President Obama made a comment how having women on U.S. currency “was a pretty good idea.” It got me thinking about who would be some good candidates, and it also got me looking into how our paper money has evolved. For example, how many of you knew that $500, $1,000, and even $100,000 bills were printed at one time?! Wow, if I had that big of bill in my wallet it would require an armed escort! The U.S. Treasury has some history about these large denominations. Apparently there are a few of these still floating around out there.
Back to the main point of this post. Which women in our nation’s history have earned a spot on our currency? Here is a list of a few I think would be good candidates and why. There are quite a few women that should be immortalized on our currency, but that would make for a very long post.
Jane Addams – Addams was a pioneer facing the issues of urbanization as a result of industrialization and immigration. Poverty and unsanitary living conditions were not uncommon in American cities. Addams established the Hull House in Chicago to address some of these issues. The organization offered schooling for young children, English classes, libraries and other activities for immigrants and the poor.
Clarissa “Clara” Barton- Barton was as brave as the soldiers of the Civil War. She risked her life to tend to the wounded and sick soldiers on the front during the war. When she was not tending to the wounded, Barton was also actively answering letters from families that were seeking information about missing soldiers. After the Civil War, she went to Europe and assisted the Red Cross there during the Franc0-Prussian War. This inspired her to start and run the American Red Cross, which she did from 1881 to 1904.
Harriet Beecher Stowe- Beecher Stowe was an important writer in 18th century America. Her most important and controversial publication was Uncle Tom’s Cabin that portrayed the evils of slavery. This book reflected her abolitionist views of slavery. The commotion her book stirred is said to have caused the Civil War. This is best reflected by what President Lincoln allegedly said to Beecher Stowe upon meeting her in 1862. “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.”
Francis Perkins- Perkins made history when she was the first woman to be appointed to the Secretary of Labor under President Franklin Roosevelt. She was arguably the mastermind behind many of the New Deal programs of FDR’s presidency; social security was being a major milestone. After her time as a cabinet member, she went on to teach about labor relations at Cornell University.
So there you have them! Just a few of the women I think should be on our currency. I know this has stirred up some debate about why the faces on our money would change. The fact of the matter is that faces have been changed on our money before. I look forward to seeing how our currency changes in the future. How do you feel about women being on money? What other women would be good candidates?