Who is on the 5 Dollar bill? And what has been added since 1861?

5 dollar bill rolled up
A 5 dollar bill rolled up with President Abraham Lincoln staring at you. Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, has been on the $5 bill since 1914. His selection honors his leadership during the Civil War and his role in abolishing slavery, pivotal events in American history.

Why is President Abraham Lincoln on the $5 Dollar bill?

  • Abraham Lincoln: 16th President of the United States.
  • Civil War Leadership: Guided the nation through its most challenging period.
  • Emancipation Proclamation: Instrumental in abolishing slavery.
  • Legacy: Symbolizes unity and the fight for equality.
  • Featured Since 1914: Reflects his enduring impact on American history.

What else does the 5-dollar bill feature?

The $5 bill combines historical significance with advanced security features, each component contributing to its authenticity and symbolic value.

President Abraham Lincoln on the $5 Dollar bill
President Abraham Lincoln on the $5 Dollar bill. Photo: Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

Front (Obverse)

  • Portrait: Displays President Abraham Lincoln.
  • Symbols: Incorporates the Great Seal of the United States and an arc of stars.
  • Design Elements: Enriched with intricate patterns and decorative elements around Lincoln’s portrait and inscriptions.

Back (Reverse)

  • Main Image: Features the Lincoln Memorial.
  • Color Scheme: Utilizes shades of purple and gray, with a large purple “5” for easy identification.
  • Inscriptions: Includes “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “FIVE DOLLARS.”

Security Features

  • Watermarks: Two distinct watermarks – a large “5” and a column of three smaller “5”s.
  • Security Thread: An embedded thread to the right of the portrait glows blue under UV light and displays “USA 5.”
  • Microprinting: Small, intricate text in various areas of the bill, challenging to replicate.
  • Infrared Ink: Certain parts on the reverse side are blank when viewed in the infrared spectrum.
  • Anti-Photocopy Pattern: EURion constellation pattern to deter photocopying.

Historical Evolution of the $5 Bill

  • Initial Introduction: In 1861, the first $5 bill appeared as a Demand Note with Alexander Hamilton’s portrait.
  • Lincoln’s Debut: In 1914, Abraham Lincoln’s portrait began gracing the bill, recognizing his profound impact on American history.
  • Design Overhaul: The bill underwent multiple redesigns over the years, continually updating its security features and artistic elements.
  • 1928 Standardization: The bill’s size was standardized in 1928, featuring the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse.
  • Security Enhancements: In recent decades, the Treasury has incorporated advanced security measures, like watermarks and security threads, to combat counterfeiting.
  • Modern Redesigns: The most recent redesigns focused on both enhancing security and maintaining Lincoln’s iconic image.
  • Cultural Significance: The $5 bill, consistently featuring Lincoln, symbolizes unity and the perseverance of democracy.