1672: "Women on 20s"

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:42 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Given that below 20% of elegible historic figures were women, for an original contemporary bias throughout British history that we can't do anything about, I think it's a decent ratio for practicality.


Depends how deep you're willing to go into things to find historic figures - historically, roughly 50% of people were women, and they all did stuff too...

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Alexander the Ordinary » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:38 am UTC

To be fair, it WAS a very good musical (Lin Manuel Miranda is awesome!). Still, this entire issue seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:40 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Depends how deep you're willing to go into things to find historic figures - historically, roughly 50% of people were women, and they all did stuff too...
Stuff that got them recognized as very influential at the time? I mean, any country's history is going to have well enough major female figures to fill up the banknote denominations, but if the idea is to represent a selection of the big dogs of its history, in most places, that's going to be primarily men. Obviously, that's not at all the only way of looking at the selection process, but it's still a valid concern. I'm not sure if there's any point in doing historical portraits in the first place if you're not implying that this is in some way representative of history, or elevating individuals by using their portraits if you're not implying that it's chiefly about influence.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby RogueCynic » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:31 am UTC

HES wrote:Interesting timing, in that we Brits have a similar women-on-banknotes argument going on. We're gaining one, but losing another, so will remain at 1/5.


Does that 1/5 figure include her majesty?
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Alexander the Ordinary » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:33 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote: if the idea is to represent a selection of the big dogs of its history, in most places, that's going to be primarily men.


I guess this is an interesting question. Is that the point of putting faces on currency? Because there are certainly important historical figures who do not deserve to be represented on our money. It seems like some of the point of representing real people would be to show us parts of our history that we are proud of.

Copper Bezel wrote: I'm not sure if there's any point in doing historical portraits in the first place if you're not implying that this is in some way representative of history, or elevating individuals by using their portraits if you're not implying that it's chiefly about influence.


This is a good point. However, I think that by putting someone on money you do imply that they are celebrated and are a person who either possesses qualities valued by the country or positively impacted it in some way. Showing that women are able to be counted as a part of this category doesn't seem like an insignificant thing to me, even if their overall influence on history was smaller.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:49 am UTC

BlitzGirl wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:Given that below 20% of elegible historic figures were women, for an original contemporary bias throughout British history that we can't do anything about, I think it's a decent ratio for practicality.

Ugh, I have a lot of problems with that sentence.
I tried to make that unproblematic to all views, as a plain statement of fact, so I hope it was grammar or spelling you took against... ;)

Edit: no, let me expand. We can't do anything about all the women who never became historic figures because they were never put in the position to be historically significant. And even those that were (royal wives and mothers, exerting influence behind the scenes, most obviously) just never get confirmed credit, most of the time, and and only really got recorded as relations to acknowledged male historic figures or else get lost in the mists of time.

Lacking that time-machine, already mentioned, there's a dearth of candidates. And if we go digging for more obscure (but deservedly significant) figures, the ranks will yet still fill up with more men than women for exactly the same irreversible biases. Barring re-theming our notes specifically to famous women, across them all, it is unfortunately already a biased pool of 'fair' candidates and positive discrimination never sways anyone with a (traditionally) discriminatory opinion already.

I think the likes of Elizabeth Mallet (1672-1706) ought to be considered, at some point, if there's a decent idea of her appearance (the existence of decent likeness to crib the modern representation from, at least of those from the last few-hundred years, might be amongst the established criteria, but I'm just guessing about that). Off the top of my head, her and her printing press (or another of the 'printing wives', running her husband's1 press whilst he was scandalously imprisoned for the same 'free speech'2 leaflets she is still producing - and may have been her own idea all along!) would afford a suitably distinctive and detailed image for the base security feature of the currency.

Also a little irony, in there, when being reproduced by a forger. :)



1 Because, legally at the time, it couldn't be hers. Another point the image could represent, in a clear mockery of the old convention.

2 By modern standards.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby CharlieP » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:24 am UTC

Envelope Generator wrote:
mvpxiv wrote:Being not in the USA I don't quite get the reference, could somebody link to what it refers to?

Thanks!


The comic title tied my brain in a knot for a moment before I had to give up and look at the comic itself. "Women on... their twenties? Women on the 2020's? Randall, what are you in?"


I parsed it as "Women on twenty seconds".
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby wayne » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:33 am UTC

Why not redesign all of the bills?

