Move over, Alexander Hamilton. The US Treasury Department has announced that the $10 note will be refreshed in 2020 with the portrait of a woman featured on it. A process to determine which woman will soon be underway.
“America’s currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for,” Lew said in a statement. “We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I’m proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman.” (Martha Washington appeared on $1 silver certificates in the late 1800s.)
Earlier this year, a group called Women On 20s started gaining traction for its campaign to put an American woman on the $20 bill—partly chosen because the man who graces that note, Andrew Jackson, the seventh US president, has a dark legacy with the forced removal of Native Americans from their land. The organization had polled almost 200 leaders and historians to create a list of 15 potential candidates, including former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the abolitionist Sojourner Truth.
But it’s the $10 bill that’s next up for an update. In 2013, a government committee focused on deterring counterfeit recommended the $10 bill be the next denomination to be redesigned, with the new note entering circulation in 2020. That year also happens coincide with the 100th anniversary of the US constitution’s 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
This summer, Treasury officials including deputy secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin and treasurer Rosie Rios, as well as Treasury secretary Jacob Lew, will be collecting input on the redesign at roundtables and town hall-style meetings. The department also will gather input online, via social media (under the hashtag #TheNew10) and comments submitted at thenew10.treasury.gov.
Lew said the final selection, expected to be announced by the end of the year, will be “a notable woman” who has been “a champion for our inclusive democracy.” Like anyone else featured on US legal tender, the woman selected must be deceased.
Treasury promises that Hamilton—the face of the $10 bill since 1928 (he replaced Jackson, who was bumped to the $20) and one of two non-presidents on US bills (the other being Benjamin Franklin)—”will remain part of the $10 note.” But it’s unclear how the bill will pay tribute to Hamilton, who founded The Bank of New York (now BNY Mellon) in 1784 and in 1789 became the nation’s first Treasury secretary.
Hamilton has had a resurgence in popular culture lately, thanks to the hit musical Hamilton. Currently playing in New York, the hip-hop-infused musical was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and based on the Hamilton biography Ron Chernow released in 2004.
Miranda doesn’t seem too fazed by the news that his protagonist is about to be moved aside for a woman. (The Eliza whom Miranda tweeted about refers to Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth Schuyler. Aaron Burr was a vice president who feuded frequently with Hamilton—he eventually killed him in a duel in 1804.)