Should Andrew Jackson be on the $20 bill? A growing number of people are saying “no,” like the group, Women on $20s, which has shortlisted a group of 15 women to take the former president’s place. Likewise, Native American advocates are coming forward to say it’s shameful to have a man responsible for the deaths of so many innocent people on America’s currency.
According to the Washington Post, Andrew Jackson has been on the 20 since he replaced Grover Cleveland in 1928. For the group Women on $20s, that’s long enough. They insist “a woman’s place is on money.”
They’re targeting Jackson and the 20 for a number of reasons. First, 1920 is when women first received the right to vote. Likewise, 2020 will be the 100-year anniversary of that success – a perfect time to say goodbye to Old Hickory.
The second – and most contentious – reason is Andrew Jackson’s treatment of Native Americans, particularly in the 1830 Indian Removal Act and the subsequent Trail of Tears.
When 16,000 Cherokee people were forced from their native lands, about one-fourth died along the way. For all the tribes forced west, the death toll reaches far higher.
The lands that were taken from the Native Americans were largely used to expand plantations for farmers that utilized slave labor.
Lastly, some people believe Andrew Jackson wouldn’t even want to be on paper money. Susan Ades Stone, executive director of Women on $20s, explained to The Washington Post that he didn’t believe in paper money, preferring gold and silver.
“The guy would be rolling in his grave to know that every day the ATM spits out bills with his face on it.”
So if Andrew Jackson is out, who is the new face of the 20?
Women on $20s has a list of 15 prominent female historical figures, including Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Betty Friedan, author of the Feminine Mystique. Not all of the names may seem paper money worthy to everyone, but the group insists they’re all better than Jackson.
Women on $20s are holding a vote to see which of the 15 should go on the bill. The ballots will also serve as a petition and once the group gets 100,000 signatures, it will go straight to the White House. Changing the face on the bill doesn’t require Congress, President Obama could just ask the Secretary of the Treasury to make it happen – which means it can be accomplished without the typical partisan gridlock.
Slate prepared some names that could replace Jackson too. Davy Crockett fought against the Indian Removal Act, became a folk hero in his lifetime, and died fighting for Texas. Slate also cites Ralph Waldo Emerson for his writings and strong political stands.
The petition to replace Andrew Jackson with a woman historical figure can be found here.
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