A Progressive Change in Currency

Matthew Schroh, Editor in Chief

No one was expecting John Lew’s surprise announcement in July, but it appeared on YouTube with a huge message. The 59-year-old Secretary of Treasury stood outside of the U.S. Treasury Building and confirmed what some had been speculating – a woman will be added to our country’s money, in the middle of the $10 bill.

Since the revival of feminism after World War II, most noticeably in the 1960s and 1970s, progressives have begged for changes like this, and it seems the change is finally coming to pass. Debate among supporters has been mostly focused on who the lucky lady should get the spot in the center of the bill.

Names thrown around for the selection have included Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founders of the feminism movement in America, Rosa Parks, a significant figure in the civil rights movement, Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who helped others escape, and Betty Friedan, a writer during the third-wave feminism movement.

Critics of the movement to get a woman on the $10 bill often bring up the fact that the man currently featured on our bill, Alexander Hamilton, virtually created the entire American economy when the country was exploring its new independence in the late eighteenth century.

Some also believe a woman shouldn’t be put on the $10 bill because unlike the Americans currently on money – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin, to name a few – there has not been an immensely influential woman in American history. Still others believe a woman on money would be fine, but to instead put her on the twenty dollar bill. The man currently on that bill – Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States – was infamous for waging war against the bank, causing an economic depression, and behaving cruelly towards Native Americans, threatening them and forcing them to walk two thousand miles off of their land to reservations, blatantly ignoring the fact that the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. These people argue that virtually any woman would better represent a good American on the twenty-dollar-bill than him.

Regardless of the final decision they make, we know that we will be seeing a different face on our money come the year 2020.