U.S. Treasurer Defends Decision To Make Woman Share $10 Bill With Alexander Hamilton

She says we have to "preserve his integrity."
U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.
U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios.
Alberto E. Rodriguez via Getty Images

WASHINGTON ― The Treasury Department has been criticized for announcing plans for a new $10 bill that features a woman on it but with the caveat that she shares the space with the bill’s current resident, Alexander Hamilton.

But the woman behind the idea to keep Hamilton on the bill stood her ground Wednesday and said it’s important to keep honoring his legacy.

“I made the recommendation that we continue to preserve the integrity of Alexander Hamilton,” U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios told The Huffington Post at an event at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. “We will absolutely continue in that path.”

Rios described it as a kind of “renaissance” that a woman will be on the $10 bill at all. She said the goal wasn’t to spark a debate about the merits of different Founding Fathers, or to pit past presidents against each other to decide who should get bumped. Instead, the idea was to promote a conversation about notable women in American history and who deserves recognition. The Treasury Department is currently seeking input on its website about this.

There’s still a chance that, in 2015, the government will decide it’s time to honor a woman in American history on U.S. currency without requiring her to share the space with someone else. One idea being discussed is creating two versions of the $10 bill, one with Hamilton on it and one with a woman on it, and circulating both at the same time. Treasury won’t unveil the new currency until 2020.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is among those wondering why there still isn’t a woman on U.S. bill.

“I, too, admire Hamilton. Towns, counties, schools and colleges have been named in his honor,” Shaheen wrote in a recent Huffington Post blog. But the idea that “the women selected for the $10 note might have to share space on the bill with Hamilton is misguided and demeaning.”

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