Enough with the sanitizing of American history. In a cowardly backtrack, the Treasury Secretary has changed course and will leave Alexander Hamilton on the Ten Dollar Bill. But he’ll now move to strike Andrew Jackson from the Twenty. Although he did get it half-right with Hamilton, why the move against Jackson?
As far as Hamilton is concerned, maybe he was influenced by Broadway actors from the play ‘Hamilton’ coming to the White House. Maybe he brushed up on history and listened to the people rightly objecting to the removal of the first treasury secretary. Can’t think of many beyond Hamilton who might be considered a ‘must have’ as far as inclusion on money.
So Hamilton gets saved. But in this hyper-sensitive, politically correct culture of ours, one of the old white men responsible for forging the greatest nation on earth had to be sacrificed at the altar of progressive change. And it’s a shame mainly because the new recipient is a great American named Harriet Tubman. Of course in our modern age, we can’t just elevate someone, we’ve got to tear someone down in the process.
Andrew Jackson draws the short straw this time. He’s been pilloried for years by progressive Left writers for being a “Slaver” and responsible for the deaths of indigenous people as the nation expanded and attempted to maintain the Union. Much of the narrative about Jackson is a ‘selective’ at best and ‘false’ at worst depiction of the decisions he made while President. As a matter of fact, the big decision to relocate the Cherokee Indians from Georgia to Oklahoma resulted from a conversation that actually began under the administration of our first president and slave owner, George Washington.
The policy of removal was certainly not unique to the Jackson presidential administration. Plans to move tribes to the west began with George Washington, and the inability to create a long-term solution for the Cherokee had vexed every president since the “Father of Our Country” left office.
The real issue was the declaration of the Cherokees as a sovereign nation within Georgia which ended up as a case in front of the Supreme Court.
During this period in history the new president was also dealing with a possible succession in South Carolina over tariffs. The historical perspective is absolutely critical to understanding the actions of the time. The president was fighting to keep the Union together as well as balance the rights of all people living within the borders of the US. Here’s what he said during his inaugural address:
It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe toward the Indian tribes within our limits a just and liberal policy, and to give that humane and considerate attention to their rights and their wants which is consistent with the habits of our Government and the feelings of our people.
Jackson was an anti-establishment populist serving as the first president from the frontier which represented a real shift in American politics. Did you know that he’s considered the forefather of the Democratic Party? Did you know that he balanced the national budget, opposed the federal bank and expanded the powers of the presidency? All the while acting to actually protect indigenous Americans and keep the Union from breaking apart.
On the other side of this issue is the elevation of Harriet Tubman. A great American in her own right. You’re gonna hear many news outlets discussing her heroic activities saving slaves through the Underground Railroad and fight for civil rights. It’s all true and she should absolutely be celebrated as an American hero. Her incredible story going from an escaped slave turned abolitionist and civil rights hero is worthy of high recognition. Why though at the expense of one of the leaders who clearly helped shape our modern nation?
The challenge with today’s culture is that people don’t read history. They hear attacks on historical figures from outlets like Huffington Post and then fail to comprehend the actual contribution that these same leaders had to our evolution and development as the greatest free nation on earth.
Our history has many things that under a modern millennial microscope would be found to be distasteful, ugly, racist, improper, violent, insensitive, abhorrent and incompatible with modern society. That said, it happened and context is critical. Andrew Jackson was an accomplished leader and credited by many as having saved the vast majority of the Cherokee from the Georgians unwilling to coexist .
On the other hand, Jackson could have deployed a huge amount of government resources in an attempt to protect the Cherokee from the ravenous Georgians. Though this option appears to be the clear ethical solution to modern eyes, it too was fraught with complications and dangers, for both the Union and the Cherokee.
History is one of those things that can be interpreted in many ways. It’s difficult to imagine what life may have been like for our forefathers and the courageous leaders responsible for saving lives and shaping history.
Elevate Harriet Tubman. But do it without removing one of the leading figures in our history who has been maligned for far too long. For that matter, remove Ben Franklin for being a womanizer, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for being a slave owners (yes, Jefferson is on the Two Dollar Bill), and anyone else with a past that isn’t compatible with modern correctness. OR, just leave history alone and stop trying to fit our ‘square’ history into the ‘circle’ of modern correctness.
Stand up for one of America’s great Presidents and leave Andrew Jackson alone on the Twenty Dollar Bill.