#2 Alexander Hamilton – $10 US Dollar Bill
Style on the $10 US Dollar Bill:
It is important to remember, as many now know from the eponymous musical, Alexander Hamilton came from nothing. Hamilton clawed his way up from the bottom, finding his first big break after being discovered as an artillery officer by Washington while serving in the Continental Army – who was then appointed as Washington’s Aide-de-Camp.
In Hamilton’s meteoric rise to the top as one of the most farseeing US founding fathers, Hamilton was likely keen to shed all vestige of his pauper origin. More than anything, Hamilton was seeking to project a most aristocratic, pragmatic, suave and stately appearance. No doubt it was a look that he felt best suited the one who would become the first US Secretary of the Treasury.
As mentioned, Hamilton is portraying a distinctly aristocratic persona, that comports best with the era he lived. The cravat and coat he is wearing in this portrayal compliment his sharp jaw, in addition to it being wardrobe accessories of the gentlemanly class in late 18th century America.
The off-the-face look compliments the overall structure of his face. In general, Hamilton is one of few men who can really wear their hair off the face. This is primarily due to his delicate but distinct bone structure. He appears very neat, tidy, with great attention to detail.
When it comes to Hamilton, there is very little in way of weakness as he appears on the $10 dollar bill. Yet he could have employed a little less affected curl.
How to Improve:
In addition to lessening the affected curling in this portrait, one might also consider taking a little off his sides. Though it is difficult to tell from this image if that’s possible, as Hamilton is likely wearing his hair back in a ponytail. The ponytail was of course a very trendy and fashionable arrangement for men’s hair in late 18th century America.
#3 U.S. Grant – $50 US Dollar Bill
Style on the $50 US Dollar Bill:
The first impression of Grant on the $50 dollar bill is that it looks like a cheap haircut, however that should not come as a shock. At his core, Grant was first and foremost a solider born and raised in mid 19th Century Ohio.
Of course the hair requirements for military personnel of the American Civil-War era differ greatly from current regulations. Certainly no member of the armed services today could wear the length permitted in that era, nor have the beard common to Union and Confederate personnel of that time. Excluding those who are now accommodated in doing so consistent with their religious practices. All told, Grant is as close to a modern haircut as you see on US dollar bills.
Grant’s haircut very much presents the look he wished to convey, which appears to be someone looking to combine both solider and statesman. It is clearly rugged, though there is every reason to believe it is the look he wanted. Grant also does a very good job on his mustache, as it is complimentary to his upper-lip line.
Everything about Grant’s haircut lacks detailing. He looks somewhat rugged, and therefore doesn’t seem to really give a damn about a haircut.
Also, Grant is a bit too shaggy for a US President, regardless of his personal origin. He could be trimmed a little better, but not necessarily closer in and around the chin. Additionally his hair appears to lack a more desirable balance. It is fair to say that Grant’s hair looks uncomfortable on his head.
How to Improve:
As mentioned, I would further trim his beard, eyebrows, and his sideburns could use a few adjustments.
Grant could use slightly more length on his sides, which would allow him to accentuate the piercing gaze in his eyes.
One should also reconsider the parting of Grant’s hair to create a little more balance. It would provide him a slightly softer look, which could have real political implications during his time in office.
In evaluating the politics of personal appearance, one must remember that most Americans of that time only ever saw their president in portrayals such as these. In cultivating a slightly softer look, it might help those who supported the Confederacy see Grant as something other than a victorious Yankee general.
As a president tasked with conducting post Civil-War reconstruction, Grant required all the help he could get.