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Bill Pascrell Comes to Alexander Hamilton's Defense

Pascrell has come to the defense of Hamilton. (Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least one member of Congress is coming to the defense of Alexander Hamilton.  

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., is prodding Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew to reverse course on his plan to reduce the presence of the first occupant of that office and instead take the historic step of putting a woman on the $20, supplanting President Andrew Jackson.  

"I question the decision to remove Hamilton from the ten dollar bill while President Andrew Jackson continues to be featured on the twenty dollar bill. I am a lifelong yellow dog Democrat. While President Jackson is celebrated for founding the modern Democratic Party, his populist achievements and his military prowess, he was also a slaveholder responsible for the Trail of Tears, which forced southeastern Native American tribes into mass migrations westward during the 1830s, resulting in thousands of Native American deaths," wrote Pascrell. "The United States has a painful history in its treatment of Native Americans, which President Jackson contributed to, and we are still working to rectify the horrific actions taken."  

Pascrell also referred to Jackson's opposition to the re-charter of the Second Bank of the United States, which Jackson vetoed in one of the more famous such messages in the country's history.  

It's no surprise the Democrat from Paterson, N.J., would take up Hamilton's cause, as it was Hamilton who was noted for founding Pascrell's hometown back in 1792.  

The Treasury Department had indicated the decision was made to feature a woman on the next $10 bill because of that denomination's stage in the redesign process.  

"I understand this decision was made with the goal of having a new bill in circulation before the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. While I appreciate the significance of coordinating the release of the new bill with the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, this decision should not be made at the expense of featuring the most worthy Americans on our currency," Pascrell wrote.

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