January 20

Blog 82 – Replace Andrew Jackson on the $20?

In the past few years, students and adults have pushed to change the names of schools and institutions based upon the namesake’s past history.  Last summer, for instance, the Confederate flag was pulled down from the South Carolina capitol in the wake of the Charleston shootings (the shooter was pictured w/ Confederate memorabilia), and then the South Carolina legislature voted overwhelmingly to take the flag down.  This Economist article examines other particular cases not mentioned in the “Rethinking History” article I gave you.  From another point of view, this article defends leaving the Hoover FBI federal building as it is, though some have come to question Hoover’s tough-minded, illegal wiretappings of students and Dr. King (Cointelpro).

In the article, “Rethinking History,” former Princeton president and 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson is derided because of his racist comments.  He told a black leader in 1914 that “segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you.”  A different example from the article is what the University of Virginia has done in the past decade in trying to honor its slave past.  At least 140 slaves helped build the university, and this fall, Virginia opened up a dorm named after two of the slaves who had worked on the campus before the Civil War.

Presidential candidates say things like this get said today (I’m looking at you, Donald Trump), and some people agree.  Some people go crazy seeing these statements as incredibly vile.  Does this mean that our nation has descended into a politically- correct (PC) world?  Are we finally recognizing the faults of the past and trying to make amends for them, because our nation, though it’s been a melting pot since its inception, is really starting to change?  Or, can we learn something from the past instead of erasing it and blocking the things which we find disturbing?

This brings us to Andrew Jackson.  This NY Times article suggested putting a woman’s face on the 20$ bill.

“Jackson was a slave owner whose decisions annihilated American Indian tribes of the Southeast. He also hated paper currency and vetoed the reauthorization of the Second Bank of the United States, a predecessor of the Federal Reserve. Jackson is in the history books, but there’s no reason to keep him in our wallets.”

His record with the Indian Removal Act, his battles w/ Nicholas Biddle and the 2nd BUS, and the fact that he was a slave owner all count against him.  But what about his adoption of an Indian boy during one of the campaigns to eradicate the Indians?  Did America actually benefit from not having a central banking system for almost 80 years?  He was a symbol of the common man, those who could newly vote in the elections of 1828 and 1832 voted for him overwhelmingly, because he was a common man at one time.  But he was also an exceptional man, having fought in the Revolution and the War of 1812, amassed a fortune (though off the backs of slaves), and become the 7th president of the United States.  There are very very few people who can claim these achievements.

But if we remove Jackson from the $20 and replace him with someone else, where do we stop?  Using the slippery slope argument (which is always a dangerous fallacy), do we rename Washington D.C. because Washington was a slave holder?  Do we take Lincoln off of the penny or the $5 because he had over 30 Indians executed during the Civil War for sparking an uprising in Minnesota?  Jefferson… we won’t even get into him.

As someone in the “Rethinking History” article states, if we are going to name buildings after people, should we expect them to be perfect?  Maybe we should stop naming buildings after people.  Or can we learn something from these flawed individuals (especially b/c everyone is flawed in some way or another)?

What are your thoughts?  I see three possible alternatives to Jackson on the $20:

1. Keep him there and leave it as it is.

2. Change him out with someone else, especially with a woman of historical significance, and leave Andrew Jackson to be talked about in history classes.

3. Leave him on the bill but conduct education about Andrew Jackson’s legacy – This could be done by the Federal Reserve which makes decisions about currency.

If you come up with another alternative, please include it in your post.

250 words minimum.  Due Monday, January 25 by class. 

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Posted January 20, 2016 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

78 thoughts on “Blog 82 – Replace Andrew Jackson on the $20?

  1. Morgan Flynn

    After reading the article and assessing all three possibilities for taking care of this issue, I think that while option 2 would be really amazing, option three just seems much more attainable and reasonable. Being a woman myself, I think that having a woman on some form of currency would be astounding and I’d probably regard it as one of the coolest things ever to happen in my lifetime. However, I also think it is not very attainable to eliminate Andrew Jackson from the 20 dollar bill, since there are countless numbers of 20 dollar bills floating around the world in the wallets of people like myself. I think that option three would be best because that would take away the need to decide on which figure to replace Jackson, but this way, people are also learning what he did that made people contemplate taking him off the bill. I also don’t think it’s fair to only take Jackson off the bill when other figures on other bills have owned slaves and killed Indians as well. Sure, Jackson is the one remembered most for being a slave owner and Indian killer, but Abraham Lincoln and George Washington had done similar things in their time. All in all, I think this option is best because it is easiest to not have to print new bills, but it also good to inform students why people today considered this and why people disliked Andrew Jackson more than similarly behaving people of his time.

  2. Derrick Lockhart

    Every time I hear about Andrew Jackson, the things he did, and the items his name should be taken off of, I think back to eighth grade year. That was the year when all eighth graders (at Berkshire, at least) were required to do a project on Andrew Jackson. The requirements were to explain in either poster or Prezi the wrongs and rights of Andrew Jackson. I actually did not look too much into the topic so like most I thought he was a villain. Since then I have learned MUCH more (shout out to APUSH) and I have changed as a person. Being an AA (African American) myself, I can somewhat feel what the AA students at Princeton are feeling. I also can understand why some people believe that he should stay on the bill…..I think that Andrew Jackson should stay on the bill because he DID do some good things (option 3) and so that we can remember our past.

