A nation’s currency says a lot about its culture, traditions, and heritage. By simply knowing which historical figures appear on a country’s bills and coins, one can obtain a snapshot of what that country values at its core. For example, George Washington’s presence on the $1.00 bill may suggest that our country values honesty and Democracy, while Abe Lincoln on the $5.00 sends a message of equality and rights for all, regardless of skin color. As such, deciding to make any changes to the country's money is a big deal. That is why Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s announcement that there would be major changes to the $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00 bills has stirred such controversy.
In an open letter to the American people released yesterday, Lew declared that three of America’s bills are going to receive substantial makeovers by 2020. Perhaps the most drastic change is that to the $20.00 bill. “I am excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman—Harriet Tubman on the $20 note.” He furthered, however, that “the reverse of the new $20 will continue to feature the White House as well as an image of President Andrew Jackson.”
In addition to this change, “the reverse of the new $5 will depict the historic events that have occurred at the Lincoln Memorial. In 1939, at a time when Washington’s concert halls were still segregated, world-renowned Opera singer Marian Anderson helped advance civil rights when, with the support of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, she performed at the Lincoln Memorial in front of 75,000 people. And in 1963, Martin Luther King,Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the same monument in front of hundreds of thousands.”
Our $10.00 note will also receive a touch-up. “The new $10 will honor the story and the heroes of the women’s suffrage movement against the backdrop of the Treasury building… [and] will honor Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul for their contributions to the suffrage movement.” Hamilton will remain on the front of the bill.
This has sparked outrage among Americans who believe our currency is fine the way it is and that this is an attempt by the Obama Administration to push a progressive agenda unto the general populace. Pundits and analysts will continue to debate the issue well into the release of these currencies in four years, however it appears that the Treasury is determined to invoke these changes and will not be accepting any feedback.
What do you think about these changes?