For the first time in over a century, a female portrait will appear on U.S. paper currency.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday (June 17) that a newly redesigned $10 note will feature a woman. The new $10 bill is expected to be unveiled in 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
“America’s currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for. Our paper bills — and the images of great American leaders and symbols they depict — have long been a way for us to honor our past and express our values,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement. “We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I’m proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.”
Lew also confirmed plans to launch a massive campaign to generate ideas from the public for the new bill by asking the public to share symbols, designs and ideas for what the democracy means to them.
Information can be shared using #TheNew10 on social media or through The New 10 website.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the first and last woman to have a portrait on paper currency was Martha Washington, who appeared on the $1 Silver Certificate of 1886, 1891 and 1896.
But the main push behind revamping the $10 bill is actually to address current and potential counterfeiting threats, rather than featuring the portrait of a woman, the Treasury Department confirmed.
Although, the biggest issue some are having with the announcement revolves around the decision to replace Alexander Hamilton, when there is some controversy surrounding Andrew Jackson, who remains on the $20 bill.
The Women on 20s campaign, which launched earlier this year, pushed heavily to have a woman replace Jackson on the $20 bill by 2020. The group cited Jackson’s involvement in the passage of legislation leading to the Trail of Tears —the mass relocation of Native Americans which resulted in the deaths of thousands from exposure, disease and starvation during the westward migration — along with his fierce opposition to the central banking system and paper currency altogether as reasons he should be booted from the bill.
Back in May, the group conducted a 10-week poll to find which woman people wanted most on the bill, later announcing Harriet Tubman as America’s top choice.
And while, for now, Jackson appears to be staying put on the $20 bill, Susan Ades Stone, executive director of Women on 20s, was still pleased with the news of a woman soon ending up on the $10 bill.
“It’s been our goal from the beginning to see the face of a woman on our paper currency,” Stone told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “So naturally I’m excited to hear that our mission will be accomplished.”
But Hamilton’s face won’t be gone too soon. The Treasury Department is currently exploring various options, including having two images on the new bill or separate bills for Hamilton and the new woman-to-be. A final selection is expected to be announced later this year.
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