We have traditions of hunting and fishing, so start with this on the one:
Image

And maybe this on the five?
Image

Shouldn't leave out the two, though. Maybe something to celebrate our agrarian roots:
Image

Before our industrial revolution, logging was about the heaviest industry we had. Maybe something like this on the ten:
Image
(Although we should probably do something with bearded men in flannel, and not children in parkas...)

Then there was our expansion westward. Maybe the twenty should leave off politicians and controversial figures and just go with a cowboy or something like this:
Image

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:42 am UTC

Epod wrote:One other irony worth noting is that Andrew Jackson HATED the idea of a central national bank. The semi-official national bank at the time, called the "Bank of The United States" was due to have its charter renewed during the Jackson presidency. Jackson ordered all the federal government's money withdrawn from that bank and moved elsewhere. When a group of bankers called on him about the charter, he famously said, "You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out." He would be pissed to know that he was destined to appear on a banknote issued by a subsequent semi-official bank.

I thought that was the motivation for putting him there: as a troll move.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Echo244 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:57 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Depends how deep you're willing to go into things to find historic figures - historically, roughly 50% of people were women, and they all did stuff too...
Stuff that got them recognized as very influential at the time? I mean, any country's history is going to have well enough major female figures to fill up the banknote denominations, but if the idea is to represent a selection of the big dogs of its history, in most places, that's going to be primarily men. Obviously, that's not at all the only way of looking at the selection process, but it's still a valid concern. I'm not sure if there's any point in doing historical portraits in the first place if you're not implying that this is in some way representative of history, or elevating individuals by using their portraits if you're not implying that it's chiefly about influence.


What if we make it about celebrating lives and achievements, rather than just the faces of our masters? I mean, we've moved on from a Kings and Battles model of history, haven't we?

Anyway. I quite like the Royal Bank of Scotland planning to put Nan Shepherd on their new banknotes. Not heard of her before, but sounds worth celebrating.

(Also I love that they're putting a midge on the new banknotes)
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:26 am UTC

Echo244 wrote:What if we make it about celebrating lives and achievements, rather than just the faces of our masters? I mean, we've moved on from a Kings and Battles model of history, haven't we?
I half-recollect that British currency only allows the current (as of minting/printing) monarchical image upon it, thus prior rulers cannot feature. (Not sure about Oliver Cromwell, but I don't see him being used anyway, certainly not on the currency of future King Charles III. Albeit probably taking George VII as his name, if/when that happens.)

Or I might be mixing that up with the stamps. Including the fact that stamps featuring the Queen on them (photographically) do not even bear her queen's-head 'sygil', normally1, but instead a replacement 'crown' symbol to perform the same function in the only stamps, worldwide, that do not bear the name of the issuing nation.


But that's the UK. No dead presidents2, just (initially) live royals. Another interesting and partially paradoxical difference between our nations.

1 The current commemorative stamps/family photo of Queen and three generations of heirs-presumptive being an exception, apparently.

2 Except maybe of the Royal Society, or somesuch..? No, not there, it seems. I had imagined either Newton or Faraday, at least, were RS presidents at some point, but no...

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby HES » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:01 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Or I might be mixing that up with the stamps. Including the fact that stamps featuring the Queen on them (photographically) do not even bear her queen's-head 'sygil', normally1,

1 The current commemorative stamps/family photo of Queen and three generations of heirs-presumptive being an exception, apparently.

Indeed, apparently it wouldn't fit properly. The sizing was a little off to accommodate George.

Somewhat relatedly, I wonder which will happen first: US currency gets a woman on the $20, or British currency gets a king on the back?
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Morgan Wick » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:21 am UTC

Omegaman wrote:What are the security arguments for not being able to issue bills in a different order? I'm kind of with Randal on this one-- this seems like an easy problem to solve...

From what I've read, the 10 has gone the longest without a redesign, which makes it the top target for counterfeiters. It's basically as simple as that.

If the new 20 isn't going to be ready by 2020, I agree with the guy who said ML King is more in keeping with the sorts of people we've put on our bills in the past than most of the contenders here. If we have to put a woman on, we've put Susan B. Anthony on currency before and she'd even fit with the stated reason people have for doing this.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Flumble » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:25 am UTC

HES wrote:Somewhat relatedly, I wonder which will happen first: US currency gets a woman on the $20, or British currency gets a king on the back?

