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Don't Mess with Alex
Sec Treas: Hamilton Is Safe

The drive to get a woman on U.S. currency will not deprive Alexander Hamilton of his one major monument, Politico reports:

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Friday pushed back at critics, — including former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke — who’ve attacked his plan to replace Alexander Hamilton with a woman on the $10 bill.

“There are a number of options of how we can resolve this,” Lew told POLITICO’s Ben White at a Morning Money event in New York Friday morning. “We’re not taking Alexander Hamilton off our currency.”

Despite Lew’s blustery denials, that is indeed more or less what was proposed before the criticism came in—Hamilton would be at best moved to the background of the new $10 to make room for an as-of-yet-undetermined woman. Aggravatingly, Hamilton seems to have been chosen more or less at random: the $10 was simply the next bill up for redesign.

At the time this news broke, Walter Russell Mead noted that:

Hamilton should keep the ten dollar bill. Not only was he our first and greatest Secretary of the Treasury, and the founder of the system of capital markets and government finance that enabled the United States to become the greatest power in the history of the world, he was of all the Founding Fathers the one who speaks most clearly to American society today. He was an immigrant who became a pillar of the American establishment, a penniless kid whose talent brought him to the top. He believed in an open society. He was the most abolitionist of the Founders, supporting New York’s society to abolish slavery in that state—even if that cost him support in other parts of the country.

If we want to make room for new figures, whether a woman or for any other consideration, there are better options.

Well, it appears America’s sense of gratitude is not exhausted yet. Protests poured in from both sides of the political spectrum and from figures from plumbers to pundits (this tribute by Michael Pettis is particularly good) seem to have made themselves heard. As Lew walks back the earlier plan, the details of the rethought redesign—if any exist—are yet to be unveiled. But it seems that, for now, Alex is safe.

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  • Nevis07

    Ehh, I’m a Jefferson fan myself.

    • rheddles

      And he is appropriately honored on the $2 bill.

  • rheddles

    If they were going to put any woman on the $10 bill, it should have been Elizabeth Schuyler.

    I do not believe the choice of the $10 bill was random. All agitation has been to put a woman on the $20 bill to replace the racist, genocidal, bloody, bloody , Democrat Andrew Jackson. But instead the Obama crowd wants to boot Alexander Hamilton. Not a coincidence.

  • http://www.librarything.com/profile/Bretzky1 Brett Champion

    Take all people off US currency and replace them with different pictures of chickens.

  • fastrackn1

    There isn’t a woman alive or dead that deserves to be on any currency.
    What a crock of crap…doesn’t society have better things to do besides worry about and even think about nonsense like this….

  • christophergreen

    Let’s put a women on the three-dollar bill. Or would that be too phony?

  • Proud Skeptic

    “We’re not taking Alexander Hamilton off our currency.”
    Notice he didn’t say that Hamilton was staying on the ten.

  • jeburke

    The thing is, there is not a single woman in US history whose achievements are even remotely on a par with any of the men whose portraits adorn our most commonly used currency and coins: not Susan Anthony, not Sojourner Truth, not Eleanor Roosevelt. This is, of course, no fault of American womenfolk who, due to laws and customs that prevailed until just a few decades ago, were not able to participate in public life on a par with men. Still, this is no reason to dump Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln orJackson in favor of this or that admirable and admired woman simply to have a woman. This is of a piece with the diversity craze. Once we have a woman, the agitation to add a Black will be irresistable (thus the search for a twofer). What next? Tecumseh on the fifty? He might have a better claim than Mrs.FDR.

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