Sunday, August 02, 2015

A woman on money is the kind of debate we like; Part 1: Save Hamilton


In 2020 a woman will be sharing the $10 bill with Alexander Hamilton according to the Department of the Treasury.  I love this kind of discussion.  There are plenty of opportunities to reflect on our history and at the same time create massive amounts of hyperbolic chaos that will ruin friendships and destroy marriages.  Shall we get started?

First on the agenda is the horrible decision to have a woman share a bill with a current occupant.  If the woman is important enough to be on currency either create a new paper currency with her image (impractical) or supplant a current image and move on.  I vote for the latter. 

I do not vote for Alexander Hamilton. 

Neither did Lin-Manuel Miranda or cast of the Broadway play Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton is my favorite Founding Father for a few reasons.  He’s an educated “self-made” man.  He is a pragmatist.  He’s an economist.  He’s a brilliant writer.  And he was willing to sacrifice his own values for the good of the country.  Oh, and he was one of history’s great smooth smart asses.  The Tyrion Lannister of U.S. History may have been Alexander Hamilton.

But enough about my thoughts, how about the real accomplishments:

-Actually fought in the Revolutionary War.

-Staunch abolitionist.

-Delegate to the Constitutional Convention.

-Wrote the majority of the Federalist Papers, possibly some of the greatest political documents in existence. 

-Wrote Federalist Essay #78 which discussed the necessity for an independent judiciary and life terms for judges.

-Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington

-Created the American federal economic system.

-Created the first American National Bank.

-Although he can’t stand Thomas Jefferson, he convinces the House of Representatives during the Election of 1800 to vote for Jefferson instead of Aaron Burr, whom he found morally bankrupt.

That’s man deserves to stay.  Period. 

Then who?  Who should be replaced in the pantheon of great Americans?

The popular answer is Andrew Jackson.  Most people simply point to Jackson’s role in the First Seminole War and the treaties that lead to the Trail of Tears and call him a bad president.  Most people are fools and use 21st Century values and mores to armchair quarterback historical controversies.  Jackson was the first real populist president while at the same time the first “imperial president.”  He brought the country back from the brink of civil war with the Nullification Crisis ($1000 says you have no idea) and brought the attention of the elitist nature of government to the people.  Was he an asshole?  Well sure he was.  That doesn’t make him a very good president.  By the way, if you want to start using body count as a measure of whether or not a president is worthy, you better start tossing Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.  The bombings (fire and nuclear) they ordered probably killed millions.  Or you can actually read history in context. 

This leaves my choice for the switch-a-roo on the U.S. paper currency as:


That means no $50 bill for Ulysses S. Grant.  Yep, the famous Civil War general was pretty much just that, a great Civil War general.  During his time as president he oversaw the mess that was Reconstruction and had more scandals as president than any other person that has held office.  If there is anyone that should share the bill or better yet be totally removed, it’s Grant. 

So that’s the end of part 1.  Let’s dump Ulysses S. Grant and add….who?  Ah, that’s for part 2!

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