At this point I think Elizabeth II: Electric Boogaloo is too old to die. In a few decades she will have evolved into a single human-sized wrinkle and preparing to hand over the throne to one of her great-great-great-grandchildren –who am I kidding, that last part will never happen. :P

Speaking of money, why is there even paper money in this day and age? I haven't touched a banknote in, errrr, half a year I guess? Maybe even a whole year by now. All the bills, groceries, diners, bike repairs etc. are paid digitally.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby orthogon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:30 am UTC

The Moomin wrote:
Lazar wrote:
@maniexx wrote:I like what the EU has done with our currency. Just some made up bridges.

They're real bridges now.


So does that make the town that built them a forgery as it is replicating banknotes?

That reminds me of a greeting card I once saw. It had a group of people in a river with a hay cart. The caption read "They were later arrested for impersonating a Constable".

cyanyoshi wrote:...By the way, can we please finally stop making pennies? Like, seriously. Why on earth hasn't that been done already?


That would make your coinage even more difficult to use, because of the quarter. Maybe you could replace that with a 20¢ coin?

ETA: I forgot about the nickel. Still, having a nickel and quarter but no penny would be problematic.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Znirk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:15 am UTC

Meanwhile, the Swiss national bank is getting rid of its only bill with a woman on it ... (artist Sophie Taeuber on the 50).

To be fair, the new series doesn't feature people at all; and if the woman gets the axe first, that's probably because the national bank likes to start with the 50 when issuing new series. Taeuber was also the first in the "artists" series to replace her scientist predecessor 20 years ago.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Diadem » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:21 am UTC

So as a non-American, I have to ask: Why is Tubman so important?

I don't think I had heard of her before reading about this campaign to put her on the $20,-. Maybe that's my lack of historic awareness, but reading her Wikipedia page she doesn't seem that important. Rescuing 70 slaves is not exactly something that changes the course of history. I'm not trying to belittle what she did, she obviously did more than most people ever will. But there's only a few spots on the currency. Surely there are women who had a much larger (positive) impact on US history?
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Diadem » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:30 am UTC

orthogon wrote:That would make your coinage even more difficult to use, because of the quarter. Maybe you could replace that with a 20¢ coin?

ETA: I forgot about the nickel. Still, having a nickel and quarter but no penny would be problematic.

Why? What's problematic about having 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ and $1. That's a very nice progression.

Yes, there's one combination there of coins that doesn't neatly fit (10¢ and 25¢). But you have that problem with every system that uses base 10. If your coins go 1, 2, 5, 10, then you also have that factor 2.5 in there.

What you of course should't do is drop the 1¢ without also dropping the 2¢. That'd be stupid. But unless I'm mistaken the US already does not have a 2¢ coin. So that's not an issue.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:45 am UTC

Morgan Wick wrote:If the new 20 isn't going to be ready by 2020, I agree with the guy who said ML King is more in keeping with the sorts of people we've put on our bills in the past than most of the contenders here. If we have to put a woman on, we've put Susan B. Anthony on currency before and she'd even fit with the stated reason people have for doing this.
So yet another man, or yet another racist white person, is what you're saying?
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby orthogon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:53 am UTC

Diadem wrote:What you of course should't do is drop the 1¢ without also dropping the 2¢. That'd be stupid. But unless I'm mistaken the US already does not have a 2¢ coin. So that's not an issue.

Ah, now I think about it, that's a good point. But yes, if you have 1,2 and 5 it's hard to drop the 1 without also dropping the 2, yet it's hard to swallow a factor of 5 loss of precision in one go. So you get a bit stuck.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:03 pm UTC

Yeah, we don't have two cent coins, which is actually kind of a bizarre concept to me. A number of nickels totaling to the dollar amount of a given number of pennies are better for breaking quarters than the pennies. Five cents US really is the smallest resolution needed for cash transactions, and it's been broadly proven that the pennies cost more in labor at the til than they're worth, even aside from costing more than their face value to make. They really, really do need to go, and the only holdup is that gut reaction.

gmalivuk wrote:
Morgan Wick wrote:If the new 20 isn't going to be ready by 2020, I agree with the guy who said ML King is more in keeping with the sorts of people we've put on our bills in the past than most of the contenders here. If we have to put a woman on, we've put Susan B. Anthony on currency before and she'd even fit with the stated reason people have for doing this.
So yet another man, or yet another racist white person, is what you're saying?

Even if the point is to choose historical figures who are perfectly immune to objection and whom we're willing to endorse as morally exemplary in all respects, which I still think is an absurd standard, I'd find it very difficult to argue against MLK; at the very least, leaving Tubman aside, there are people on our money right now who are less notable. Susan B. Anthony I see less. If you're just trying to efficiently represent minorities ... uh, don't, and move for more than one denomination to be changed.

