Below is the email sent from the Andrew Jackson Foundation regarding the removal of Jackson from the front of the $20.
My view is that this has been handled poorly. It is important to understand people as being from their time. Values change. Were Jackson alive today would he want to own slaves? Of course not. Would he authorize the removal of Indians? Hardly. Instead, Jackson is now considered a “bad” person by many who refuse to understand the fact that times and people change.
Instead of making a production about changing the $20, and running down Jackson in the process, why not make a policy that all bills and coins are updated on a rotating schedule. Say the $1 through $20 each get changed every eight years with a new bill issued every two years; one new bill every two years and the design stays current for eight years. Don’t like that, then how about every twelve years with a new bill every three years. The $50 and $100, that aren’t used that often, could be changed less frequently, say every ten years.
Cost should not be a concern here. Collectors will snap these up and the mint turn a profit there. Bills have to be reprinted constantly anyhow. Yes, I understand there are costs with the design competition and engraving plates but who cares. The Fed has to stay ahead of counterfeiters so this could be a good way to do it.
We’ve headed down this path so let’s go full throttle. There are hundreds of “worthy” individuals and events. We should never run out of options for new bills. The major issue is to keep this out of politicians hands. Nor should design choices be made in an attempt to not hurt feelings. Just as Thurgood Marshall’s seat on the Supreme Court should never have been looked at as the “African-American seat”, bill denominations should not be played that way either. When it is time to replace Harriet Tubman, the bill should not automatically be filled with another black woman. If we are going to claim to be non-racist and non-sexist the bill must be open to all, including white men.
In the mean time, fans of Alexander Hamilton can thank Hamilton: An American Musical for his renewed popularity and most likely saving him on the $10 bill. Ron Chernow must be loving life at this point. It’s an authors dream.
Read more about the issue here. Below is the email received from the Andrew Jackson Foundation.
OUR POSITION ON THE PROPOSED $20
By now, you certainly have heard the news. On April 20, United States Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced plans for the redesign of the $5, $10, and $20 bills. The front of the new $20 bill will feature American abolitionist Harriet Tubman instead of President Andrew Jackson, who moves to the back of the bill and joins an image of the White House.
As can be expected, Secretary Lew’s announcement has drawn national attention and spirited conversation, both pro and con. Many supporters of Andrew Jackson and of his home, The Hermitage, have asked for our opinion of Treasury’s action.
We support efforts to diversify the representation on U.S. currency to include women and other groups not currently featured. But as keepers of Andrew Jackson’s story, we are also dedicated to reminding us all why there was an Age of Jackson, who he was, and why he was revered by so many. Therein lies our disappointment.
The announcement from Secretary Lew is a reversal of the Treasury Department’s previous position. We look forward to further discussion with Treasury. As noted last summer, by Treasury officials, Jackson too has his supporters, and no historical figure is without complication. We ask that if you would like to voice your opinion, do so by contacting Secretary Lew.
Andrew Jackson was an iconic American who was considered in his time as the second George Washington and whose own story, from Revolutionary War orphan to war hero to president, became a metaphor for the emerging American identity. He was truly a self-made man who transformed our republic from a democracy in name to a democracy indeed. He inspired other presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and was revered by both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton among others. He also owned slaves, and signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. All of these stories are on display at The Hermitage.
We value your continued support of this institution and its mission as we continue to preserve, educate, and inspire.
Andrew Jackson and The Hermitage are at the heart of America’s story. I urge you to visit his home in Nashville, Tennessee, and learn the complete story of Jackson’s life and legacy, both pro and con.
Howard J. Kittell
President & CEO
Andrew Jackson Foundation