Friday, January 11, 2013

Alexander Hamilton

In paying for food with a ten dollar bill, I wondered aloud who was on the ten dollar bill. It's sad that I don't know. It turns out it's Alexander Hamilton.

Me: "Why is Alexander Hamilton on the ten dollar bill?"

Husband: "I don't know... wasn't he the President?"

Me: "No."

Husband: "Are you sure? I thought that Benjamin Franklin was the only non-President who's on money."

Me: "I'm pretty sure Alexander Hamilton was never President."

Husband: "Well, he did something. Maybe signed the Declaration of Independence."

Me: "All I know is that he was shot by Aaron Burr in that duel. And I only know that because of that commercial."

Pretty sad that the knowledge two adults have of American history comes almost exclusively from a milk commercial.

Tangentially related funny story:

Back in high school, my brother wrote a paper on Alexander Hamilton, which I happened to notice on the computer a few days after he handed it in. I'm not sure what compelled me to read this paper, but it was pretty unintentionally funny. The most hilarious thing I remember about the paper was that halfway through, he suddenly started calling him "Mark Hamilton" for no apparent reason. I guess he got him confused with Mark Hammil or something?


  1. True story: A Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor was running the 'Collectors' badge and using her son's coin/money collection as an example. She knew everything about it because she expected herself to be knowledgeable about everything he did. (or, because she made it his hobby and was a helicopter mom)

    Anyhow - she was showing how to display paper currancy and talked about the history of it, including the fact that you had to be a president to be on American money. "What about Ben Franklin?" asked the history buff. "He was president. He must have been, he is on the $5 bill." The adults spent the rest of the meeting trying to name other folks who are on money who were never president - and never took her seriously again. She spent the rest of the meeting telling us we were wrong instead of leading the group.

    And, if there are any Boy Scouts reading this - I know you aren't supposed to do MB's at a reg meeting, but she insisted the program was wrong and that was how it should be run.


  2. So apparently Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of Treasury. Given that that office is kind of in charge of money, I can totally understand why he got put on the bill. He's also been on a ton of different bills, including the $2, $5, $10, and $50 notes.

  3. Well, you could always read books on American history instead of chick literature, which is worthless. Just saying. ;)

    1. Or you could always keep your judgmental mouth shut, because it's rude. Just saying. ;)

    2. You mean, like you?

    3. Thanks, Anon@3:32 for defending me :)

      It's not clear to me that reading American history is less worthless for a physician than chick lit. I could see your argument if you told me I ought to read JAMA or something, but history?? Really? I've had dozens of conversations at work involving books I've read and made friendships based on that. Not worthless. I can't see how reading a book about early American history would help me in any way or improve my life. It would actually make my life worse, since I find it terribly dull.

  4. Salmon P. Chase is on the $10,000 - he's also on a 1 1/4C stamp. Also a Secretary of Treasury.

    1. Is there a $10.000 bill in the USA? I thought it ended at 1000.

  5. Hamilton created the national bank.

  6. Hamilton basically created the U.S. economy and was in many respects the de facto president when Washington was in office. He was Washington's brain and right hand. There's a terrific biography of him by Chernow.