Controversy has surrounded the U.S. Department Of Treasury’s announcement that civil rights warrior and women’s suffrage supporter Harriet Tubman will be featured on the new $20 bill.
The issue seemed to be coming to a head as some politicians vocalized their disdain for the proposed new currency noting that we should not “diminish Andrew Jackson” in order to honor Tubman. Fortunately for Andrew Jackson advocates, the U.S. Treasury has confirmed that the historic president will remain on the bill with Tubman.
The U.S. Department of Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman will be the first African American to appear on paper currency and the first woman in more than a century. The move came as a result of the efforts of a group called Women on 20s, who had the sole goal of getting the Department of Treasury to put a woman’s face on the front of the $20 bill. The group initially had people vote on the woman they would most like to see as the face of the $20. It was Tubman who garnered the most votes, and ultimately won the hearts of not only the Women on 20s campaign, but also the approval of the Treasury.
However, not everyone is happy about the removal of Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says he doesn’t want to see “Andrew Jackson diminished” in a bid to “honor Tubman.”
“United States history is not Andrew Jackson versus Harriet Tubman. It is Andrew Jackson and Harriet Tubman, both heroes of a nation’s work in progress towards great goals. It is unnecessary to diminish Jackson in order to honor Tubman. Jackson was the first common man to be elected president. He fought to save the Union. He defined an American era. He helped found the Democratic Party. And he was a great Tennessean.”
Despite some disapproval, the removal of Jackson from the front of the bill was made official by the announcement posted to the Treasury page which outlined exactly what Americans can expect to see on the new $20 bill. According to the Treasury description, Tubman will be featured on the front of the bill, replacing former President Andrew Jackson. However, Jackson isn’t getting the boot from the $20 bill entirely. Instead, Jackson will be moved to the back of the $20 bill where he will be featured alongside the White House.
“The reverse of the new $20 will display The White House and an image of President Andrew Jackson.”
While the new design has not been sketched and approved, it is noted that with Jackson slated to appear alongside the White House, the inclusion of the former president will likely take the form of the statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback in Lafayette Square.
“To make room for Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, Jackson will be moved to the back where he’ll be incorporated into the existing image of the White House. Lew said that image could depict the statue of Jackson riding horseback in Lafayette Square across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.”
According to USA Today, the Women on 20s nonprofit is excited about the new design, but hopes it won’t be a decade before a new Tubman $20 will make its way into circulation. However, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew notes that while the face of the $20 has been determined and approved, the design may not begin circulation for quite some time due to the numerous security features that are required for American currency. Lew says that the redesigns for the $20, $10 and $5 bills will be approved within the next four years and that production will begin within the next ten.
Though the $20 is likely the most hotly anticipated of the new currency designs, Lew notes that the $10 bill will likely get the overhaul first as it is the “most prone to counterfeiting.” He goes on to reveal that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is only setup to print one new series of bills at a time meaning that the Tubman $20 will have to be placed on hold until the new $10 bills are complete.
“There’s a reason it takes so many years to design and produce money. These timelines are not written into law. It’s a question of how fast these wheels can move. It can be speeded up.”
Regardless of the speed at which the new Tubman $20 begins circulation, two things have been made abundantly clear by the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding the bill’s redesign. Former President Andrew Jackson will still be featured in some capacity on the backside of the new $20, and the bill likely won’t be in your wallet anytime soon.
A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman: https://t.co/YcsZC4ZrKg -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 20, 2016
What do you think about the redesign of the new $20 to feature Harriet Tubman on the front, moving Andrew Jackson to the backside of the bill?
[Image via Women on 20s]