    Andrew Jackson was a stone-cold self-made man. People respected him because of this and he was elected because of this. Because of him, democrats were actually beginning to form and gain power. Just as Barak Obama did for many AAs, Andrew Jackson gave hope to the frontier farmers, trappers, hunters, and miners. He literally made the Democratic Party “a thing”. For that I am definite that many people need to thank him

    It is known that Andrew Jackson was racist. He was a prominent slave owner and earned a fortune off of his plantation. He was also a known Native American killer. He advocated for Georgia when they wanted to remove the Native Americans and he waged war with them in previous occasions. What I WANT to know is why people of color and others want to remove him from the bill because of this? Other leaders that have done great things were slave owners (Washington, Jefferson) and although I don’t agree with this, the fact that we ignore other leaders who did the same things stands to point out that people are being byistt. This is also a reminder. If we take him of the bill, then who’s to say we won’t do the same to Washington for his wrong doings? We need to treat this as a reminder and educate all students on why his face is on the bill. If we remove Jackson from the 20 dollar bill, I’m sure many AAs (and others) would be disappointed to hear the slippery slope arguments that could and would change everything linked to slavery and segregation. Hmm maybe like the NAACP, NABA, AABE, and pretty much every black fraternity and sorority. Let’s not even mentioned the many black collages that could be shut down for the same reason that people want to take AJ of the bill…..because things have changed! Americans need to learn from there mistakes. You cannot advance if you do not know your past.

  3. Max C

    The faces on American money are those who have changed the nation, those who have led or otherwise had an impact on the USA. While Andrew Jackson was far from progressive in his views, blatantly disregarding the agreements that the Cherokee Nation had made with the Federal Government, and invading Florida, the colony of another European power, he was still an important figure in America’s history. His election was the first time that nearly all white men could vote, and thus his election was a landmark for marginalized groups throughout the US. Much like how Dr. King’s movement in the 60’s sparked other groups to rise, I believe universal white male suffrage led to other groups gaining the vote, and helped to form the nation we know today. At the time, he was the people’s candidate, and was a symbol of increasing liberty to the people of the nation. Jackson was a symbol that the presidency was becoming less exclusive, and that the common man could have a say in politics. However, he was a flawed man, and made plenty of mistakes and decisions that would be unacceptable today. I see him as similar to Christopher Columbus; instrumental in the history of our country, but not by any means a hero to be idolized. Both men had a large effect on America (or the Americas), while also doing things that would never even be considered today. I believe that we should educate people on the good, and the bad of Andrew Jackson, and indeed, any historical figure, because it is important to know the whole story behind them to know what effects they had on the country as a whole. Nobody is perfect, so why should we be taught that some are?

  4. Piper Meloche

    Our nation’s currency is filled with national heroes, and it is hard to argue that Andrew Jackson should be one of them. . The Federal Reserve recently said they would be putting a womyn on the $10 bill. Though it certainly wouldn’t be bad to have womyn on two pieces of currency, it makes little sense to me that we would remove Hamilton, the very man who supported a national bank from our country’s birth, and keep Jackson on the bill for who-knows-why. Not only was he absolutely horrible to Native Americans with the trail of tears, he also was completely against a national bank. If he was alive today, I think that Old Hickory would be absolutely appalled by having his face on money issued by the Federal Reserve. Under his presidency, he let the second BUS expire, it is very unlikely he would have approved of the Federal Reserve even existing, let alone his face being circulated on one of the most commonly used pieces of currency in the nation. Not only that, but his actions while he was president not something Americans should want represented on their currency. It was Jackson who invaded Florida following his own command. It was under Jackson that the trail of tears occurred. This, I think, is the biggest issue. There are approximately 5.2 Native Americans in the United States. For that population, especially the Cherokee people, it must seem like a cruel joke to allow this man, who against a supreme court ruling, forced their race off of their land. This is not to say that Jackson is not historically important. It is through learning about people like Jackson that we can learn not to repeat his mistakes, and to argue that his presidency was historically insignificant would be flat out wrong. However he is hardly a deserving person to be on the $20 bill. We should replace Jackson with either Harriet Tubman or Rosa parks on the 20. It is about time we replace an oppressive male on our currency with a strong, oppression-fighting womyn. This is not an argument that we should remove all people who have done bad things from our currency, all that I’m saying is that we need to look critically at who really deserves the honor of being stamped on our money.

  5. Harry Carr

    Having read “Rethinking History” and brought into consideration my own opinion prior, I’ve first concluded that simply removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill would do nothing. It would cause conflict and controversy, and without actual education regarding his immoral actions such as owning slaves and the Indian Removal Act, said controversy would be fruitless. Replacing him would essentially be erasing the aforementioned actions while the impacts still remain. Yes, Jackson being a slave owner was merely the 19th century way of life, but it was simply just as immoral then as now, and so too was the Indian Removal Act. Setting aside the irony of Jackson being the one to kill the second National Bank, I see it necessary to leave his image on the $20 bill, but in addition put particular focus on the immorality surrounding his actions, as well as the fundamental fact that we as a society should not praise the historical figures that founded our country, but instead look at their lives objectively, recognizing which of their decisions have positive and negative impacts. Yes, removing Jackson’s likeness would be a good decision in an America without the lasting impacts of past slavery and Native American oppression, as I believe he doesn’t deserve the honor, but in short, the men depicted on our currency have immense significance whether their actions were moral or immoral in life, and the continuing racism and oppression today as a result of those actions would not end with erasing the men behind them, but instead with education.