Diadem wrote:So as a non-American, I have to ask: Why is Tubman so important?

I don't think I had heard of her before reading about this campaign to put her on the $20,-. Maybe that's my lack of historic awareness, but reading her Wikipedia page she doesn't seem that important. Rescuing 70 slaves is not exactly something that changes the course of history. I'm not trying to belittle what she did, she obviously did more than most people ever will. But there's only a few spots on the currency. Surely there are women who had a much larger (positive) impact on US history?

I think it's simply that she's an intersection representing an awful lot of things. Most directly, she's representing the people of her era doing the same work. Abolition and the underground railroad, etc. doesn't have a single figure to pin down to, but she's become a figurehead for them in retrospect.

Echo244 wrote:What if we make it about celebrating lives and achievements, rather than just the faces of our masters? I mean, we've moved on from a Kings and Battles model of history, haven't we?

No. We have presidents on our bills because other people already had kings on theirs. If we really want to get away with from and represent the nation, the people, and the broader history of stuff getting done, then I think wayne's on the right track in representing historic industries and natural resources.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:05 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So as a non-American, I have to ask: Why is Tubman so important?

I don't think I had heard of her before reading about this campaign to put her on the $20,-. Maybe that's my lack of historic awareness, but reading her Wikipedia page she doesn't seem that important. Rescuing 70 slaves is not exactly something that changes the course of history. I'm not trying to belittle what she did, she obviously did more than most people ever will. But there's only a few spots on the currency. Surely there are women who had a much larger (positive) impact on US history?
It's a symbol, of a kind there's possibly a dearth of.

Has Rosa Parks ever been seriously considered at all? (In the last ten years, if that's not too soon to be possibly knee-jerk popularism1.) A small act (though not personally) that arguably helped spark a large change. Or would she be more antagonistic than even Tubman to 'a certain sort', who probably deserve to be antagonised if that weren't perhaps beneath those more possessed of common sense.

But as also a non-American (not even a Canadian or Peruvian kind), I didn't know about Tubman (recognised the name, but might have been a different tubman in a different context). And perhaps that's better. US currency should feature a US icon, but not necessarily a world icon already of common *ahem* currency.

But now (with a little help from Randall, if not actually the US Treasury) I know something new. It's always a good day when that happens...


1 Not that it would necessarily invalidate things. But I bet if you held a poll right now about best musicians of all time, Bowie and Prince would get higher ratings than a poll of one year ago or one year hence (still fairly high, though). Undue notable imminence is probably why there's rules like "not living" or "more than 50 years dead" in these things. Then you only have to worry about cultural cycles and notable anniversaries bringing an artficial dominance of one historical figure above an (on average) equally valid historical figure whose xeniths and nadirs are out of synch with the first.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:12 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So as a non-American, I have to ask: Why is Tubman so important?

I don't think I had heard of her before reading about this campaign to put her on the $20,-. Maybe that's my lack of historic awareness, but reading her Wikipedia page she doesn't seem that important. Rescuing 70 slaves is not exactly something that changes the course of history. I'm not trying to belittle what she did, she obviously did more than most people ever will. But there's only a few spots on the currency. Surely there are women who had a much larger (positive) impact on US history?
Fortunately, there's no need to take your ignorance or poor skimming abilities into account when making decisions like this.

What would you know about Jackson, do you think, if he weren't already on the 20? Hamilton?

And Wikipedia says she rescued 70 *families* across thirteen missions, and led an armed campaign that freed 700 slaves all in one go. So the number is probably more like 1000.

And sure, MLK would *also* be appropriate, but the survey was about putting a woman on a bill, and Tubman was the most popular choice.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:43 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:We have presidents on our bills because other people already had kings on theirs.
Not the current Head of State, though. That would be awkward as new incumbents need daguerotyping every 8, 4 or (occasionally, unless the incoming VP's visage is sorted at the same time as the incoming boss, and put aside 'just in case') at even shorter notice, so probably a good decision.

As such, it appears to me that you're subscribing to the Historic Figures meme with the quite specific requirement that one historic figure upon the currency should specifically be one of them there dead presidents. And as long as bills aren't being refreshed more frequently than once every eight years, for as long as the current (small-d) democratic process continues, there's no danger of running out of a choice of prior incumbants to argue over as their historic and modern suitability waxes and wanes with respect to each other.

