Hamilton: Musicals and $10 Bills

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Chris Taylo/Treasury Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 17, 2015, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced that the portrait of Alexander Hamilton would be changed to a picture of him and another woman to be named later on the $10 dollar bill.

“Our thinking is to select a woman who has played a major role in our history who represents the theme of democracy,” said Secretary Lew. The new bill is expected to roll out by 2020.

A flurry of responses resulted from the announcement. Most supporters are advocates of the change because they wish to see a woman finally on a bill. While both Martha Washington and Pocahontas appeared on bills during the 19th century and both Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea made appearances on coinage, the currency’s usage did not last.

Supporters of the replacement believe that putting a woman on the $10 bill would mean a more permanent representation of women in our currency. Most supporters would like to see Harriet Tubman be the woman to make the appearance beside Hamilton on the bill.

People against the change proposed that the face of a different bill should be changed instead — Andrew Jackson of the $20 bill. The main argument for Jackson’s removal stems from the man’s own mistrust of banks, restriction of paper money (ironically), and vetoing of the Bank Recharter Bill during his presidency.

However, the strongest response may have come from Broadway itself. On March 14, 2016, when the cast of hit Broadway musical Hamilton visited the the White House to host a day of workshops and entertainment, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway hit, visited the Treasury to check up his on his hero on the famous ten dollar bill.

At that point, the US Treasury still had not given a certain answer on the fate of “the ten-dollar Founding Father.”  Miranda had a chance to meet the Treasury Secretary during his visit in Washington D.C. There, Miranda was able to pitch in his two cents about Hamilton’s spot on the $10 bill, and his input seemed to have worked.

“I talked to U.S. Treasury about this on Monday. Secretary Lew told me, ‘You’re going to be very happy,'” tweeted Miranda, hinting that Hamilton is certainly here to stay.

The success of Hamilton and its influence on the future of our nation’s currency reveal the interconnections of all facets of American culture. While the Treasury has not announced any specific designs for the new $10 bill, Hamilton is expected to be seen on the redesign.

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