  6. Victoria Lurz

    After learning about former president Andrew Jackson, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the man had several flaws. Jackson was hot-tempered, a slave owner, and destroyed indian tribes, but beyond all of his flaws lies a man that has accomplished a ton for our country. Although Jackson partook in some of histories biggest disasters, for example slavery, I do not think he should be taken off of the twenty dollar bill. I believe in history classes throughout our nation Andrew Jackson should remain a topic studied and no light should be shed on the horrible crimes he had commit. However, Jackson was a war hero and a man of the people. I do not concur with the decisions Andrew Jackson made throughout his time in office, but i do believe he should remain on the 20 dollar bill in order to leave a big can of worms unopened. Several people think that Jackson should be removed, but that would only leave the United States to look at some of its other presidents and ponder the same questions. George Washington for example was a slave holder so because of this should our country remove him from the one dollar bill? Should we rename our capitol? What other presidents with faces found on our currency have partaken in horrible acts? Questions like these and many more would be made prevalent if we remove Andrew Jackson from the 20 dollar bill, therefore is it really worth creating issues and making our nation question its history? I absolutely do not think we should sugar coat our country’s past. I believe the horrific truths found throughout America’s history should be taught in history classes all over so we can see the strides we have made since the beginning of our time. Many errors have occurred within our nation throughout its time, but we must remember these mistakes, learn from them, and grow, not pretend they did not exist.

  7. Isaac Thompson

    After reading “rethinking History” and taking all of the points in the article into consideration, I feel like Andrew Jackson should be taken off the 20$ bill for numerous reasons. I believe he is still on the bill because of his ownership of slaves, and his reputation to assist many Americans in their Manifest Destiny. He was a wealthy slave owner who gave his slaves no rights and treated them in vile ways. Putting Andrew Jackson on the 20$ bill is giving America the reputation of an unequal, racially biased country, which was merely the opposite of what we would insist to be identified as. Andrew Jackson was also a huge contribution to the Indian Removal Act, which forced an entire population of Native Americans and forced them to find a new home. His lack of hesitation to find a more peaceful and friendly solution to land related issues with the Native Americans truly identifies what type of horrible human Andrew Jackson actually is. I also find it ironic that Jackson is on the 20$ bill based on his hatred for paper currency. Jackson preferred gold and silver coins or “hard money” rather than paper currency. This is ironic because I do not believe someone that despises paper currency should be the one on all of paper currency. America has developed for centuries and our inventions and solutions to issues have been more reasonable and efficient. I believe that Andrew Jacksons face on the 20$ bill should have been removed a while ago and I am concerned that they have not taken initiative.

  8. Kristen Harvey

    I believe that Andrew Jackson should not be on the twenty dollar bill. I believe that he made a lot of his decisions not based on the good of the country or the Constitution, but based on rage and personal agendas. The knowledge that our heroes and leaders make mistakes as well, humanizes them and teaches us that mistakes are not the end, and that good things can come if we keep going. But leaders also have to make hard decisions, sometimes not the right ones, and sometimes with horrible repercussions. However, even though leaders make mistakes, and do terrible things some people make so many horrible choices in their time when they should be thinking of the benefits of others, and be a pillar of society. Andrew Jackson made choices that cost the lives of thousands of innocents, and the removal of hundreds of thousands more from their homelands, where they had been peacefully living for centuries. Jackson did this action with the full knowledge of the consequences and the law, as the Supreme Court had previously ruled that the removal of these people from their land was unconstitutional. Jackson also eliminated the Bank of the United States, in doing this he forced many people to go bankrupt, and loose land. Again he went against the ruling of the Supreme Court, which declared the Bank of the United States constitutional. However, this ruling did not suit the vendetta of the power driven president, who did not care about the severe reproductions of his actions. The reason the people liked and voted for Jackson was because of his lack of political experience, this made him very unqualified for the job. Someone who works in politics should have experience, and knowledge of this field. Being unqualified did not make him a good president. Over all, Andrew Jackson’s lack for respect for the multiple branches of government as well as his decisions as a result of rage and the fact that he had no respect for human life would not make him a president that deserves to be on the twenty dollar bill. I do not know who, but his replacement should be someone who supported a national bank, or was just an amazing person who made a great impact on the country.

  9. London McMurray

    I think Andrew Jackson should stay on the $20 dollar bill because overall he was good person. Although he owned slaves and he passed the Indian Removal Act, he still accomplished great things for America, such as conquering Florida and fighting in some of our defining wars. However, I think we should begin educating the public about Jackson so people can understand his full legacy, shortcomings and accomplishments. I believe allowing him on the bill even with his good, bad and ugly truth is in a way inspirational to people to know that there’s always a second chance to be great. Jackson may not have been the most supportive of other races but at the time who was? Not that this justifies his wrongdoings. But I do believe if we consider the time period and not go based off a 21st century mindset, there weren’t many anti-slavery supporters at this time. So, to knock him for not being one, when all of our other early presidents weren’t supporters either, is unfair. For that reason if he should be removed for a few misdoings then so should every other leader that up. Removing him off of the bill will only portray to the people as a need for perfection. Keeping him on the bill will show people its ok to make mistakes and to have wrongdoings but you can sill accomplish things and be great which I believe is what America is all about. Overall, Andrew Jackson should stay on the bill with education of his legacy, as a symbol of imperfection is ok and mistakes don’t define you.

