It makes no cents

Senior discusses controversy surrounding future changes to $10 bill

Story by Leah Crenshaw, viewpoint editor

I’m going to ask you to solve a mystery. It goes like this:

In 1914, a former president who bitterly hated banks, paper money and the general happiness of most Americans was placed on the $10 bill. Why?

This man was replaced 15 years later by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States who came here as a 15-year-old and went on to fight alongside George Washington himself for our freedom. Unfortunately, this mystery gentleman did not fade away into the obscurity of forgotten currency icons (Martha Washington 1896). This mystery gentleman instead clung on, and managed to get himself moved to the $20 bill, where he has stuck around for a rather unpleasant eighty-six years.

Until now! Or so we thought.

When an organization called Women On ‘20s formed in 2012, they pointed out something everyone already wondered. “Why is Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill?” They began a campaign to replace him with a woman, and even held elections for which famous “Founding Mother” would get the spot. Then, with more than 600,000 votes counted, they presented their idea to the president. A bill called the Women on the 20 Act was presented to Congress. Finally, this summer, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew (who owes the existence of his job to Hamilton) announced that a woman will indeed appear on a bill.

The $10 bill. Sharing space with Alexander Hamilton. So here is the mystery:

Why would anyone ever think that leaving Andrew Jackson, a literal murderer who hated anything to do with paper currency, was a good idea? This is the mystery. Why on earth would anyone do that?”

— Leah Crenshaw

Why would anyone ever choose to disrespect Alexander Hamilton, the Father of American economics and the man at least one-third responsible for the Federalist Papers? (You can thank them for the fact that we have a decently functioning government.) Why would anyone ever think that leaving Andrew Jackson, a literal murderer who hated anything to do with paper currency, was a good idea? This is the mystery. Why on earth would anyone do that?

Did I mention that Andrew Jackson mandated the Trail of Tears, literally killing nearly 4,000 people and displacing thousands more? But still. He’s definitely the right choice for the $20 bill. Absolutely. That totally makes sense, right?

And while we are asking questions, why are women only worthy of half of a bill instead of the whole thing?

Don’t misunderstand me. I do not think it is disrespectful for Alexander Hamilton to have to share with a woman. I think it is disrespectful that the Treasury Department is implying that neither Alexander Hamilton nor the unannounced woman are good enough to stand alone when Andrew Jackson apparently is.

There is still hope, however. According to the most recent announcement by Lew, the Treasury Department is still accepting ideas submitted via twitter (#TheNew10). Please, do the country a favor, and suggest someone, but also suggest replacing Jackson.