Then you pad the artwork on one side or the other with other figures. And, regardless of the comic-depicted decision, by all rights there ought to be a good few women represented in that cadre on the bills issued between now and the time at which (potentially) the 45th president becomes an option under the first selection process whoever that might be.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby orthogon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:02 pm UTC

Omegaman wrote:What are the security arguments for not being able to issue bills in a different order? I'm kind of with Randal on this one-- this seems like an easy problem to solve...

Completely different thing, but in the UK when banknotes and coins are re-designed, a given denomination generally gets smaller, presumably to reflect the reduced real value. This does impose some constraints on the order in which you can do things, because you ensmallen, say, the 10p, it will end up almost the same size as the existing 5p and cause confusion. US banknotes are all the same size and colour iirc, so that wouldn't be an issue; you have to look at the note carefully anyway.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:16 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:As such, it appears to me that you're subscribing to the Historic Figures meme with the quite specific requirement that one historic figure upon the currency should specifically be one of them there dead presidents.
I'm not sure how literally you mean "you" and whether or not I'm missing something, but what I said was that any select cadre of representative notable figures is inherently following a "kings and battles" model of history. If you mean something else by "historical figures meme", I've missed it.

gmalivuk wrote:And sure, MLK would *also* be appropriate, but the survey was about putting a woman on a bill, and Tubman was the most popular choice.
And to be clear, I'm not objecting to Tubman, and I'm glad it's happening. Your response to Morgan Wick implied a rather different attitude toward the whole thing.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:51 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:As such, it appears to me that you're subscribing to the Historic Figures meme with the quite specific requirement that one historic figure upon the currency should specifically be one of them there dead presidents.
I'm not sure how literally you mean "you" and whether or not I'm missing something, but what I said was that any select cadre of representative notable figures is inherently following a "kings and battles" model of history. If you mean something else by "historical figures meme", I've missed it.

"You"=="your country". I was using the plural-"you" for the collective-"we" of your your own post. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

And it was the (sub)meme of using past presidents that I was refering to, clumsily. Perhaps I should have said "theme", except that it appears more of a compulsive idea than merely "right now, let's use flowers/birds/architecture of our nation, at least until we revamp."

And while I can understand Isaac Newton being a 'king' of his speciality, and Florence Nightingale a 'queen' of hers, or reasons to consider their personal strivings to be 'battles' (or Florence's actual near-battle experiences may count) its quite far from a literal "kings and battles" thing with UK currency, besides the obligatory monarch herself. And it has been generations since we've had a true Battle Monarch (I forget which one, right now) even if heirs-and-spares have been getting very real experience in the armed services whilst in waiting.

I can't speak for all countries, or all of the historic versions in ours, but our currency is illustrated by notable figures and symbols not actually so much "kings and battles" beyond the slimmest of coincidental or individual connections. (Unless you count actual Coats Of Arms?)

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Znirk » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:25 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:So as a non-American, ...

What would you know about Jackson, do you think, if he weren't already on the 20? Hamilton?

Not the person you're talking to, but speaking as another non-American I wasn't aware that Jackson or Hamilton were on bills at all.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Keyman » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:04 pm UTC

Znirk wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
Diadem wrote:So as a non-American, ...

What would you know about Jackson, do you think, if he weren't already on the 20? Hamilton?

Not the person you're talking to, but speaking as another non-American I wasn't aware that Jackson or Hamilton were on bills at all.
I'm an USA-ian, and unless I'm actually looking at them, I never remember which one is on which one either. :|
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby mathmannix » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:31 pm UTC

Netreker0 wrote:On the other hand, Andrew Jackson was a stone cold badass. The man won a duel against a superior marksman by devising the "let him shoot first and miss so I can take my time aiming strategy." Naturally, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, but Jackson still won by employing the "survive getting shot first, then shoot him to death" strategy. Then there was the time where, as President, he survived an assassination attempt and had to be pulled off the would be assassin as he tried to beat him to death with his cane. (Another badass fact, he carried a cane.) There's no scientific evidence for this assertion, but I firmly believe the assassin's guns both misfired because they were afraid of Andrew Jackson. Also, he threw raging cheese parties at the White House.

You know who else was a badass, and who is almost assuredly the greatest U.S. President never to appear on currency (other than his own $1 coin, but that doesn't really count.)? Theodore Roosevelt. I think he should be on the $20.

Look at the rankings on Wikipedia or any other site
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historica ... ted_States
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mo ... ver-rated/ (which is in the wikipedia article)
I mean, you have other rankings like this one
http://www.gallup.com/poll/146183/ameri ... ident.aspx
that show Reagan as the greatest President, and I personally like Reagan, but he didn't make the top 5 of any of the lists quoted in Wikipedia - and to be fair, there should probably be a 50-year wait before a President can be on the list, to show that his legacy isn't fleeting.

