Why the Government Is Redesigning the $10 Bill

PHOTO: An uncut sheet of the redesigned $10 bill is seen at the National Archives.PlayAlex Wong/Getty Images
WATCH 'Hamilton' Star Tweets About Future of $10 Bill

The renewed interest in Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Treasury secretary, is giving the current Treasury chief a headache.

The Treasury chief, Jacob Lew, is trying to follow through on his pledge last year to honor a woman on the $10 bill without wiping Hamilton off the currency entirely, where he has been featured since 1929. Hamilton has been getting a lot of attention in part because of the excitement over the hit Broadway musical "Hamilton."

Lew said this week he is getting closer to making a final decision on the redesign of the $10 bill but has offered no hints on whom will appear on the bill.

Treasury launched a website where the public could submit suggestions. The Treasury also accepted submissions on Twitter via the hashtag #TheNew10. Still, the bill's new design won't go into circulation until 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.

Who are the possible candidates?

A grassroots effort is pushing the Obama administration to put a woman on paper currency. Candidates receiving considerable attention include former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt; African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman; civil rights icon Rosa Parks; suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to serve as chief of the Cherokee Nation.

There is just one requirement -- only deceased individuals are allowed to appear by law on U.S. banknotes.

Has a woman ever been featured in the past?

A woman's portrait hasn't appeared on U.S. paper currency since Martha Washington was on a dollar silver certificate from 1891 to 1896. Pocahontas was featured on U.S. paper money from 1865 to 1869 and the portraits of both Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea have graced dollar coins.

Why is the $10 bill redesign happening?

A redesign of the $10 bill was already in the works as part of an upgrade to assist the blind and visually impaired. Government agencies that oversee the design process recommended starting with the $10 bill in 2013, and presented a plan that could place the bill in circulation as early as 2020.

What happens to Alexander Hamilton?

Treasury officials say that Hamilton is not totally disappearing from bill. Hamilton's image is expected to be retained in some way on the $10 bill redesign, but how remains unclear.