By Dana Niland
The United States’ recent announcement that Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s image on the ten-dollar bill will soon be replaced is causing a stir in his home island of Nevis.
A cohort of the general public in both Nevis and the United States have expressed dissent at the potential phasing out of Hamilton, and have instead advocated for the replacement of what some see as the more controversial Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
“Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, would qualify as among the greatest of our founders for his contributions to achieving American independence and creating the Constitution alone,” said former Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, who is advocating against Secretary Jack Lew’s decision to remove Hamilton. “The Treasury Department should do everything within its power to defend the honor of Jack Lew’s most illustrious predecessor.”
The United States has long enjoyed an amiable relationship with the island of Nevis, largely owed to the connection the two share over Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton was born and spent a large portion of his childhood and teenage years in Nevis before relocating to St Croix and then to New York City. Indeed, the Nevis Island Assembly holds its meetings in his childhood home.
“The world views Alexander Hamilton as the great American founding father, but here on Nevis we see him as family and as a result, we know him and the principles that governed his life more fully than most probably do,” said Greg Phillip, the CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority. “That being said, if there was ever a Founding Father that would gladly forfeit his place on American currency, it would be Hamilton. He was a true lover and supporter of women, and this has everything to do with his upbringing by his mother right here on Nevis so whatever the decision by the Federal Reserve, Alexander Hamilton will always have a home in Nevis.”
The national hero has recently received a surge of pop culture fame, with the popular, Tony-award winning play Hamilton making waves through Broadway, as well as the arrival of special documentaries on the History Channel, National Geographic, and HBO.
Jack Lew insists that the decision to change the face of the ten-dollar bill is nothing more than a matter of timing, as the $20 bill most recently underwent a redesign and the ten-dollar bill is now due for a change.
Capitol Hill is urging the Treasury Department to use a woman’s image for the new redesign, as the year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.