Currently, there are two non-Presidents on paper U.S. currency - Alexander Hamilton (on the $10) and Benjamin Franklin (on the $100.) While neither were President, they were both founding fathers and very important in the early history of our country. Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury and the founder of the nation's financial system, as others have pointed out, so he deserves to stay. Benjamin Franklin was just an awesome person and I won't even bother trying to sum him up here, so look him up if you have no idea.

The other non-President currently on currency is the Native American woman Sacajawea (on the non-Presidential dollar coins). (Wikipedia seems to indicate that Sacajawea dollars are still being produced; I wasn't sure. Dollar coins are not that popular in the U.S.)

Anyway, here are the aggregate greatest Presidents and what currency they are currently (semi-permanently) on:

Code: Select all

Rank  President (order)             Current currency
 1    Abraham Lincoln (16th)        1¢ (penny), $5 bill
 2    Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd)  10¢ (dime)
 3    George Washington (1st)       25¢ (quarter), $1 bill
 4    Thomas Jefferson (3rd)        5¢ (nickel), $2 bill (rarely used)
 5    Theodore Roosevelt (26th)     NONE
 6    Harry S. Truman (33rd)        NONE
 7    Woodrow Wilson (28th)         NONE (was on the non-circulated $100,000 bill in the 1930's!)
 8    Andrew Jackson (7th)          $20 bill
 9    Dwight Eisenhower (34th)      NONE (was on the $1 coin in the 1970's)
10    James K. Polk (11th)          NONE
11    John F. Kennedy (35th)        50¢ coin (half-dollar, rarely used)
...
36    Ulysses S. Grant (18th)       $50 bill
...


You have to scroll down a bit to find Grant, who of course was the Civil War hero, but not really that great of a President. I'd be fine replacing him on the $50 bill, maybe with Wilson.

Wilson would be a good choice to put (back) on a bill, as would Eisenhower. Polk was one of our most underrated Presidents, just listen to the song by They Might Be Giants. Truman is controversial (like Jackson), primarily for dropping the bombs on Japan, which many (especially younger) people today think was wrong / unnecessary.

Also note that the four Presidents chosen in the 1920's to be carved into Mount Rushmore are the top four on the list, excluding Franklin Roosevelt who hadn't been President yet. (He would most certainly have been carved there, possibly instead of his cousin, had it been made 20 years later.)

[EDITED because I stupidly completely forgot Benjamin Franklin and had Grant on the $100 bill.]
Last edited by mathmannix on Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:51 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Flumble » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:32 pm UTC

Today I learned: as the EU is a mishmash of exceptions and the occasional rule (nothing new there), one can pay with euros not only in the usual microstates (of which Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican aren't even in the EU), but also all the way in Montenegro and Kosovo. Originally, after the break-up of Yugoslavia, the countries received a lot of German marks to relieve them of potential pressure from Serbia's/Yugoslavia's dinar. So when Germany adopted the euro, Montenegro and Kosovo switched over too.

(While I've heard about countries adopting foreigner currencies like the USD, it never occured to me that some countries would want to adopt the EUR)

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby campboy » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:55 pm UTC

RogueCynic wrote:Does that 1/5 figure include her majesty?

No. And arguably that figure is misleading anyway since there are only four banknotes. (It's only 1/5 because two men share the £50.)

The current controversy in the UK is not principally about the ratio, though. The issue is that the next two scheduled changes feature the £5 going from a woman to a man and the £10 going from a man to a woman in that order, which means there will be a brief period with no women (other than the Queen).

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Omegaman » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:11 pm UTC

Morgan Wick wrote:
Omegaman wrote:What are the security arguments for not being able to issue bills in a different order? I'm kind of with Randal on this one-- this seems like an easy problem to solve...

From what I've read, the 10 has gone the longest without a redesign, which makes it the top target for counterfeiters. It's basically as simple as that.

Ok, that explains why we have to redesign the 10, but doesn't explain why we can't redesign the 20... These guys print money for a living, they can't hire an art student to draw a picture of Tubman? Or put Tubman on the 10, and then Hamilton on the 20 later.

Or can we make everyone happy by just putting Hamilton in drag?

