Friday, June 19, 2015

Hamilton Removed from the $10 Bill? Say it Ain't So!

The Treasury Department has leaked it's unfortunate intention to remove Alexander Hamilton's image from the ten dollar bill. It is Hamilton's vision of the United States of America that we live in today, much more so than any other of the giants that founded this county. This includes his rival and antithesis Thomas Jefferson, who may get the ink, but whose vision of a United States became antiquated even before his own death.

Ron Chernow's book Alexander Hamilton should be read by anyone curious about not only Hamilton, but the world as it existed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hamilton was largely a self made man. He was born of a unwed mother of desperate financial straits in the West Indies. Fortunately from an early age he was recognized as possessing a unique and gifted intellect.

Hamilton grew up around slavery while a young man and saw the evil wrought by it. He was an ardent slavery abolitionist. He was a lawyer. He was a New Yorker. Unfortunately, most of this is forgotten and what remains most memorable of his full life is, unfortunately, is his inglorious death at the hands of Aaron Burr.

Our monetary system, for better or worse, was essentially developed by Hamilton. He understood the need and use of credit to expand an economy. He appreciated and drove the idea of a central bank to this end. This contribution is why his image was on the ten dollar bill. No longer it seems.

Yet Andrew Jackson remains on the twenty dollar bill. Jackson was a slave owner, and responsible for the Trail of Tears. Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post (sort of) agrees with me: Keep Hamilton and dump Jackson.

1 comment:

  1. Do you risk being branded "sexist" for your lamentation? Say it Ain't So!!