Get To Know the New US Bills

The Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, announced a redesign of some US bills. The bills to be redesigned include the $5 bill, the $10 bill and the $20 bill. This new generation of currency features women and non politicians on the bills, which has not been the norm in the past. Here are the various changes that have been made to the bills.

The $20 Bill

white house harriet tubman

The front of the $ 20 note will have a portrait of Harriet Tubman, as a replacement for Andrew Jackson, whose portrait is currently featured on the bill. This makes her the first black person to be on the face of any US currency and the first female to be included in over a century.

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery but she escaped in her 20s. After her escape, she worked in the Underground Railroad as a conductor. In this role, she helped many slaves escape. She was also active in the Union during the Civil War, she acted as a nurse, cook and army spy. When she died in 1913, she was buried with military honors.

The choice to replace Jackson with Harriet was because he was seen as being a deeply flawed character. He owned hundreds of slaves and his policies led to the relocation of thousands Native American Tribes from their lands and the execution of hundreds of American soldiers for desertion.

The back of this note will have a display of the White House. It will also include a photo of President Andrew Jackson, which was moved from the front of the note to the back. Jackson was the first common man to be elected president.

The $10 bill

The back of the $10 bill will feature various heroes of the Women's suffrage. This includes Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth. These women played a vital role in the passing of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.  They will replace the treasury building that is currently at the back of the note. The back of the bill will also feature an image of the 1913 March for women's suffrage, which ended at the Treasury Department.

The front of this note will remain the same. It will still feature the portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary of the US.  Hamilton was responsible for establishing a national bank and friendly trade relations with Britain. He also established the American financial system.

The new $10 note will include a tactile feature that will assist the visually impaired or blind to identify the note. This will improve their access to the currency. It will also have large and high contrast numerals.

The $5 Bill

The back of the new $5 note will feature a portrait of people who played a role in the civil rights movements. This includes Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King Junior.  It will also feature the image of the events that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial Park. The Lincoln Memorial Park is in Washington D.C. It was dedicated on March 30th 1922 in honor of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who is viewed as a symbol of strength, unity and wisdom. The front of this new bill will still feature the portrait of the President Lincoln.

Symbolic events have happened at the park. In 1939, world renowned opera singer Marian Anderson, with the help of the first Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, performed at the steps of the Memorial Park in front of 75,000 people. At that time concert halls were segregated. Anderson's performance helped in the advancing of civil rights. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic 'I have a Dream' speech at the park, while hundreds of thousands of people listened.

All US currency is usually designed based on a certain theme.  All themes chosen honor the history of the US, as well as its values. This time round, the theme chosen for this new generation of currency was democracy. The currency overhaul aimed at addressing America's legacy of gender inequality and slavery. The portraits of the people and the images selected to be used on the bills is a representation of the various freedoms that were achieved for the people of the US, as a result of the efforts made by various people. The only legal criterion for the portraits that are included in the bills is that the person whose portrait is used be dead.

The treasury targets to unveil the new bills in 2020. This is aimed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. Even though no set timetable has been put in place as to how the notes will be released to the public, it will probably take years for all the currencies to be released into circulation after they have been unveiled.

Historically, the main driving force behind any currency redesign is to address potential security threats to the notes. At the moment, the $10 bill is the one at the highest risk of being counterfeited that is why it has been slated to be the first to be redesigned and released into circulation. This will be followed by the redesign of the $5 and $20 bills. The Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering Committee is responsible for dealing with the technical aspect of producing US currency.

This committee ensures that the security features included in the notes deter counterfeiters from reproducing the notes. This is by including technologically advanced features on the notes, so as to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters. It takes a combination of secure currency design, law enforcement and public awareness to effectively deal with money counterfeiting. For the latest counterfeit money detectors on the market be sure to check out our homepage.

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Posted by Jason on Mon, May 23, 2016

Thanks for the article. It’s interesting how long currency updates can take.

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