Copper Bezel wrote:Yeah, we don't have two cent coins, which is actually kind of a bizarre concept to me. A number of nickels totaling to the dollar amount of a given number of pennies are better for breaking quarters than the pennies. Five cents US really is the smallest resolution needed for cash transactions, and it's been broadly proven that the pennies cost more in labor at the til than they're worth, even aside from costing more than their face value to make. They really, really do need to go, and the only holdup is that gut reaction.

I think it would be easier to just devalue the currency by a factor of 5... People are too stupid to round to the nearest 5, and don't bother mentioning that what we're talking about is an integer number of hundredths of a dollar because that's way too much for people to think about.

Tell people that they don't need 100 coins to a dollar, and they freak out. Tell people that's it's really much easier to use metric than to remember there are 12 inches in a foot and 16 cups in a gallon and they freak out. It's an odd situation we find ourselves in.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby schrecht » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:31 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:
mvpxiv wrote:Being not in the USA I don't quite get the reference, could somebody link to what it refers to?

Thanks!
The "Trail of Tears" was a forced relocation of Native Americans in which ten thousand people died from exposure, starvation, and other affects of the relocation. The event was also exceptional in that the Supreme Court had ruled the relocation unlawful.

Andrew Jackson (aka King Andrew) was a president who greatly expanded the powers of the US executive. He is considered especially responsible for the trail of tears. He is on the US $20 bill, which is the bills ATMs most frequently dispense.


It's these two items (going ahead with the illegal relocation, and expanding the powers of the presidency) which cause me the most amusement in a hah-hah-look-at-the-blatant-hypocrites way when I observe the set of people who have been frothing at the mouth over the possibility he'd be removed. They _talk_ like they care about the constitution and the rule of law, but really, they completely don't.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:51 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:(While I've heard about countries adopting foreigner currencies like the USD, it never occured to me that some countries would want to adopt the EUR)
Certainly around the borders, it would be logical enough given the chance for the payee to make their own transactions with euro (<~correctly pluralised, correctly capitalised, for the non-symbol English usage, fascinatingly...) either still outside the borders or on his or her own next trip into the eurozone.

Spoiler:
Doesn't happen so much in the mainland UK, except in 'touristy' shops in 'touristy' cities (London, Edinburgh, not sure about anywhere else) for a number of reasons. For one thing, no 'easy' land border (not that land borders are getting easier, right now, what with the migrant crisis making countries (literally and figuratively) put up fresh barriers), and that's why I excluded Northern Ireland, above. We also don't currently have a culture of barter or 'casual' sales, and a listed price is generally a listed price, if it's not an exclusive boutique with exclusive customers who get exclusive discounts for having already shown wiing to spend lots on already heavily marked-up (and 'exclusive') goods. And this extends to worrying about a rarely seen' monopoly money' (it happened in France, in the early days of the Euro!) of unsure exchange rate that would almost certainly neex to be put through the account books (or at least some account books, if it's not so straight-laced after all).


And the USDollar is 'just' a doubly-fiat currency, really. It's worth something in the US because the citizens trust that it's worth something, and it's become a 'trusted' currency in places across the world (often above local currencies... Zimbabwean Dollars, anyone?) because, if nothing else, it's perceived to be trusted by Americans. Maybe. Certainly the US Government have never overly rocked the boat like other nations have, in devaluing or replacing their own species of cash. Which is a hard act to keep up.

(ETA: Noting that this probably rules out the 'devaluing the currency by a factor of five' move, suggested above while I was still editing this. However, I remember my first trip to Denmark where the smallest coin was the 5 ore (struck-through 'o', but I forget which way!) which was tinier and possibly even less valuable than the 1/2p coin... It' seems possible to 'lose the small change down the back of the sofa' , at a national level.. The 1/2p coin (GBP0.005!) was done away with, itself, as the lowest value coin in the post-Decimalisation collection.)

That and the link to international oil sales and similar 'globals' make it an almost uniquely portable currency, although when a country's ties to the US have become strained (e.g. Iran, Venezuala) there has been a shift towards alternatives to the petrodollar, including the euro. Nthing that's stuck, though, and I don't foresee a permanent change anytime soon.

That said, it's possible that current uncertainties get solved with the euro (or A N Other currency... Renminbi?) whilst the dollar loses its current luster.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby ijuin » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:03 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Echo244 wrote:What if we make it about celebrating lives and achievements, rather than just the faces of our masters? I mean, we've moved on from a Kings and Battles model of history, haven't we?
I half-recollect that British currency only allows the current (as of minting/printing) monarchical image upon it, thus prior rulers cannot feature. (Not sure about Oliver Cromwell, but I don't see him being used anyway, certainly not on the currency of future King Charles III. Albeit probably taking George VII as his name, if/when that happens.)

