The Department of Treasury in the United States in April 2016 made announcements on plans to adjust several amendments to the American currency. In their proposal, they constituted the most extensive revisions in nearly a century. Among the changes proposed in the $ 20 bill, which has all along been bearing the portrait of Andrew Jackson on the front side will now carry the picture of the former anti-slavery and abolitionist crusader, Harriet Tubman. Additionally, the Treasury has scheduled the bills for $ 5 and $10 for the redesign to bear the portraits of other women and leaders of civil rights groups. The department has also scheduled the official unveiling of new faced redesigns to be done in 2020 (Yglesias, 2016).
Jacob, the secretary of the Treasury, asserted that Tubman had been role model to many for her brave leadership and her involvement in promoting democracy. The numerous comments and positive reaction from the children who not only consider the icon as a historic but as a shining example as a leadership mentor particularly touched the Treasury secretary. However, critics have met Treasury’s decision with a lot of controversy voicing their diverse views concerning the changes. The critics insist that the proposed changes will have many far-reaching negative impacts on the history of the United States (Speiser, 2015).
This paper presents an argument that intends to persuade a senator in the Senate against impending sweeping extended changes in the currency of the United States. It seeks comprehensively outline the arguments that explain why the front side of the $ 20 US currency which currently bears the portrait of President Andrew Jackson should not change to the picture of Harriet Tubman (Brown, 2017).
The main problem with the proposed changes in the US currency is the fact that the issue presents a symbolic question rather than a practical question in the controversial American political atmosphere. This is because the problem of racism in the United States is one of the controversial topics in the politics. Some of the critics in the issue term the move as one that can potentially divide the country. This is due to the long history of the racism among the American society between the Whites and the non- white communities who reside in the most powerful country (Pruitt, 2015). Harriet Tubman is a black American while the president Andrew Jackson is a pure white, which means that the proposed changes are apparently controversial. The changes, therefore, have the potential to polarize the political atmosphere of the American politics with the possibility of intensifying the racism in the society. This may negatively affect the peaceful coexistence among the White and non- white communities (Yglesias, 2016).
The inclusion of a woman figure on the front portrait of the $ 20 bills is a sign of progress towards enhancing the gender equality among the members of the society in the US. However, this indicates that the social privilege of the white men is under threat yet again following the recently failed attempt to replace the current treasury secretary with a woman. It also shows that the demographic face of the culture in the US is changing in a way that is not acceptable (Speiser, 2015).The move by the Democratic Party to institute the change is evidence that the politics of the traditional conservative movement a greatly opposed by the Republicans.
It is important to note that the primary objective of the Treasury Department in its activities of redesigning the currency is to implement the necessary measures that are aimed at reducing the incidences of counterfeit notes in the money transactions during the daily economic activities. On the other hand, the issue about replacing the portrait with that of a woman is a mere aesthetic fix that is not in any way significant in preventing counterfeit incidences in the money. It is, therefore, unnecessary to replace portrait of President Jackson with that of a woman by the Treasury (Inskeep, 2015).The proposed changes are consequently uncalled for because they will only serve to create antagonism among the American society, therefore, overshadowing the primary objective.
Andrew Jackson is a former president of the United States who became the seventh commander in chief in 1829 and therefore is a symbolic figure in the history of the United States (Speiser, 2015). Andrew Jackson is heavily criticised for his cruelty against the slaves in his famous slave advertisement, Runaway (Brown, 2017). The potential replacement of his portrait, Harriet Tubman was influential in aiding the slaves to escape forced labor while working as union spy. The cruelty of the Andrew Jackson cannot nullify the fact that he was indeed one of the founding fathers of the United States. His deeds are not acceptable in the postmodern era, but during those days, it was hard to consider them as infringing on the rights of the black people who were brought to the country as slaves (Yglesias, 2016).
Therefore, despite his cruel deeds, he has still been celebrated an influential figure in shaping the destiny of the United States and therefore should continue to be recognized in the American money as many other founding fathers. The argument put forward when identifying his portrait for replacement was the fact he never advocated for the use of the paper money. The claim does not hold any waters, and thus it is not a legitimate reason for his removal from the $ 20 bill (Yglesias, 2016). The claim overlooks his overall importance to the country because his stand 3was merely just that which did not prevent the actual existence of the paper money.
The Department of Treasury initially intended to replace the face of $10 bill that bore the picture of Alexander Hamilton to feature a woman due to the longstanding requests from the activists. However, the victim of the turned out to be the former president Andrew Jackson because the supporters of the founder of the banking and monetary system in the US protested against that change. According to his fans, Hamilton is more connected to the currency compared to other public figures in the country and therefore should remain put (Speiser, 2015). The selection of Jackson is an unfair decision given his immense contribution to the history of the United States and hence, regardless of his perceived cruelty towards the slaves cannot be rendered insignificant to the nation.