  10. John Doyle

    Andrew Jackson has gone down in history as one of the most significant and controversial Presidents that the United States has ever had. In 1928, Jackson was given the honor of appearing on the twenty-dollar bill, replacing Grover Cleveland, and he has been there ever since. In recent years, there have been debates on whether or not Jackson should be removed from the note and replaced with someone who would symbolize our progress as a nation. The arguments for this are typically that he should be removed because he profited from slave labor, committed genocide against the Native American population, and that his appearance on the bill glorifies his actions and makes our country look as if we support said actions, almost two-hundred years later. Andrew Jackson should not be removed from the note because he is a significant figure in our country’s history and the symbol – and sometimes leader – of the first and most important democratic movement in American history.
    It should be obvious that the United States has a dark history that we often try to overlook or only briefly acknowledge. The Founding Fathers that we were told were heroes as children are eventually perceived much differently by us as we learn more about them throughout life. George Washington was a slave owner, along with Thomas Jefferson, who actually had several illegitimate children with one of his slaves at Monticello, along with more slaves than Washington and Jackson combined, yet both of their appearances on United States currency has not even been remotely taken into question, which is most likely because they were Founding Fathers of the country, but if the argument is that Jackson should be taken off of the note exclusively because he owned slaves, it collapses, unless, of course, we should reinvent and re-release all of our currency (except for the five-dollar bill, because Lincoln had no flaws) and replace the once-adored faction of men with great historical significance with modern, progressive heroes, such as Al Sharpton and Caitlyn Jenner.
    There is no doubt that what Andrew Jackson did to the Native American populations was cruel and immoral. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 truly pushed the Native Americans to a point that they have never returned from, and with the poverty and suicide rates that they face today, it is unlikely that they ever will. It is important to bear in mind that the first stages of acculturation between Whites and Indians were brought by George Washington, who encouraged them to “convert to Christianity, learn to speak and read English, and adopt European-style economic practices such as the individual ownership of land and other property (including, in some instances, the ownership of African slaves).” Thomas Jefferson’s policy echoed Washington’s proposition: respect the Native Americans’ rights to their homelands, and allow the Five Tribes to remain east of the Mississippi provided that they adopt Anglo-European behavior and cultural practices. Then, Old Hickory sought to renew a policy of political and military action for the removal of the Native Americans from these lands and worked toward enacting a law for Indian Removal. On February 22, 1830, Senator Hugh White, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, reported a Bill to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing within any of the States or Territories, and for their removal West of the river Mississippi. Between April 9th and April 23rd, 1830, the Bill was debated in the Senate. On April 24th, 1830, the Senate voted 28-19 to pass the Indian Removal Act. Between May 15th and May 24th, 1830, the Bill was debated in the House of Representatives. On May 26th, 1830, the House of Representatives voted 102-97 to pass the Indian Removal Act, which was then signed in by Jackson two days later. During his Second Annual Message to Congress in December of 1830, Jackson stated: “It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have already accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantage.” The point of this information is that unless Jackson called an Executive Order, which he did not, the Act would never have been signed into effect had Congress, which is made up of a few hundred Americans, not approved the Act. Also, based off of his address to Congress, Jackson believed that the rest of the Indians would follow the example of the two tribes that complied with the Act so that there would be no bloodshed. Do I believe that Jackson was against killing Native American tribes for the benefit of his people? Absolutely not, but I do not believe that it was the way he preferred going about their removal. The Native Americans and the (now) Americans have been fighting ever since the first settlers arrived in 1492. The American people had superior technology and a growing population. The removal of the Native people was inevitable. Had Jackson pursued other priorities during his time in office, I guarantee that the Native Americans would not have been able to stay on their land for much longer.
    Many people argue that we should replace Andrew Jackson with a woman of historical significance. Upon research, I found out that this because the 1920s were very important in the progression of women’s rights (Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor, 19th Amendment) and the twenty-dollar bill could represent this because of its value, which in my opinion, seems like a puerile connection. If Andrew Jackson is replaced, it should be because of what happened during his presidency, along with the content of his character, not the value of the note he is on.
    An ebullient mob tramped through the White House on the occasion of Jackson’s inauguration in 1829 because everyone knew that his victory was a turning point in world events. It was the circumstance that converted the American Revolution of 1776 into a democratic revolution—a revolution that did not pretend to have created perfection but was visibly successful at establishing a newly egalitarian political culture, not among everyone but in the mainstream of society. And the Democratic Party under Jackson became a party that, at least sometimes, favored labor over capital. Jackson’s veto of the Bank of the United States is one of the most noteworthy things that he did while in office. The Bank of the United States represented economic power in an unacceptable form. The Bank of the United States was not the people’s bank. It enjoyed the special privileges of a national central bank and yet was privately owned chiefly by 4,000 stockholders. Economically the bank might have been a good idea. But politically it was not appropriate for a democracy. It was monopoly incarnate. It was the royal institution of the new financial aristocracy that posed a danger to America’s political development, so Jackson abolished it. Jackson believed that distinctions in society would always exist under every government because any human institution cannot produce equality of talents, wealth, and education. He said that “in the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, mechanics, and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government.” Jackson was truly the first president to represent the average hardworking American. He should remain on the twenty-dollar bill because his immoral actions do not discredit him of the positive impact he left on the country (and it’s such a winning picture of him).

  11. Nathan B.

    I feel Andrew Jackson should be kept on the twenty-dollar bill and have the history classes talk about him and his legacy. Usually, being on any bill means you had great influence on the entire nation. There was a bad side to Andrew Jackson as he did horrible things but there is no way to take back what is done. Leave him on the bill to be a reminder and for the rest of the kids to learn about. Jackson did not like the Bank of the United States even though they put him on the bill. Trying to take back what happened from visual history does not make sense. It is HISTORY. SO keep him on the bill but make sure his mistakes are made clear. The article states that we should not hold historical figures to the expectations of today. They did not have the same morals as people do today because of how different it was. If we were to remove Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill, then we should removes any historical figure who did something wrong in their life from a bill or anything they are on. People have dark spots in their life (especially Andrew Jackson) but he also had so many great ideas and was a good leader overall. He was he a war hero in the Battle of New Orleans and he also paid off the national debt in the United States. Removing Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill would be a huge hassle and I think it should be a reminder. So if people look at the bill and see Jackson, they will know the bad things he did but also the good things, which I think outweigh the bad.

