It makes cents to change the $20 bill
DIEGO LUNA | BUSINESS EDITOR | THE USD VISTA | @diegotothemoon
Harriet Tubman will be replacing former president Andrew Jackson on the front side of the $20 bill, which will bump Jackson to the back.
After lengthy deliberations on the United States Senate floor, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew announced this historic change.
The New York Times has dubbed this change the most symbolic makeover of American currency in a century.
Andrew Jackson was a lawyer and a landowner. He then became a national war hero after defeating the British in New Orleans during the War of 1812, and in 1828 Jackson was elected the seventh president of the United States.
Andrew Jackson has been featured on the front side of the bill since 1928, with the White House featured on the reverse side.
It might have been an ironic move to have Andrew Jackson as the face of the $20 bill for such a long time, since he fought the central bank in 1832.
And that’s right where Andrew Jackson’s legacy with the banks picks up.
In one statement Jackson expressed his views to a delegation of bankers discussing the recharter of the Second Bank of the United States.
“You are a den of vipers and thieves,” Jackson said. “I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.”
Jackson’s opposition to the bank became almost an obsession. Followed by strong attacks against the bank in the press, Jackson vetoed the bank recharter bill until it expired in 1836.
Harriet Tubman was an African-American abolitionist during the Civil War famously known for her outstanding efforts in guiding other slaves out of oppression using the Underground Railroad. Tubman, or any other female leader, have not previously been featured in any form of U.S. currency.
Harriet Tubman and Andrew Jackson both had different views on a variety of issues, including, but not limited to, the idea of human freedom. Tubman also served as a Union spy that strongly opposed the ownership of black slaves.
Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, had long been an advocate of what he called the Indian Removal.
In 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act, which later led to the infamous Trail of Tears.
Junior Tom McCarthy agrees with this change in currency, but points out that the portrait the U.S. Treasury is choosing to portray Tubman looks morphed.
“I’m fine with the idea of putting new people on our money,” McCarthy said. “It reflects that history is always being made and it’s good to change things up a little now and then. I’m just not a fan of how she looks on the bill, it kind of looks weird if you stare ahead from the photograph.”
Similarly, there are students who also agree with this new change, but don’t necessarily attribute it to a change the U.S. needs to make.
Junior Jared Eckenweiler states that his support for the change in currency roots from Jackson’s poor decisions as president of the United States and former general in the U.S. Army.
“I think it’s a good move,” Eckenweiler said. “Jackson wouldn’t have wanted to be currency anyways, plus his record as president poorly reflected his decisions as a just man.”
However, there are still people in the U.S. that believe this change has created a tension between two heroes with different agendas.
According to USA Today, many saw the decision as an attack on the historical contributions made by Andrew Jackson.
Many supporters believe the change is as much a politically correct attempt to get rid of Jackson’s renowned legacy as it is to celebrate Tubman’s accomplishments.
President and CEO of the Andrew Jackson Foundation, Howard Kittell, does not support the new change.
“Dismayed and disappointed would be two words we would use to describe the decision,”
This is not the first time the Senate has chosen to change the faces featured on the currency, and it will not be the last.
In fact, there are talks being held at upper levels of government that hint that there will be more changes that will include other civil right leaders, males and females respectively.
In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Marian Anderson are rumored to be depicted on the back of the new $5 bill in the future.
Although Tubman may be the first woman to be honored on U.S. paper currency.
There has also been an upheaval in controversy that revolves around the idea of patriotism.
USD identifies itself as a changemaking campus, and according to the Changemaker Hub, USD aims to create an ecosystem that fosters compassion and to provide knowledge and capabilities for building a humane world.
One would assume building a humane world would require an ecosystem with less judgement, less demagogues, and more compassion for diversity and inclusion.
It has also been rumored that the production of the $20 bill will be alternated between the Harriet Tubman portrait and Andrew Jackson’s portrait.
Simply put, Congress is still deciding if the Andrew Jackson version of the $20 bill should still be printed and circulated along with the Harriet Tubman version.
Only time will tell if this change in currency will set precedents for future.