Money Talks: Learning from the Founders

IMG_1176-0.JPGYes money talks, or more accurately for this post, currency does. I began thinking recently that there was a lot of wisdom in the founding fathers of this great country and several of those founding fathers have their faces on our paper currency.

As time marches on and the history of our country lengthens, the history books used in schools have less page space to dedicate to early American history. In addition to that, there is a very small but very vocal minority of educators and agitators that take joy in tearing down this country’s heroes of old and make sure we all know how awful they were or how awful they would like us to believe the founders were. No one is perfect of course and the founders of the United States were flawed people just like you and I. But to focus solely on the flaws is to miss the amazing things they accomplished and the wisdom that they can teach us.

To that end I began to wonder if perhaps writing a short quote from the historical figure pictured on whatever currency note is in my grasp might be a way to share some of that wisdom. I should note here that the US government has a law in place in regards to defacing currency in such a way as to make it unusable or not able to be reissued and you should read it entirely before proceeding. While I would not presume to offer legal advice to anyone, I’ve never heard of the government going after any of the Where’s George people.

The point of what I am trying to say is that much of America seems to be bent on moving forward without care to what direction is being chosen by elected officials or what the final destination might be. It also seems easy enough to assume that for the majority of Americans, money and the pursuit of it is very central to their world view. Whether the pursuit of it takes the form of working hard to obtain it or hardly working and getting it from the government. Either way, money is the one thing left in America that we all still have in common.

At a time when politicians and the media take great joy in creating uncertainty and anxiety and separating us by beliefs, by color, by gender, or whatever else the current hot button social issue is, money, the idea of obtaining it, is the great unifier.

With that in mind, why not let the wisdom of great Americans like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant impart some small nuggets of wisdom to your fellow Americans? Ask yourself, is it the type of wisdom that they are likely to find in many other places in current society?

Want to get started? It is pretty simple, just type the name of the person on your currency in a search engine followed by the word “quotes.” There are many quote websites available to choose from.

If someone were to start marking their currency, even after reading the law mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, a good rule of thumb might be to choose quotes that are short enough to fit on the bill without obstructing anything important to verifying the bill’s authenticity. Perhaps on the back side in an out of the way place.

There is a wealth of wisdom hidden in the pages of history. Perhaps through this small idea, some bits of that treasure can come to light and spur an interest in someone to dig deeper.