fun that would be!

    • #25
  26. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @MrAmy

    I have (probably a naive) question. Who actually looks at the bill for any reason other than to verify validity and denomination?

    • #26
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Arizona Patriot:I agree that Hamilton belongs in the “pantheon” of American founders. Washington-Franklin-Adams-Jefferson-Hamilton-Lincoln. Adams has received short shrift, and deserves better.

    I have enjoyed recent changes in the coinage, such as the US Presidents series on the $1 coin, and the state quarters series.

    On another post today, Ricochetti Jeffery Shepherd suggested taking Jackson off the $20, and putting on a variety of others — Harriet Tubman, MLK, Chief Joseph, Edison, Edward Teller, and Souza were his ideas.

    I like this idea quite a bit. The $20 is used far more often than the $10, and they could use a different portrait each year.

    The other candidate for substitution is Grant on the $50, but $50s are pretty rare. We ought to put Adams on the $50.

    I say quit screwing with our money.  We don’t need 75 different quarters, and a new one issued every six weeks.  And we sure don’t need to change the $10.

    • #27
  28. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    This is going to be a source of problems because we will never be able to achieve the correct balance of womyn, blacks, Irish, Asian, Indians and non whites to make people happy. We need to just take all persons, buildings, animals, flags, references to religion off the money and just have numbers.

    • #28
  29. Matty Van Member
    Matty Van
    @MattyVan

    Me too, Mona. Hamilton is one of my favorite founders. As a person. But as political philosopher? Fraid not. In fact, he could be called the king of paper/fiat money. So he certainly deserves a place of honor on a bill.

    Jackson, on the other hand, was the slayer of (as he called it) the Monster of central banking. Highly ironic that he, too, has his face on a bill. It’s probably for propaganda purposes. Use the face of the Slayer to legitimize the Monster (which is now sadly risen from the dead) . Jackson would be extremely happy to have his face replaced by someone more appropriate to a leviathan government. If any bill needs changing, it’s the twenty.

    • #29
  30. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    I may be a Jacksonian but I agree with Mona: Hamilton deserves his  place on the $10 bill.

    • #30

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