Or I might be mixing that up with the stamps. Including the fact that stamps featuring the Queen on them (photographically) do not even bear her queen's-head 'sygil', normally1, but instead a replacement 'crown' symbol to perform the same function in the only stamps, worldwide, that do not bear the name of the issuing nation.


But that's the UK. No dead presidents2, just (initially) live royals. Another interesting and partially paradoxical difference between our nations.


United States law prohibits putting a person on currency until a minimum number of years have passed since that person's death. This was deliberately instituted in order to prevent politicians or other figures from campaigning to put their own faces on it. The early Republic was very adamant about eschewing the imagery and trappings of royalty, since they had after all fought a war in order to NOT have a king.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby operagost » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:27 pm UTC

Netreker0 wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:
mvpxiv wrote:Being not in the USA I don't quite get the reference, could somebody link to what it refers to?

Thanks!
The "Trail of Tears" was a forced relocation of Native Americans in which ten thousand people died from exposure, starvation, and other affects of the relocation. The event was also exceptional in that the Supreme Court had ruled the relocation unlawful.

Andrew Jackson (aka King Andrew) was a president who greatly expanded the powers of the US executive. He is considered especially responsible for the trail of tears. He is on the US $20 bill, which is the bills ATMs most frequently dispense.

Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who spend her free life helping other slaves escape.


I'm torn. Andrew Jackson was a huge (and hugely effective) statist as you mention, an imperialistic expansionist, and probably something of a racist. (Not sure if he seemed exceptionally racist compared to most guys at the pub back then, but non-whites didn't fare too well under his policies. Then again, you could chalk that up to the whole expansionism thing, too.)

On the other hand, Andrew Jackson was a stone cold badass. The man won a duel against a superior marksman by devising the "let him shoot first and miss so I can take my time aiming strategy." Naturally, no plan survives first contact with the enemy, but Jackson still won by employing the "survive getting shot first, then shoot him to death" strategy. Then there was the time where, as President, he survived an assassination attempt and had to be pulled off the would be assassin as he tried to beat him to death with his cane. (Another badass fact, he carried a cane.) There's no scientific evidence for this assertion, but I firmly believe the assassin's guns both misfired because they were afraid of Andrew Jackson. Also, he threw raging cheese parties at the White House.

You forgot to mention that he spent much of his tenure trying to dismantle the system that the guy on the $10 engineered.

In fact, refusing to re-charter the Second Bank of the US was probably the greatest thing he did, although the way he did it was pretty messy.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby operagost » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:35 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:So as a non-American, I have to ask: Why is Tubman so important?

I don't think I had heard of her before reading about this campaign to put her on the $20,-. Maybe that's my lack of historic awareness, but reading her Wikipedia page she doesn't seem that important. Rescuing 70 slaves is not exactly something that changes the course of history. I'm not trying to belittle what she did, she obviously did more than most people ever will. But there's only a few spots on the currency. Surely there are women who had a much larger (positive) impact on US history?

Indeed, while Tubman was a hero, Frederick Douglass may have accomplished more lasting results just as an adviser to President Lincoln-- but it's the feminists who are being noisy right now, so they get the grease. They never did like him because while he was very vocal about wanting suffrage for both black people and women simultaneously, he accepted the initial step of the former through the 15th Amendment. Heck, he even married a feminist.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:45 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:The only non-President currently on a bill is Alexander Hamilton (on the $10 bill), but he was the first Secretary of the Treasury and the founder of the nation's financial system, as others have pointed out, so he deserves to stay. The other non-President currently on currency is the Native American woman Sacajawea (on the non-Presidential dollar coins). (Wikipedia seems to indicate that Sacajawea dollars are still being produced; I wasn't sure. Dollar coins are not that popular in the U.S.)

I think you're forgetting Ben Franklin.

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Re: 1672: "Women on 20s"

Postby operagost » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:49 pm UTC

BTW, HELL to the NO on putting Wilson on any currency (Wilson was actually on a very high denomination bill used in the Treasury system, I believe).

Wilson was a fan of "Birth of a Nation", signed off on the income tax and Federal Reserve system, got us into WWI after campaigning on NOT getting us into WWI, and oversaw the persecution of war objectors by signing the Espionage and Sedition acts.

I won't go so far as calling him a villain, but OK screw it, he was a villain.


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