For the first time since 1896 a women will be featured on a denomination of U.S. currency starting in 2020, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Wednesday. That year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which granted women constitutional protection of the right to vote.
A new $10 bill will be issued with the yet to be determined female’s portrait featured either alongside the current place-holder, Alexander Hamilton, or by herself with a secondary $10 portraying Hamilton’s image.
Secretary Lew will make the ultimate decision as to who who will receive the honor, although the Treasury Department will be taking suggestions for the nomination on social media from those using #TheNew10. The only guideline for the posthumous distinction is that the woman somehow symbolizes the spirit of “American democracy”.
It is somewhat curious that the Treasury has decided to move Hamilton off to the side on the $10, as it was he who served as the first U.S. Treasury Secretary under President George Washington. While holding that post, Hamilton led the effort in lobbying Congress to charter the first national bank (1791), and pass legislation to establish the U.S. Mint in 1792 which created the dollar currency itself.
The last woman to appear on American currency was Martha Washington, featured on the $1 silver coin for six years.
A decision as to the identity of the new $10 bill honoree (early front-runners include Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks) will be announced by the end of the year.