ORIGINAL | ANDY L. KUBAI (23, YOUTH PERSPECTIVE)
The Youth Perspective gives our young writers the chance to get their opinions known. All points of view are those of the writers and not of Time Warner Cable and its staff.
In American governmental history, apparently one minute you’re hot, the next you’re not. Alexander Hamilton, the renowned economist and creator of the U.S. Treasury Department, has spent 165 years on the $10 bill. Recently, with new security-based updates needed for the currency, the assumption of his waning popularity led the U.S. Treasury department to make a move to replace Hamilton with anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman. Before the switch was finalized, though, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Hamilton tore up Broadway. Suddenly, Hamilton and his life were catapulted into the public eye once more. With the play predicted to sweep the Tony Awards on June 12, Politico reports that Hamilton will remain active on the $10 bills. Instead, the Treasury Secretary Jack Lew decided to swap out Andrew Jackson for Tubman on the $20.
Hamilton Is Still Relevant
Critics of the renewed $10 bill felt that, due to Hamilton’s major contribution to our financial system, it would be inappropriate to remove his honorary status. The successful Broadway play was an exclamation point reinforcing his relevancy to the United States and currency. Removing the always controversial Jackson something more roundly supported by liberals like Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) and Hillary Clinton, as well as conservatives like National Review correspondent Charles C.W. Cooke makes more sense.
Jackson, although a force for change in U.S. history, has a dubious history for a U.S. monetary honorarium. The former president was a noted white supremacist who contributed heavily to the Manifest Destiny policies which led to genocidal action against the Indian Nations. Although noted conservatives like Senator Lamar Alexander (R Kentucky) object to “diminish[ing] Jackson in order to honor Tubman,” the response from the general populace has been favorable about the move. Even former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, critical of the Hamilton-replacement, called the Jackson-Tubman swap appropriate, saying “Tubman is an excellent and deserving choice.”
Changes to the currency were initially prompted by a desire to create added security features. Technological advances will make the heavily circulated bills more difficult to reproduce and pass off fakes. As an added benefit, the new run will also include features to help the visually impaired better identify the money. And it’s this spirit of innovation and inclusion which makes Harriet Tubman so appropriate for the $20 bill. Instead of honoring a slave-owning former president who encouraged intolerance, the new design for a new America celebrates a woman who fought so every citizen could enjoy a little slice of freedom.
Here is the link to the original story: http://www.twcc.com/articles/2016/04/25/h/hamilton-gets-reprieve-broadway-smash-makes-treasury-change-their-mind-about-bill-redesign