A $50 Debate: Grant v. Reagan

Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan (AP images)

Ulysses S. Grant fought the Civil War and saved the Union. Ronald Reagan took on the Cold War and brought his “Morning in America.”

Now, a push in Congress would bump Grant off the fifty dollar bill, and put Reagan on. 

“Every generation needs its own heroes,” says the bill’s sponsor, North Carolina Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry. For him, Reagan Airport in Washington is not enough. He wants the fifty for the 4oth president. 

Weighing worthiness for a spot on the currency is tricky business. We give it a try.

This Hour, On Point: Reagan versus Grant, for the fifty dollar bill.


Sean Wilentz, professor of history at Princeton University. Author of “The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008” and “The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln.” He recently wrote a defense in the New York Times of keeping Ulysses S. Grant on the $50 bill.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and author of “Leave Us Alone – Getting the Government’s Hands off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives.”

Further thoughts:

On Point’s staff was playing around with what a new Ronald Reagan $50 bill might look like. It’s probably not up to U.S. Mint standards — and maybe an older Reagan would appear — but here’s one take:

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