Leave Jackson on one side of the $20 bill and put his nemesis, Cherokee leader John Ross, on the otherRoundup
tags: Jackson, Cherokee, John Ross
In 1928 the Treasury Department issued the first $20 bill featuring Andrew Jackson, replacing Grover Cleveland. After almost a century, Jackson needs to step aside — and this time, the bill should feature John Ross, a Cherokee leader and Old Hickory’s opponent in a fight to control Indian land.
Jackson infamously won that fight, but used methods that stained his country’s honor. Ross lost, but only after resisting for over 20 years. Placing Ross on the $20 bill would bring a measure of symbolic justice to a seminal episode of American history.
This is hardly the first proposal to change the $20 bill. Calls to replace Jackson, a slave owner, with an American Indian or an African-American are common; this year a brilliant campaign to put a woman on the $20 bill has gained traction. We should be adding diverse figures to our money. But we should do this without losing sight of the incredible era the $20 bill now represents: America’s formative years between the Revolution and the Civil War.
It was an era of nation building, and Jackson was a nation builder. Before running for president, he was a soldier, whose exploits changed the map of the United States. Alabama could not become a state until after he crushed the Creek Nation, which owned most of it. Florida belonged to Spain until after he invaded it.
The trouble lies in how Jackson made the country we inherited. His troops massacred Indians. He coerced Native Americans into surrendering land through unjust treaties. In 1830, President Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, supporting a policy to push all natives west of the Mississippi. One result was the Trail of Tears in 1838, when 13,000 Cherokees left their homeland in the Appalachians. Another was a war against Florida’s Seminoles, lasting nearly as long as the war in Iraq. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Disclosed: Journalist helped defuse a budding conflict between the US and Cuba in 1964
- "People don’t realize": Trump and the historical facts he wants you to know
- Autism doctor Hans Asperger collaborated with the Nazis, new research shows
- University of Wisconsin, Madison to reckon with Ku Klux Klan history, but won't remove KKK member names from buildings
- School responds to assignment asking students to list 'positives' of slavery
- Is Sean Wilentz right that liberals believe in capitalism and progressives don’t?
- Mary Beard cut from US version of “Civilisations"
- Timothy Garton Ash: "We have six months to foil Brexit. And here’s how we can do it.”
- Why the Pulitzer Prize committee keeps ignoring women’s history
- No, we're not reliving the 1960s, says Harvard historian Arne Westad