Andrew Jackson’s removal from the $20 bill is a disgrace. While the accomplishments of Harriet Tubman are certainly commendable, those who sought to impose her upon our money did so for all the wrong reasons. In short: the movement to place Tubman on the $20 bill cannot be described as a “pro-Tubman” groundswell, but rather an “anti-Jackson” jihad.
Perhaps the most sickening aspect of the whiny movement to place a woman on money was their lack of specificity and desire to see a woman, any woman, on money. While there are many women of note in our nation’s history that deserve honoring, the proposal to remove Jackson to place a woman on the bank note pitched a gender, not a heroine.
In a day and age where the Democratic frontrunner’s biggest political attribute is her gender which will endear her to those who vote based on identity and not policy, it’s not-at-all surprising to see a group emerge to propose that a woman grace the cotton notes. The group pitched several candidates such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman and the main selling point was, is, and will be the aforementioned ladies’ gender- not their accomplishments.
Funnily enough, the list did not include conservative pioneers like Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice.
After the group had sufficiently raised hell, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that the group would get their wish: a woman would be the face of the $10 bill, replacing big-government (by 1700’s standards) proponent Alexander Hamilton.
That wasn’t good enough. The group’s real goal was not to celebrate Harriet Tubman, it was to kill two birds with one stone: stomp-upon contemporarily-unpopular Andrew Jackson and elevate a woman to this high honor. Celebrating Tubman on the $10 bill only accomplished half of the goals.
So, the gripes resumed. The left frenzied and boiled Old Hickory’s legacy down to three shameful words: Trail of Tears.
Though the Trail of Tears was a black mark in our nation’s history, few have been willing to cite Jackson’s presidency, his personal courage or his heroic war record which made him so famous. Instead, he was merely a genocidal monster and any discussion of his legacy was boiled-down to a single action, bereft of any grander historical context or political consideration.
For a fuller discussion of Jackson and the full story behind the decisions which led to the Trail of Tears, check out Jarrett Stepman’s article detailing the broader context.
No- this is by no means a defense of the Trail of Tears. However, it is shameful that any discussion concerning Jackson only centers on this issue. FDR was responsible for the internment of Japanese Americans and he still graces our currency without question and enjoys a monument in Washington. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and preserved the union through means that can only be described as “tyrannical,” and yet he remains a pillar of righteousness for our nation. Their legacies remain nuanced, but Jackson’s is only one of genocide.
These discussions remained bereft of any discussion about Jackson’s options. How to handle issues between Americans and Native Americans had been glossed-over and not-address since George Washington occupied the presidency. Each president had passed the quagmire onto the next and when it came to a head, what were Jackson’s options?
- A) Allow Georgia to thoroughly wipe-out the Cherokee population (which they intended to do). This would amount to nothing but wholesale genocide.
- B) Commit federal troops to Georgia to protect the Cherokee- a move that is far more ethically upstanding but which would have likely ignited a civil war decades before it ended up erupting.
- Or C) Do what he did and remove the Cherokee.
No- I say again- this is not a defense of the decisions made by our government. It is shameful that it came to this and reason could not prevail. However, any discussion of a legacy should encompass a fuller understanding of the historical realities.
Those who fought to have Jackson removed from the $20 are not the equality advocates they claim to be. They are politically correct social justice warriors with the historical understanding and intellectual substance of a Snapple lid’s factoid.