There will soon be a new $20 bill, as Andrew Jackson will be taken off and replaced by a woman, but Alexander Hamilton has saved his spot on the $10 bill.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had announced last summer that Hamilton would likely be replaced with one of the most influential women in American history, but the decision was met with controversy. Many wanted to preserve Hamilton’s place in history, a movement that got even stronger thanks to the popular Broadway musical about his life, CNN noted.
Instead, Lew has decided to keep Hamilton on the front of the $10 bill, with a new mural of famous woman suffragists will be added to the back. Jackson will instead get the boot from the $20 bill.
The decision to take Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 bill has not yet been officially announced, but Lew alluded to the changes this week.
“When we started this conversation not quite a year ago, it wasn’t clear to me that millions of Americans were going to weigh in with their ideas,” he told CNBC. “We’re not just talking about one bill. We’re talking about the $5, the $10, and the $20. We’re not just talking about one picture on one bill. We’re talking about using the front and the back of the bill to tell an exciting set of stories.”
There has been a growing political will to take Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill, including 2016 presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who has suggested replacing him with Harriet Tubman.
The inclusion of Andrew Jackson had long been controversial. His openly racist policies toward blacks and Native Americans were disliked, even in his own time.
Even the Treasury Department isn’t sure why Jackson ended up being selected in 1928 to appear on the $20 bill. Andrew Jackson historians are perplexed as well, including the Hermitage, a historical museum dedicated to his legacy, which told the Washington Post that his including was “a mystery to us as well.”
The move to take Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill has been gaining steam for several years now, thanks in part to a non-profit organization called Women on 20’s that suggested replacing him with prominent women from American history.
“Nobody looks at the back of the bill, and that’s not likely to change,” the group wrote in an open letter to Lew, published by Time. “A vignette without a woman’s portrait on the front of the bill (even if she must share with Hamilton) will be seen as a token gesture and an affront to Americans of all ages who are expecting you to reveal your choice of a singular woman based on their input. As a friend of ours put it, relegating women to the back of the bill is akin to sending them to the back of the bus. The Rosa Parks analogies are inevitable.”
There will be some other changes, as well. The $5 bill will still include Abraham Lincoln on the front, the report noted, but will now include a mural of prominent moments in American history in place of the portrait of the Lincoln Memorial now featured.
But the move to change the $20 bill and replace Andrew Jackson with a prominent woman from American history won’t come anytime soon, the Washington Post reported last year. A source said that the process for changing the design would still be in the early stages and that the soonest a new $20 would appear is 2030. The Federal Reserve has a long process for developing technology preventing counterfeiters, the source said, noting that it took more than 15 years to develop the blue security ribbon included on the $100 bill.
[Photo by Gary Knapp/Getty Images]