For Americans, we look to Washington, Franklin, Madison, Adams, and most importantly to this blog, Thomas Jefferson.
Our country’s love affair with our Founding Fathers has lasted, for the most part, well past our bicentennial. Our towns, cities, schools, streets, buildings – all bear the name of our most famous signers, framers, and architects.
But then again, nearly anybody can get a street or stadium named after them. To truly gauge the impact of the Founding Fathers on Americans today you need only look to what most Americans hold dearest….their wallets.
Our paper money features the likenesses of former (and deceased) U.S. Presidents, with the exeption of the $100 bill featuring Benjamin Franklin. Though it existed pre-Independence, the dollar became the basic unit of dinero from the Coinage Act of 1792, largely on the efforts of Alexander Hamilton, who at that time was the Secretary of the Treasury.
$1 – The one dollar bill
Mr. Washington was not the first face to adorn a single (that honor went to Secretary of Treasury, Salmon P. Chase), but Mrs. Washington was the first woman to appear on one. $1 bills make up about half of the bills produced and last on average a little under two years.
$2 – The two dollar bill
For more on Mr. Jefferson’s bills, go here.
$5 – The five dollar bill
$10- The ten dollar bill
Check out Snopes for an interesting link to $20 bills and 9/11
$100 – The hundred dollar bill
“All about the Gouverneurs” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “all about the Benjamins”. Its hard to imagine a Founding Father who wasn’t a President more deserving to be honored than Mr. Franklin. As with most bills, he wasn’t the first to appear on them, only finding a permanent place in 1914. It is the largest U.S. currency in circulation since 1969. It also has the longest “lifespan” of dollar bills, averaging over 7 years.
Check back in again for more of Founding Fathers and money.