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Letter: Hamilton doesn't belong on $10

An uncut sheet of the redesigned $10 bill

An uncut sheet of the redesigned $10 bill is seen after a news conference to commemorate the first day of circulation of the new notes at the National Archives March 2, 2006 in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images / Alex Wong

Alexander Hamilton's portrait doesn't deserve to be on the $10 bill ["Pass the sawbuck to Roosevelt, poll shows," News, Aug. 6].

Hamilton attempted to kill the then-serving vice president of the United States, Aaron Burr, a long-standing enemy who had challenged Hamilton to a duel. As Hamilton was a poor shot, I will not belabor this issue.

The second reason is that Hamilton greatly enhanced his friends' wealth while serving as secretary of the treasury. He advocated and then implemented a law authorizing the federal government to assume debts that the states had incurred during the Revolutionary War. These debts were promissory notes that Continental Army soldiers received as pay. The securities were then sold on the open market for as little as 20 cents on the dollar.

The assumption of debt greatly enriched Hamilton's close friends, including Christopher Gore, Rufus King, Philip Schuyler and William Duer, although it's believed that Hamilton personally didn't benefit.

When Hamilton resigned as secretary of the treasury, he had become wealthy enough to build a large estate, Hamilton Grange, in New York City. It was sold in 1833 for $25,000, which translates to more than $600,000 today.

Chet Gerstenbluth, Plainview