Should Andrew Jackson be replaced on the $20 Bill?

$5 Bill

Abraham Lincoln Featured on the $5 Bill

$2 Bill

Thomas Jefferson featured on the $2 Bill.

Recently the Obama administration announced in 2016 that Harriet Tubman would be replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Once President Donald Trump took over shortly after the announcement, the presidential office, this change was delayed and will seemingly not be happening anytime soon .After examining Jackson’s accomplishments compared to his shortcomings and controversies, it can be difficult to be unbiased when deciding if he should or should not be replaced on the bill. Many historians and scholars are in disagreement with each other on the topic. Some believe he should be featured on the back of the bill and not the front. While others believe he should not appear on any currency. Others would like to see Harriet Tubman featured on the bill in replace of Jackson, as well as some who believe Jackson should stay on the front of the bill and not be replaced.

An important part of this discussion is an overview of the other presidents or people featured on U.S. currency. While Jackson is mainly remembered for his wrongdoings, other presidents such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are more well known for their accomplishments. George Washington, the first president of the United States, appears on the $1 bill and was also a slaveholder like Jackson. Around 300 slaves lived at Mount Vernon when George Washington died. He also supported legislation upholding slavery and also opposed other legislation on slavery. He signed the fugitive slave act guaranteed a right for a slaveholder to recover an escaped slave. He also signed the Northwest Ordinance that recognized the Northwest territory and outlawed slavery within the territory. He never publicly denounced slavery as an institution, and there is no discussion of removing him from the $1 bill.

Thomas Jefferson is also mostly remembered for his presidency and the Declaration of Independence, he appears on the $2 bill. Many ignore that he owned hundreds of slaves in his life time and stated publicly that African Americans were inferior, specifically in regards to intelligence. At the same time, he also supported gradual emancipation, which would end with the colonization of African Americans so they would not be intermingling with white society. He was dedicated to emancipating the slaves which was contradictory to the amount of slaves he held in his lifetime.

When taking a closer look at the behaviors of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, we can see that they share similarities with Jackson. If removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill is considered then so should removing Washington and Jefferson. It is not adequate enough to only judge Jackson by his two mistakes, while we look at the accomplishments at other presidents on the currency and chose to ignore their mistakes. Overall, Jackson had far more accomplishments than shortcomings as he eliminated the national debts, internal improvements soared under his presidency, he was a celebrated war hero, he followed through with destroying the bank, strengthening the power of the executive, and he also succeeded in representing the common man. However, Jackson is far too controversial, especially in recent years. He would be in the right spot if he was moved to the back of the bill, and someone like Harriet Tubman replaced him in the front. His accomplishments earn him his place on the bill, but his controversial actions lessen what he has earned which is why he should appear on the back. Especially compared to President Abraham Lincoln, who is featured on the $5 bill, Jackson should be featured on the back of the bill. Lincoln who had some of the greatest presidential accomplishments, like the passing of the 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation. 


Should Andrew Jackson be replaced on the $20 Bill?