But the question of importance in this post is which President would I want to emblazon on said bill or coin?
Or course, I suppose, it doesn't have to be an American President. The Silver Dollar has Susan B. Anthony on it, and the Golden Dollar coin has Sacagawea. I also remind you that it's Alexander Hamilton (non-President) on our $10 bill. And as is widely known, Salmon P. Chase, the 25th U.S. Treasury Secretary, adorns our $10,000 bill.
I'm not particularly open to having a non-President, but I would think there should be standard of rules to narrow the choice down:
- the individual must be a natural born citizen (which would exclude Albert Einstein, Bob Hope and Michael J. Fox)
- the individual must be significant in our national history (which would exclude Stephen Foster, Patty Hearst or Paris Hilton)
- the individual must have a recognizable face (which would exclude Chief Justice John Marshall, Henry David Thoreau, or Thomas Payne)
With those criteria I suppose I could select someone like: Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Martin Luther King Jr., or Elvis Presley.
But I would prefer that my proposed coin or bill have an American President on it. It just seems like the right thing. And listen, there probably is only a handful of people who would prefer to see a baseball player represent our legal tender, but the President just seems like the right image.
So which President should I choose? Which would you choose?
I'm going to limit my Presidential pick to the twentieth century. Here's my reasoning. JFK has already been given the half dollar. If we couldn't think of any previous President to honor with the 50 cent piece before JFK surely we should just forget about them in terms of coinage. But I also understand that the JFK coin, first minted in 1964, was somewhat of a coin minting knee jerk reaction to the November 1963 assassination. That being the case I'll keep my options open to the 20th century. I'm also leaving the last two Presidents (Bush and Obama) off of my list of candidates. They're too recent.
So here is the list of 20th Century Presidents:
William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton.
Now, let's subtract those who only served one term in office (or in the case of McKinley, Harding or Kennedy only part of a term).
This leaves us ten options.
Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
I can now continue to narrow my choice down by eliminating...
- crooks (honestly, we can't reward a crook)
- a President during my lifetime (still seems to recent)
- a President who might be hated another country purely because of war time decisions
- the lack of a quickly recognizable face
- any who already have a coin
This leaves me with Teddy Roosevelt. And if possible I'd like this photo to be on my bill or coin.
One last thing I should mention in this incredibly pointless post. I would want my coin or bill to be worth $6.47. Seriously, why do I care? I use a debit card or the internet to pay for everything.