  12. Chandler A.

    I think that we should leave Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill – option 3. Andrew Jackson had many good and bad qualities as president. Recently, some people are starting to say that he doesn’t deserve to be on the $20 bill because he was racist. I think this is just recently starting to become an issue because of how much more P.C the world is becoming. I agree that Andrew Jackson was a racist and mistreated Indians, but you know which other presidents owned slaves? George washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses S. Grant- all of whom are currently featured on U.S paper currency. If they take off Jackson, where will it stop? There will never be a human being that doesn’t offend some group of people. Everybody has faults, so it is unreasonable to focus in on this one negative aspect of Andrew Jackson and ignore all his great parts. Many people are clamoring to replace him with either a woman or black person to get more diversity. But i don’t think this should come at Andrew Jacksons expense. Despite his flaws, Jackson was an American hero. He embodied the spirit of America and the self made man. Jackson was key to the creation of the modern American democracy. Jackson helped unify the U.S because he brought together the West with the east coast. Unfortunately, revisionist writers paint him in a very bad light and focus mainly how he was anti-indian. I agree that it is important to not ignore the ugly parts of history, but we also can’t forget the good parts.

  13. Elizabeth Konoya

    What I believe that we should do is leave him on the bill but educate the people about Andrew Jackson’s decisions. While Andrew Jackson was a very tempered and outspoken man, he also made some great choices as the President. The United States currency is seen by everybody and are decorated with those who helped shape this country into what it is now. While I do believe that others should be rotated onto the United States Currency, like Harriet Tubman, I also don’t believe that it is a necessity to remove Andrew Jackson from our currency. Others may argue that he is not worthy of being on the 20 dollar bill. For reasons like he disregarded the Supreme Court twice and also invaded florida without his predecessor, Monroe’s, authorization. While he did break some of the rules, he also changed America through them. He helped the United States gain Florida as a state. While Andrew Jackson stays on the 20 dollar bill I also believe that people need to know what he and the others did to deserve and/or not deserve that spot on United States Currency. I believe that in efforts to do this there should be a unit in either World History or Social Studies that included a unit that goes over the facts that each person did in their life. This is a way people can come up with their own opinions and know all the facts about the people honored on the United States Currency.
    I also believe that there are many other people who impacted our history and made America great. I believe that others should be permitted onto the American Currency and that there should be some change to honor those who helped build this country into what it is now.

  14. Natalia M

    I believe that Jackson should be removed from the 20 dollar bill because he did more harm than good for America. Most people are aware that some of the most important people in our history owned slaves and were harsh to Native Americans, pushing them off their land or forcing them to act like white people. However, many of these people also did great things for the country, Washington was the first leader of the country and Lincoln was involved with the end of slavery. Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, was anything but a hero.
    I could understand how he was popular during his time- a self-made man, a war hero, who became the 7th president of the United States and who conquered new land for the country. However, I don’t understand how he is still talked about heroically today. His fortune was made through the labor of slaves and the land he got was gained by massacring hundreds of Indian people. As president, he spoke out against paper currency (rather ironic that he is now on it), vetoed the renewal of the BUS, and signed the Indian Removal Act. That act caused over 4,000 people to die on the grueling trek across 2,000 miles after being forced from their homes and land. I don’t know how anything else he did in his life could overshadow those things. For example, he once adopted an Indian boy during a campaign to eradicate Native Americans. Yeah, he was also the one responsible for the Trail of Tears (and the resulting 4,000 deaths) and before that he had lead his own people to kill hundreds of Indians near Florida in order to gain land for his own plantations.
    What did Jackson even do to deserve to be on the 20? I haven’t found any extraordinary achievements of his that haven’t exploited or hurt some people. I think we should replace Jackson with a woman important to our country, be it Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, or Susan B. Anthony. They all play an incredible role in shaping America, and none of them responsible for killing thousands of innocent people. I don’t think we should just replace him though; that to me seems like trying to cover up our past. I think we should also educate people about the kind of leaders we have had in the past, both the good, the in-betweens, and the bad ones. As a country we need to make sure our past is known and not just glazed over. Our country has come a long way and I feel some people don’t appreciate what people have worked for over the years so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today, or that we have to continue to work to keep it.

  15. Nathan C

    Throughout American history notable leaders and people have been recognized by having their faces immortalized on our currency. On our 20 dollar bill, up with the likes of Washington and Lincoln, we have Andrew Jackson. And the question is does he deserve that honor or not. In my opinion, Andrew Jackson should not be on the 20 dollar bill. He should be replaced with a figure of historical importance to America such as Martin Luther King or Harriet Tubman. Although he was a widely liked president and some people would consider him a representative of the common man in America. They would say “hey he’s been on there for this long. Why change it?” They are overlooking a huge flaw in Jackson’s presidency and this is why he should be taken off the 20. That flaw is his horrible mistreatment of the Native American people particularly the Cherokee Indians. Even though the Supreme Court supported the Cherokee to stay in their homeland where they had been for generations, Jackson pretty much just let the Georgians take the land and drive the Native Americans away from their homeland. This led to the trail of tears and the death of 4,000 Native Americans. In conclusion, keeping him on our money would pretty much be a support of these horrible things that Jackson did to Indian. To award the man responsible for the death of 4,000 Indians the honor of being displayed on our money along with great presidents like Washington and Lincoln, is not acceptable and should not continue.

