Treasury Secretary Jack Lew made the momentous announcement last June: He'll put a female face on U.S. currency for the first time in more than a century.
But he didn't say whose face it will be. Lew promised to spend some time collecting public opinion and to announce a decision by the end of 2015.
It turns out Americans had plenty to say about the matter, and which woman should share the bill with Alexander Hamilton was hardly the only point of contention.
So in December Treasury punted, saying it would delay the announcement to take more time considering "a range of options."
As a refresher, here are a few of the issues at the core of the $10 bill debate:
- Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony are among the contenders to grace the new bill.
- Some argue that Alexander Hamilton -- the nation's first treasury secretary -- shouldn't have to share top billing with anyone else.
- Others say a woman shouldn't have to share space on a bill with Hamilton -- she should have her own bill.
- Some advocate for putting a woman on the $20 instead. They point to Andrew Jackson's questionable legacy, which includes supporting the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
Despite generations of inclusion in our democracy, women have a lot of catching up to do as of today, the 95th anniversary of the date we were at long last given the right to vote. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had a golden opportunity to move things in the right direction for the 51% — by deciding finally to put an unsung female hero on our male-only paper currency. Unfortunately, he’s on the road to blowing it.
From the Huffington Post:
Excerpt: "Rios, who described it as a kind of "renaissance" that a woman will be on the $10 bill at all, said the goal of featuring a woman on currency wasn't to spark a debate about the merits of different Founding Fathers, or to pit one president against another to figure out who should be bumped. Instead, she said, the idea was to promote a conversation about notable women in American history and who deserves recognition." Read the whole story.
Is half a $10 enough? Here's what Amy Davidson of the New Yorker thinks:
Excerpt: "What would it mean to recognize Harriet Tubman with just five dollars? Maybe ask it another way: what would five dollars mean to Harriet Tubman? And what might twenty have meant instead?" Read the full story.
From The Atlantic: our money speaks volumes.
Excerpt: "As Americans select a portrait for the new ten, they are also choosing a model for twenty-first century political womanhood. By selecting a political activist, they would acknowledge the value of women in American politics. National recognition of women’s historical activism is important because a society that esteems women with political power may encourage more women to enter politics. If the new $10 bill recognizes one of the many women who made modern politics possible, it will inspire those who aim to continue to revolutionize American society." Read the whole article.