Andrew Jackson has a great historical significance in the United States due to his immense contribution to the Army of the Americas where he led the forces to significant victories in some battles throughout his career. During the Age of Jackson, the influential leader contributed to greater democracy in the country, most notably among the ordinary people. It was during his tenure as an American President that the country experienced the most significant political movements before the start of slavery around the 1850s. In 1801 when he was the commander of the American forces where he led the army to a crucial victory against the invading British forces (Inskeep, 2015). He famously won the Battle of the New Orleans against the British troops where he ruthless defeated the British troops leaving them with over 2000 casualties against America’s 71. He later served as the US president for eight years from 1829 to 1837.
His achievements greatly contributed to the nature of the modern day politics because he founded the modern day Democratic Party after the split of the Democratic-Republican Party and later contested using the party for the presidency in 1828. He is the First President elected through the Democratic Party in of the United States (Berman, 2015). The Democratic Party is the oldest party that still exists in the modern day politics all over the world and is one of the two political parties in the United States.
Andrew Jackson’s primary objective in leading a political movement was to promote greater democracy for the sake of the ordinary people, commonly known as Jackson democracy. He devolved the political power from the already politically established elites to the ordinary voters. He promoted democracy through all ranks of politics in the American nation, which remained a dominant issue before the start of slavery in the 1850s. Jacksonian democracy played a crucial role in growing the American democracy, which later motivated various events and political movement in later years (Inskeep, 2015).
The Jacksonian democracy enabled all white males to exercise their right to vote in an electoral process by initiating the change of state laws that only allowed male voters who possess property to vote. Through Jacksonian democracy, the majority of states adopted the universal male suffrage by the 1850s, which subsequently led to the abandonment of the provisions that eligible voters must own property and the mandatory payment of taxes. These efforts by Andrew Jackson were of supreme importance to facilitating better representation of the less privileged citizens in the United States (Anirudh, 2016).
During his tenure as the president, he intensified the trading activities between the United States and other European countries by signing treaties as well as opening up the borders for more trade with Asian and South American countries. During his presidency, Jackson led to around 70 % increase in the exports and a remarkable 250 % increase in the imports into the country. Jackson was also instrumental in the fight against corruption where he undertook some measures to do away with corrupt elements inherited from the previous regimes. He facilitated resignations from the office of the corrupt officers including his postmaster general found engaging in fraudulent activities (Brown, 2017). He played a critical role in the growth of science in the United States, specifically in the field of oceanography when he authorized scientific expeditions in 1836, implemented later on by his successor Martin Van Buren.
The proposition by the leadership of the Democratic Party under President Obama to remove former President Andrew Jackson is questionable. The criterion used only proves that the decision was purely a political one. The series of changes that have taken place over the years that the Democratic Party has been around in the American Politics can explain the clamor for the replacement of the face of Jackson from the $ 20 currency.
During the mid-20th century, the inclusion of the Northern African Americans into the Democratic Party led to the incorporation of their interests into the party. The Africans Americans were for their civil rights supported by the progressive movements and the liberal ideologues. Their inclusion meant that the Democratic Party became a new multi-racial coalition that has led to a historiographical revolution in the history of the United States. This has subsequently led to the significant shift from the old norms under which Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party (Speiser, 2015). Many progressives now in the party are therefore supportive of replacing the champion of democracy in the United States with the portrait of a black woman on the $20 bill.
In conclusion, the proposed replacement of Andrew Jackson from the face of the $20 bill with the face of Harriet Tubman should be allowed to happen. This because it will deny the future generation to honor one of the most prominent founding fathers of the United States who played a critical role in the growth of democracy in the country. Although Harriet Tubman also deserves equal recognition in equal measures, it should not at the expense of compromising the efforts of Andrew Jackson, who in many ways created the modern world.
Inskeep, S. (2015). Should Jackson stay on the $20 bill? The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/opinion/should-Jackson-stay-on-the-dollar20-bill.html
Berman, P. (2015). Democracy in its tens and twenties. The Tablet, United States. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/191836/democracy-and-its-tens-and-twenties
Anirudh (2016). Ten major accomplishments of Andrew Jackson. Leornodic Newtonic. https://learnodo-newtonic.com/andrew-jackson-accomplishments
Brown, D.L. (2017). Hunting down runaway slaves: the cruel ads of Andrew Jackson and the master class. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/04/11/hunting-down-runaway-slaves-the-cruel-ads-of-andrew-jackson-and-the-master-class/?utm_term=.47eb62e9be58
Yglesias, M, (2016). The controversy over Harriet Tubman, Andrew Jackson, and the $20 bill explained. https://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11477568/20-bill-harriet-tubman-party-alexander-hamilton
Speiser, M. (2015). Why people are angry about the $10 bill change. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-are-arguing-that-the-us-should-change-the-20-bill-instead-of-the-10-bill-2015-6?IR=T