As we celebrate Presidents’ Day, Sunset Bank thought it would be fun to take a look at the history behind the presidents featured on our money. Treasury.gov says that their records don’t suggest why specific presidents and statesmen were chosen for each bill. But let’s look at some of the facts about these historical leaders.
George Washington – Our first president was first put on the dollar bill in 1869 – seven years after the bill was first printed. The average lifespan for a dollar bill is only 18 months due to wear and tear.
Abraham Lincoln – The 16th U.S. president is credited with ending slavery in the country and saving the Union. He has appeared on the $5 bill since 1914 but it wasn’t until 1964 that the phrase “In God We Trust” was printed on the bill.
Alexander Hamilton – Featured on the $10 bill, Hamilton was the first US Secretary of the Treasury. He is one of only two non-presidents pictured on US paper money. Up until 1861, Lincoln was the face of a $10 bill.
Andrew Jackson – Jackson’s face replaced Cleveland’s on the $20 bill in 1928. Since then, several petitions have gone around to have this controversial political figure removed from the bill.
Ulysses S. Grant – Civil War general and 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant first appeared on the $50 bill in 1913. Legislation to put Ronald Reagan on the bill instead of Grant has been introduced to Congress on two occasions in the last 10 years, but was voted down both times.
Benjamin Franklin – With his picture first appearing on the $100 bill in 1914, Franklin is thought to be “the only President of the United States who was never President of the United States.”
Although we have always known these figures to be on our money, you can see that there are controversies over some of them! It will be interesting to see if some of these faces change in future years. For some help saving and spending these bills, stop in at a Sunset Bank location.