Teaching Students About the Figure on the $10 Dollar Bill: Exploring Historical Currency Portraits
Teaching students about the historical figures portrayed on currency is an excellent way to promote financial literacy while learning about the influential people who have shaped the nation. One such figure is prominently displayed on the United States ten-dollar bill. So, who is on the $10 bill? Let’s explore the life and significance of Alexander Hamilton, the founding father featured on this widely-used banknote.
Alexander Hamilton: The Man on the $10 Bill
Alexander Hamilton was born in Charlestown, Nevis, in the West Indies, on January 11, 1755. He was orphaned at a young age and faced numerous challenges throughout his childhood. Nevertheless, he proved to be an intelligent and hardworking individual, earning a scholarship to study at King’s College (now known as Columbia University) in New York City.
Hamilton’s role in the American Revolution:
Hamilton became an early supporter of American independence and joined the Hearts of Oak, a militia company of King’s College students. He soon caught the attention of George Washington, who appointed him as an aide-de-camp with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the Revolutionary War. In this position, Hamilton played a crucial role in organizing military strategies and maintaining correspondence with political leaders.
Founding Father and Political Reforms:
Following the Revolution, Alexander Hamilton continued to shape American history through his political leadership and advocacy for economic stability. As one of America’s founding fathers, he was instrumental in ratifying the United States Constitution.
One of his most significant accomplishments was serving as America’s first Secretary of the Treasury. He established the foundation for a strong national economy by creating a national bank, consolidating state debts, establishing an import tariff system, and developing taxation policies. These reforms helped transform America into an economic powerhouse and ultimately earned him his place on the ten-dollar bill.
When teaching students about Alexander Hamilton and the significance of his portrait on the ten-dollar bill, consider the following strategies:
Historical context: Begin with a brief overview of American history during Hamilton’s time. Discuss his role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States.
In-depth analysis: Dive deeper into the specific accomplishments and policies that Hamilton implemented as Secretary of the Treasury. Discuss how these reforms continue to impact America’s financial landscape today.
Multimedia approach: Use documentaries, musicals, or movies, such as “Hamilton: An American Musical” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, to engage students in a unique and entertaining way while learning about Alexander Hamilton’s life and legacy.
Debate/activity: Encourage students to research other founding fathers or historical figures from that time period. Organize a classroom debate as to who else might be deserving of recognition on a banknote.
By teaching students about Alexander Hamilton and his role in American history, educators not only promote financial literacy but also instill a sense of pride and appreciation for the individuals who have shaped our nation’s past. Students will be better equipped to understand the impact of historical figures on contemporary society and the value of perseverance through challenging circumstances – just like Alexander Hamilton did more than two centuries ago.