October 27th, 2016

What Woman Would You Like to See on the $10 Bill?

I don’t think any notable woman suggested would want to displace Alexander Hamilton to make room for her. Surely we are not so lacking in creativity that this is the only means available.

Hamilton was one of the most brilliant of the founding fathers, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, abolitionist, advisor to George Washington, and the first Secretary of the Treasury.

He was born in the West Indies and learned his aversion to slavery as a witness to the cruel practices visited upon the slaves brought to St. Croix to work on sugar plantations. He was orphaned at a young age (11 or 12) and was employed as a bookkeeper on the island when he was just a teenager. His brilliance was recognized by his employers and they sent him to New York and financed his education at King’s College.

Hamilton was quickly embroiled in the Revolutionary fever and employed his brilliance at writing and speaking to support the cause. He was George Washington’s “right-hand man” during the war and indeed, one of WAshington’s conditions for accepting the presidency was that Hamilton would be his Secretary of the Treasury.

I suggest the biography of Hamilton by Ron Chernow for a good summer read. This book inspired the new Broadway musical to open this summer, endorsed by none other than Stephen Sondheim!

Joanne Van der Bellen
Plainfield, VT

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