  16. Christian Zeitvogel (2nd Hour)

    In the argument of who should be on the U.S.’s $20 bill, it should be concluded that former president Jackson should be removed from the bill and instead be replaced with former First-Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor was the wife of 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Eleanor revolutionized her time period for women and other minorities, and she served her country to her fullest extent. One of the major ways that she first served her country was in the encampments and hospitals in Europe during the Great War as a nurse for the Red Cross. Here she aided wounded soldiers of the allied forces. Next, and one of her most important contributions to history is her key role in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. After the second Great Awakening, the revival of religion eventually brought along the ideas that women should have a right to vote. Along with other huge figures such as Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor set the torch for women’s rights ablaze and helped pave the route with her active involvement of several organizations such as the League of Women’s Voters. Eleanor should partially be attributed towards the ratification of the 19th amendment. After this, Eleanor helped raise the popularity of FDR who was running for the presidency. She was one of the first women to serve as one of the execute campaign chiefs and organizers. Once FDR won the office, Eleanor redefined the role of the first lady. For example, two days after FDR’s inauguration, she declared that she would hold a press conference once a week, welcoming all female reporters to visit and ask questions to Eleanor about the country’s politics. Eleanor was very in touch with the citizens of America. One way she did this was by visiting various slums throughout the country and offering help and service. Considering that Eleanor was in office during the depression, the amount of slums that existed was rather high. Another huge role she accomplished was her persecution for the abolition of child labor laws. While in office, Eleanor desired to change the growing corporate powerhouses that thrived off of the abuse of a child work-force that received less pay, benefits, and compensation. It was for these reasons that she required that someone must be at least 18 in order to qualify for a job. Furthermore, Eleanor assisted in picking the country up off of its feet during the depression. One way she did this was by supporting FDR’s New Deal programs, and by recruiting women to find jobs that benefited some of these New Deal agendas. In addition, Eleanor was one of th founders for white allies with the soon erupting Civil Rights movement; Eleanor was a dignified member of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Lastly, Elanor evolved into a global role model by being elected as the debut head to the United Nations Human Rights Commission; in fact she was one of the lead authors and presenters of “The Struggles for the Rights of Man”, a document that established some of the most basic of human rights that should be observed globally. One of the mandates in this document was to recognize the state of Israel as a sovereign nation.
    When we look at Eleanor Roosevelt’s service to her country, and it appears as though she only did good to her country. She revolutionized Women’s Rights and gave them some sort of voice. She stood up for children, and the abuse they went through to help provide for their families. She was an early ally to the simmering dilemma of Civil Rights. She was down-to-earth, and made sure to help bring people out of the depression, whether it was by visiting slums and offering aid, or by getting women to sign up for jobs in the New Deal Plan. She did all of this while only being a first- lady. When we look at Jackson’s presidency, we see that he did do some good things for our country. However, he has also slashed the darkest streaks across America’s history. Jackson notoriously forced the Cherokees, Seminoles, and other Native American tribes off of their land, subjecting them to inhumane conditions and death. He also violated his powers and directly defied SCOTUS twice regarding the battle of the BUS as well as ratifying the IRA (Indian Removal Act). Even when he wasn’t president, Jackson ignored the orders of his higher-ranking superior, and instead of simply investigating Florida, Jackson seized all of the Spanish forts. Jackson abused his power and persecuted minorities because he felt it was right (Sounds similar to another person trying to win the presidency with a funky hairstyle, doesn’t it?) It is for these reasons that schools should modify their curriculum to educate people on the truth of Jackson’s famous reign, and that he be replaced on the $20 bill with the honorable former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.

  17. Joan L

    Personally I think Jackson should be taken off the 20$ bill and replaced with a woman of historical significance like Harriet Tubman. Andrew Jackson himself didn’t support paper money so why put him on it; why not a coin? His rise to fame can be viewed different ways like: he was taking land that he had no right to be in, and killed hundreds in said territory without any orders to do so, and even fighting with the British after the War of 1812 was over which could of started another war had the British not have a different war to fight in. Or what he did could be considered “manifest destiny,” and nationalism. Either way Jackson was still an easily triggered man with a temper that didn’t renew the Second Bank of the United States which led to the panic of 1836. Talking about Andrew Jackson in history classes is enough his legacy is a memorable one but it came at the cost of many. Jackson is not someone America wants to be remembered for. Harriet Tubman on the other hand is, it would be. Nice to have a woman on some form of currency because men weren’t the only important figures in American History, though they are the majority because women were considered less than and still are because we still get paid less, raped, beaten/abused, etc. Though it does occur to men it’s not as often as women. I think a woman should be on the 20 dollar bill because it’s easy to look at the money have now and feel as if women aren’t represented at all; or even recognized to be of some importance. If a six year old girl came up and asked “Why aren’t there any women on American currency?” how would you answer? I wouldn’t be able to answer because there isn’t an answer or reason I could give is suitable for a child besides: “I don’t know. They should really change that.”

  18. Ian Herdegen

    I did not believe in sugarcoating American history by taking Andrew Jackson off of the 20 dollar bill, however after reading the article, “Rethinking History” and after studying hot-tempered Andrew Jackson’s history as President of the United States I do consider the possibility of removing the former President from the bill. First of all, Andrew Jackson smashed the Second B.U.S. and hated paper currency. There is no reason for him to be on the bill if he himself wouldn’t want paper money to be circulating the country. More importantly though, are the vile things he did as president. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, passed in 1830 so non-Indians could access Indian gold, focused on moving native Americans out of their ancestral homelands and out west of the Mississippi River to federal territory. They were essentially forced to comply and had to march many miles by militias, thousands died along the way. These are all good reasons that may be brought up when speaking of the issue of Andrew Jackson on the $20 dollar bill. Sometimes it is right to break tradition and try new things. However, I still believe that Andrew Jackson should stay on the bill. It would spark too much controversy if Andrew Jackson was removed from the bill. A lot of arguments that would come up over who should replace him. It would take forever to find a replacement, and when one is picked I am positive that not everybody will be happy with it and there will be just as much controversy as before.

