In a surprise move, the Treasury Department announced it will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill with a woman.
The new bill will be released in 2020, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Treasury Sec. Jack Lew announced.
In a video posted to a new website dedicated to the project, Lew said that the sawbuck was chosen for replacement because it had already been picked in 2013 for redesign in order to address security and counterfeiting concerns.
“The women’s suffrage movement was propelled by the fundamental truths that have animated this nation since our founding,” Lew said. “Those ideals and our striving to make them a reality define the United States of America.”
According to the Treasury website, The New 10, Lew and other officials will be seeking input from the general public. Besides accepting comments to the website, officials will conduct roundtable discussions, town halls and other meetings in order to collect ideas for the redesign.
According to the website, an image of Hamilton will remain on the bill in some way, with one possibility being that two different bills will be produced.
“While the design process is complex and much work remains to be done, Secretary Lew has made clear that the image of Alexander Hamilton will remain part of the $10 note,” the site reads. “There are many options for continuing to honor Hamilton. While one option is producing two bills, we are exploring a variety of possibilities. However, security requirements are the driving consideration behind any new design.”
Replacing Hamilton came as a surprise to many. A growing movement to put a woman on U.S. currency had targeted Andrew Jackson for replacement on the $20 bill.
The 7th U.S. president, Jackson was seen as the best choice for replacement given that he owned hundreds of slaves and passed a law in 1830 that forced Native Americans off of their lands from the southeastern U.S. to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. The forced removals, known as the “Trail of Tears,” led to the deaths of thousands of Indians.
Hamilton, on the other hand, was a Founding Father, abolitionist and the first Treasury Secretary. He is largely credited with crafting the federal banking system.
Harriet Tubman, a slave who escaped and became an abolitionist, had been chosen in a poll conducted last month by the grassroots group Women on 20s as the most popular choice to replace Jackson. Others in the running were Eleanor Roosevelt and Rosa Parks.