Why are there 2 dollar bills

Who are the men on the US dollar bills - and where are the women?

In the United States, dollar bills traditionally feature the faces of important presidents. Two gentlemen who were not at the top of the USA also made it onto the banknotes. By contrast, women have always been underrepresented. With Harriet Tubman, another woman can soon be seen on a $ 20 bill. You can find out who the men and women on the bills are in this part of our “Money heads” series.

2020 brought a special anniversary for the United States: 100 years of women's suffrage. On this occasion, a woman is finally supposed to grace US money again - the choice fell on Harriet Tubman, a black escape helper who helped numerous slaves to freedom in the 19th century. The image of president - and slave owner - Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) is said to move from the front to the back.

Former US President Donald Trump blocked the new design of the dollar bill: When the decision for Tubman was made in April 2016, Trump said as a candidate for president in the election campaign that it was "pure political correctness" to prefer an escape helper to a president . If for the first time in more than 100 years a woman was to adorn a US banknote, he would prefer a portrait of his daughter Ivanka, or a picture of civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

After Joe Biden took office, that changed. Shortly after he was sworn in, he announced that he would finally get the picture of Harriet Tubman on the $ 20 bill.

In fact, it was time for a change: Today's dollar bills all go back to the "Series 1914" banknotes that the US Federal Reserve first issued over 100 years ago. Since then, the notes have shown the faces of selected US presidents, as well as other important personalities. Only the number of note values ​​had changed again and again since then.

Seven dollar bills with five presidents: These men are on the bills in the US

While in 1914 there were initially only five different dollar bills in the then new design (with values ​​between 5 and 100 US dollars), in 1928 there were also bills worth one and two dollars. Since then there have been new editions with improved security features, but the people depicted on the dollar bills have always remained the same:

  • 1 dollar bill: George Washington (1st US President)
  • 2 dollar bill: Thomas Jefferson (3rd US President)
  • 5 dollar bill: Abraham Lincoln (16th US President, he won the Civil War and abolished slavery)
  • 10 dollar bill: Alexander Hamilton (one of the fathers of the US Constitution, first Treasury Secretary - and one of two non-presidents on the bills)
  • 20 dollar bill: Andrew Jackson (7th US President, founder of the Democratic Party)
  • 50 dollar bill: Ulysses Simpson Grant (18th US President, previously Commander in Chief of the US Army in the Civil War)
  • 100 dollar bill: Benjamin Franklin (inventor, co-signer of the Declaration of Independence and involved in drafting the US constitution - but also never president).

US banknotes: some dollar bills have been withdrawn from circulation

From 1918 to 1945, four more dollar bills with significantly higher values ​​were printed: The 500-dollar note showed William McKinley (25th US President), and the 1,000-dollar note showed Grover Cleveland (22nd and 22nd) 24th US President). A picture of James Madison (4th US President and author of large parts of the US Constitution) adorned the $ 5,000 bill and the "tens of thousands" adorned a portrait of Salmon P. Chase (presiding judge at the Supreme Court, Treasury Secretary under Abraham Lincoln and Governor of Ohio).

In 1934 there was another special edition with the 100,000 dollar bill, with which the US Federal Reserve wanted to buy up gold reserves. It shows Woodrow Wilson, who was US President during the First World War.

Even the old dollar bills with a value of more than 100 dollars are generally accepted as a means of payment in the United States - provided there is enough change.

These women were already on dollar bills

By the way: only two women made it onto the American banknotes before Harriet Tubman. Martha Washington, wife of the first US president, was pictured in the late 19th century. Also, a picture of the Native American Pocahontas was printed on the $ 20 bills for a couple of years in the 1860s.

You can find more information about women and investing in the blog Part time without regrets and women want to know about investing.

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