WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury has decided to keep Alexander Hamilton on the front of the new $10 bill, after encountering fierce opposition to its plans to replace the founding father with a woman, Treasury officials said Tuesday. The Treasury will feature the portrait of African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, which now features former president Andrew Jackson, officials said.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will announce decisions regarding several bills on Wednesday, officials said.
Last summer, Lew announced that the Treasury was considering removing Hamilton from the $10 bill, to allow a woman to appear on the front of the currency for the first time since Martha Washington was taken off the $1 silver certificate.
The Treasury was moved in part by a viral campaign in early 2015 to put a woman’s portrait on the new $20 bill in 2020, to mark the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote. The group “Women on $20s” received more than 600,000 online and in person votes a choice of 15 different women. Harriet Tubman received the most votes.
Treasury announced plans in June 2015 to honor a woman on the $10 bill, which was already slated for a redesign in 2020. The bills are regularly redesigned to stymie counterfeiters.
The campaign drew a backlash from supporters of Hamilton, who, as an aide to George Washington and the first secretary of the Treasury, helped erect the U.S. economic and banking system. Hamilton has gained notoriety in recent years due to the success of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway play.
The debate sparked a grassroots movement to remove Jackson, a slave owner whose divisive presidency included removing several Native American tribes from their lands in the South, from the $20 bill. Some point out that Jackson also opposed paper currency in favor of gold and silver.