Today we learned that Hamilton is staying on the $10 bill, while Harriett Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. The popularity of the musical Hamilton played a role, but equally important has been a broader shift in reputations, which the musical itself is an outgrowth of. Liberals used to think of Hamilton as an elitist servant of wealth and Jackson as the champion of the common man. But in recent years there’s been a renewed appreciation of Hamilton’s belief in government intervention, alongside greater condemnation of Jackson for his racism, slave ownership, and genocidal policies against Native Americans.
Hillary Clinton is in a good position to claim the newly celebrated Hamilton as a precursor. After all, he was a cosmopolitan New Yorker, an ally of finance capital, a foreign policy hawk, a believer in the power of the federal government, and more liberal on racial matters than most of his contemporaries (although the extent of his opposition to slavery has been overstated). Clinton herself seems to be aware of the affinity, since she quoted lyrics from Hamilton in a tweet last November: