I love the idea of dollar coins, and I miss the pound and two pound coins used in England, where there are no banknotes in denominations less than £5 (£1 notes were withdrawn from circulation in 1988). But I wonder what William Henry Harrison would have thought of his portrait on a dollar coin. In his Inaugural Address, he said this about American currency:
The idea of making it exclusively metallic, however well intended, appears to me to be fraught with more fatal consequences than any other scheme having no relation to the personal rights of the citizens that has ever been devised. If any single scheme could produce the effect of arresting at once that mutation of condition by which thousands of our most indigent fellow-citizens by their industry and enterprise are raised to the possession of wealth, that is the one. If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency. Or if there is a process by which the character of the country for generosity and nobleness of feeling may be destroyed by the great increase and neck toleration of usury, it is an exclusive metallic currency.As the first (and, as it would turn out, only) Whig President, Harrison was signaling his opposition to the monetary policy of the Jacksonian Democrats, who had killed the national bank and opposed bank-issued paper money (banknotes) as a means of extending credit. Harrison evidently believed that an exclusively metallic currency would destroy credit and increase the gap between rich and poor as the wealthy hoarded their gold.