Redesigning With Women

I read that a musical has saved Alexander Hamilton’s bust on the $10 bill. President #7 will be replaced by an abolitionist on the $20.

I think we’re way overdue for an overhaul on redesigns on US paper money. My own preference is for a complete overhaul. Replace all the dead presidents (and secretaries) with a few artists (like Mary Cassatt) or writers (like Willa Cather) or activists (like Anne Hutchinson) or explorers (like Sally Ride) or founders (like Clara Barton). I get the move for political women, but maybe we’ve had our fill of politics.

Let’s wait till the 22nd century for women presidents and such on money.

I do like the notion of redesigning the bill reverses with scenes from history, like putting “I Have A Dream” on the flip side of the $5. Otherwise, Harriet Tubman smells like tokenism to me. At the very least, an overhaul of paper money reverse sides would seem a possible palatable proposal. How many Americans can name the building on the hind side of our paper presidents (and secretary).

By the way, who can recall the last president to be removed from a circulating issue coin or bill?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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9 Responses to Redesigning With Women

  1. Liam says:

    Eisenhower on the dollar coin before SBA.

  2. Liam says:

    We’re way overdue for a more major overhaul of our coinage and currency denominations. The nickel today is worth what a penny was worth in the last year of the Nixon Administration. (A dime today is worth what a penny was worth circa 1950.) Bank of America now spits out $50 bills in its ATM machines, unless you’re careful to stay under $200 in withdrawals because not everyone accepts anything higher than a $20 bill. I do wish we got rid of the penny (even the nickel – and I save both, mind you), and had $1 and $2 or $2.50 coins, and a better array of bills between $5 and $50.

    And, while we’re at it, can we have some *beautiful* coinage? It was nice to see the bison on the nickel a few years ago. We’ve had some beautiful (and not) portrayals of Liberty, and then we’ve had some fuzzy adaptations (arguably, SBA and Sacagawea can be interpreted as more personified and less-mythic avatars of (“Lady” or the goddess) Liberty.)

  3. Jim McCrea says:

    Join the rest of the world:

    Vary the size and colors of the different banknotes.

    Eliminate the $1 and $2 bills and replace them with coins.

    Follow Australia’s and New Zealand’s leads and replace paper notes with thin, flexible plastic ones, complete with holograms and other features that make counterfeiting virtually impossible.

    Get rid of pennies!

  4. FrMichael says:

    “Replace all the dead presidents…” What?

    There wouldn’t be a United States without George Washington and there wouldn’t be 50 states without Abraham Lincoln. See no reason to jettison these two, whose influence and good example dwarfs all other names being surfaced so far.

  5. Jim McCrea says:

    It never is a benefit to glorify politicians:

    Washington, like most of his contemporaries …. Including Jesuits …. owned slaves.

    “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.” (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, “Letter to Horace Greeley” (August 22, 1862), p. 388.)

    • Liam says:

      About that Lincoln letter to Greeley: it helps mightily to understand their peculiar relationship. Greeley was a classic case of a grandiose ego-ruddered self-anointed prophet who ended up becoming an obstacle to his erstwhile causes, and Lincoln spent a lot of political energy tacking around Greeley. This letter was a month before Antietam, and the world changed after that.

      Hell is a place where people are remembered for their worst selves.

      • Devin says:

        “Hell is a place where people are remembered for their worst selves.”
        Love that line.

  6. FrMichael says:

    Mr. McCrea obviously doesn’t have an effective riposte to my comment about Washington. Once again, no Washington, highly unlikely that we would have a democratic republic ruled by law. There were plenty of brains among the Founding Fathers to create such a system, but only one man among them had sufficient standing and virtue to serve, not only as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, but as the First President of the United States.

    And, of course, he freed his slaves in his will.

    Lincoln is a more complicated character, but my point stands that he kept the Union together, which in the end was the means to eradicate slavery in the 1860s, rather than waiting for its eventual natural demise in the late 19th or (horrors) 20th century.

    • Liam says:

      The thesis that slavery would have abated naturally without force in the USA has come under severe credibility strain with scholars of late, who have demonstrated that the enslavement system in the USA had became a modern, industrial (in mentality) and capitalistic market component. Its passing was not the ebbing of a pre-modern society, pace Margaret Mitchell.

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