It’s All About the Hamiltons, Lady!

Anne Eichman is a Social Studies teacher at Lakes Community High School.

Anne Eichman is a Social Studies teacher at Lakes Community High School.

There’s a musical taking Broadway by storm about a most unlikely subject: Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the story of Hamilton, an orphaned child born in the Caribbean who found his way to the American colonies as a teenager. He worked his way up through the ranks of George Washington’s staff during the Revolution to become the nation’s first Treasury Secretary.

The Broadway stage is an unusual place to find the likes of Hamilton – a more typical place might be in a bank or on a piece of currency. He was, after all, responsible for creating our nation’s banking system and laying the foundation for our modern, industrial economy. The irony, though, is that while the musical “Hamilton” is making over $60 million in ticket sales on Broadway, the man Hamilton is being removed from the face of the $10 bill. In June, plans were announced to replace Hamilton’s face on the $10 bill with an important woman from American history.

Now, I am all for honoring important women in American history, but replace Alexander Hamilton with Rosa Parks? Or Eleanor Roosevelt? Or Harriet Tubman? I’m sorry, but I just can’t go along with that. Without Hamilton, we don’t have paper money or banks or a prosperous economy. No one made a more important contribution to our nation’s economy than Hamilton. To remove him is shameful.

Furthermore, as a woman, I’m far more interested in real and actual changes for women than just putting a face on a piece of money. If the U.S. government really wants to honor women, how about addressing the pay gap that results in women earning, on average, 79 cents for every dollar that a man earns? I think I speak for most women when I say we would rather have more Alexander Hamiltons or Benjamin Franklins in our paychecks than the face of Eleanor Roosevelt on our currency!