  19. Tassia Zaryckyj

    I find it rather surprising that removing Andrew Jackson from the twenty dollar bill is an issue brought about by people, especially democrats, considering Andrew Jackson was a democrat himself. He was the seventh president of the United States and deserves to be on the bill more than any woman, especially one whom is known for going against the law. We look at what Jackson had done to the Indians as an awful moment in history, therefore wanting to remove him from the bill, but we set aside the good he had done for our country. Also I believe that if Jackson’s goal had truly been to annihilate the Cherokee, he could have simply done nothing and let it happen. The federal government could have stayed out of the crisis escalating along the border, permitting Georgians to carve up the tribal lands and boot innocent Cherokee from their properties. With no territory to migrate to and little hope, the Cherokee way of life could have been completely destroyed, and their culture extinguished. This policy could reasonably be called “genocide,” but Jackson and most other American leaders in the nineteenth century would not have seen this as a serious or responsible option.
    Being a president, Andrew Jackson shaped America and left a lasting impact on our country. He was the forefather of the modern Democratic Party. He faced down South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis when state politicians declared they had the right to nullify tariff legislation and any other Federal law that went against state interests. He strengthened the power of the presidency and expanded the spoils system to strengthen his political base through patronage. Lastly, he was the first and only president to pay off the entire national debt. However, I believe for the mere fact that he was a president he should remain on the bill.

  20. Vincent Jackson

    I think that even though Jackson and his policies back when he was president may have gone against what we know think of as ideal, however I don’t think we need to take him off of the $20 bill. Though Jackson was involved in a corruption scandal, and he went through a tremendous amount in office, I don’t believe it is necessary for us to take him down from the $20 bill. President Jackson played a huge role in the development of our country as we saw what different types of political leaders look like in office. His presidency served as a learning period for America, and even though he may not have been the best president, you cannot ignore Jackson’s successful career starting his fame with the Battle of New Orleans, all the way until the end of his presidency. I think taking Jackson from the $20 bill would ultimately lead to a bunch of changes in America that I think are totally unnecessary, the taking down of Jackson upon the bill could lead to extraordinary changes in American, which would not only change hoe we view America today, but would ultimately frown upon what we know as the foundation for what is commonly known as the greatest country in the world. President Jackson played a very important role in the development of Early America in its first half-century, and with that being said I think he rightfully has a place on the $20 bill, one of which should not be replaced even looking back at his presidency through today’s views.

  21. Lindsay H

    Although I believe that putting a woman or a native American on the $20 bill, I believe that the #3 is the best option. Changing it to another person would require too many new bills to be printed, and there would still be too many Andrew jacksons in circulation. There are people in American history who were better than him morally and achievements wise but it would be too costly and too much work to just start swiing hium out with another person. It is probably painful for Native Americans whose people were affected by Andrew Jackson’s actions in the past to see him being commemorated on American money when they were the first ones here and had a right to the land that they lived on, and was wrongly taken away from them. Harriet Tubman has been one of the people that many want on a new $20 but it would just be too much to change it. It wouldn’t be fair to keep him on but the government has too many issues and costly thiongs to spend time on.

  22. Janae G.

    Before and after reading the article “Rethinking history” and taking the subject into full consideration, I believe it would be best to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 dollar bill, and to replace him with a more positive representative. Andrew Jackson is seen as a hero to many, but that is not all that portrays him. Everyone has flaws but I believe Jackson has flaws to an extent to where he doesn’t quite deserve the privilege of being the representative of the $20 bill. He is responsible for the destruction of the Indian tribes, someone who encouraged enslavement (was a slave owner himself), the spoil system, etc. To me it would be best to replace him with a woman of historical significance such as Harriet Tubman for many reasons. With her on the bill I feel as though it portrays women moving up politically, it would symbolize something truly great, It will mean something great not only to the African-American community, but women overall, It’s great for a change in U.S history. There have been debates on whether or not Jackson should be removed from and replaced with someone who would symbolize our progress as a nation, and in my opinion replacing him with someone as important as Harriet, it would do just that. So yes he is viewed as a hero in many ways, but his wrong doings do not deserve such a privilege. There is a selection of people to choose from, Andrew is not our only option, and as America we can decide on someone more suitable for the 20 dollar bill

  23. Frances V.W.

    I believe that Andrew Jackson should be removed from the twenty dollar bill, and replaced with a woman of cultural significance. He should be removed from the bill because, leaving him on the bill shows that we ignore what he has done or support it, and a country that promotes equality should show that they promote it in their currency.
    Andrew Jackson’s actions were the main cause of the Trail of Tears which led to the deaths of four thousand Native Americans, leaving him on the bill makes it seem as if the American Government condones or ignores (which is even worse) his actions. He is also a known slave owner. His removal would show that America has improved as a country and knows that his actions are not something to look up to.
    Another good reason to remove Andrew Jackson from the bill and replace him with a woman (possibly a woman of color) would be to support the idea our nation was founded on, equality. America is a nation built on the belief that everyone should be treated equally, if our bills are covered in pictures of old white men, how equal are we?
    Someone could argue that Andrew Jackson, as the seventh president, deserves his place on the twenty dollar bill, and many other president are known to be slave owners. Though Andrew Jackson and many other American presidents have slave ownership in common, most other presidents did not cause the suffering of over ninety thousand people.
    In conclusion I believe that because of Andrew Jackson’s actions, and how having Andrew Jackson appear on the bill makes the country I look, Andrew Jackson should be removed from the twenty dollar bill and replaced with a woman of cultural significance.

