Yesterday, the Treasury Department announced that, among other changes, Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill.
I support this. Tubman was a great figure in American history who worked to advance the cause of human liberty. I’ve been pleased to see that many people I respect on the Right have also praised the change. And, you know, we used to change the people on bills all the time. Hamilton was on it once, as was a more obscure Treasury Secretary, Daniel Manning. So, yes, let’s shake things up.
Even though I’ve never been especially a Jackson fan, I feel like he’s getting slammed a little too much these days. I mean, he was a proponent of slavery and Indian removal, so those are major strikes against him, but he was also the first president to suggest that poor and landless people (if they were white and male) deserved an equal say in this country’s governance as the rich and landed. Jackson and his followers expanded full participation in the republic to a lot of people in a fairly short time, and in a way no other nation was really doing.
That didn’t amount to much if you were one of his slaves or one of the Indians he forced to walk a thousand miles away from their homes (and possibly die on the way,) but it meant something positive to a great many people, the sort of folk who had no voice in any other country at the time. His monetary policy was kind of bizarre, but he did whip the redcoats at New Orleans, so that’s something.
So, let’s be glad to see him go, but not Vox-ify the nuanced character that founded the Democratic Party and did some good along with all the bad.