    -Frances Van Wordragen

  24. Aldo Buttazzoni

    To answer the question of weather or not Thomas Jefferson should be taken off the twenty-dollar bill, you must first ask yourself why he was put on the bill in the first place. After reading the article and asking myself the question I asked myself not only why he was put on the bill but the other presidents as well, if Jefferson being on the twenty-dollar bill is up for review then why not the others? The people pictured on our money were chosen because of their impact on the country and how easily they are recognized for being parents of the United States of America. Thomas Jefferson was a founding father of the country and will forever be despite the fact that he owned slaves or his short temper of the fact that he was a hot head. At one point in time he was chosen to be on the bill, so why now take it away? Is it because looking back on our past we realize that some things we did were morally wrong (slavery) and that taking one of the founding fathers faces off of the twenty dollar bill will make up for that? One that has been on the bill for centuries. Like I said before, nothing he did can take away the fact that he was a leader in the creation of the country. At the time Jefferson was living, owning slaves wasn’t looked upon like it is now. It doesn’t make it any less bad but it doesn’t mean we should punish him for it. As for the idea of putting someone else’s face on it I don’t believe it should be done. On the blog Harriet Tubman’s face was on the bill, and although she was a significant figure in America’s history she only represents a certain time in America, not the birth of it like Thomas Jefferson, and that is why I think Thomas Jefferson should stay on the twenty-dollar bill. The fact that this question is even being asked is just another example of PC culture running rampant on our schools and society.

  25. Lindsay H

    After learning about Andrew Jackson in class, I would think that it would be fantastic to replace him with a woman or a Native American of historical significance. However, instead of choosing option #2, I think that option #3 is the best. Option 2 would require the United States to spend billions of dollars that I’m sure they would rather spend elsewhere on the reprinting of the $20 bill. When he was president, Jackson was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Indians and displacement of even more. It seems like it would be very painful for those today whose tribes and families were affected by his actions to see him being commemorated on the $20. It is a reminder of all the pain and death that although they weren’t alive for, they still feel the pain of even 200 years later. In fact, Andrew Jackson wasn’t even in favor of paper money- he hated the very idea of it, so I think it’s pretty ironic that his face was printed on paper money. I know that he did do some positive things, but there is no excuse or compensation for what he did to the Native Americans, and we can’t overlook that, but the government would have a difficult time replacing him with a new person. There are too many $20 bills in circulation and even though the Jackson ones will gradually start to be used less, I think that it would be too much money and too much work and there would be too many people who would be unhappy with it. As a woman I can see where people are coming from when they want him replaced with someone like Eleanor Roosevelt or Harriet Tubman, but in my opinion it would just be seen as a formality rather than progression in women’s rights, and I think the same can be said for having a Native American or African American representative on the $20 bill. I would rather have real progression with these group’s rights than have Andrew Jackson taken off and replaced, and I hope that makes sense and that other people recognize that as well.

  26. Marcus

    I believe that either two things should happen: Keep him on the $20 dollar bill and educate people about him so that they know his history and contribution to America or take him off and put someone that had a more moral based impact on the U.S. Let’s not forget that it would be too costly to change the $20 but instead gradually put another person’s face on it over time. As a tribute to Native Americans we should put someone who fought for their rights or an African American such as Martin Luther or Rosa Parks because they also have been people of change in the American community but with a better moral. I would say if we did change the face of the $20, consider all the other bills as well for all fairness for others that have contributed to this country. Gradually change the bill to someone else and while the Jackson $20 is still in circulation educate people on what his legacy was, all of it not just the good parts, so people can understand who’s face is represented on our currency but we should do this for all representatives. The reason I say that he shouldn’t be on our bill and to make a graduate change is because he didn’t even like paper money and didn’t authorize the second BUS to be in commission for a very long time and that was money the U.S. could’ve used for many situations and for emergencies. Overall, I think my point stands to change the bill but gradually and to educate everyone on not just the $20 dollar bill, but for the others as well.

  27. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    My thoughts regarding the debate over whether or not Andrew Jackson should be on the twenty dollar bill were hard to decide. On one side, Andrew Jackson’s wrongs are extremely hard to ignore, but his accomplishments are some of the greatest in history. So my decision was determined by two things: if his accomplishments overweighed his wrongdoings or vice versa, and whether his wrongdoings were worse than other presidents. In the end, I believe that Jackson should stay on the twenty dollar bill, but his actions need to be discussed within the school system. Now, if this is my requirement for Jackson, then I believe all presidents/famous historians (on money and/or honored by named buildings) need to have their wrongdoings discussed. If Jackson’s actions are being pondered over their morality, and he was not the president to commit the worst wrongdoings, then why is he being targeted? To me, if his ability to be on national symbols is being questioned, others’ ability also needs to be questioned as well. Also, every person cannot be perfect; now I know this doesn’t justify every bad act he did, but it explains why we can’t only look at his mistakes. Without these mistakes, he had no way of making progress to achieve the great things he did. This is something alot of Americans seem to overlook; if I was only judged upon my wrongdoings, I would be considered a lot worse than I am today. The same goes with Jackson and other presidents/historical figures. We can’t only determine their worthiness of honor by their wrongdoings, we also have to judge his accomplishments. After looking over his accomplishments compared to his mistakes, I think his accomplishments cannot be overlooked and deserve to be honored.
    Wallie H.

  28. Mia Turner

    I believe we should remove Jackson from the 20 dollar bill because no one really knows who he did or what he did. I think it would be better to replace him with someone who’s more memorable. Your idea of leaving him but educating people about him is a good idea, but I don’t believe enough people would care to listen or let you try to teach them in the first place. Replacing Jackson on the 20 dollar bill wouldn’t remove him from history, it would just be putting a more known face on something that millions of people use. Jackson also isn’t the best face to have on a 20 dollar bill anyways due to his help in the removal of indians. I believe we should change the 20 dollar bill.

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