Thursday, April 21, 2016

The case for leaving Jackson on the $20 bill

Overall, I favor removing Andrew Jackson from the Twenty: He's the president who made the Trail of Tears happen, and he owned a lot of slaves. Besides, it was always a strange idea to decorate our currency with the mug of a guy who hated paper money.

Beyond that, the guy was just nuts. You can see it in his portrait: Those are the eyes of a man you would expect to say something like "I burned the neighbor's cat because it kept talking to my mind in Chinese."

Nevertheless, there's an argument to be made for leaving him on the front of the $20 bill. This country needs a constant reminder of what happens when a populist movement bestows power on a raving loony. Each generation, I fear, must learn that lesson anew.

(Jackson did want to hang John C. Calhoun. That's a point in his favor.)
Andrew Jackson also had other eccentricities unusual in our day and age. After the 1814 battle of Horseshoe Bend, he had his men skin the vanquished Indians, tan their hide, and make bridle reins and other trinkets from their skin. He rode around with these human remains for many years after that.
Thanks, Terje. I'm always a little horrified to learn what DIDN'T horrify our ancestors.

By the way: There seems to be no substance to the oft-told tale of Jackson doing battle with the Bell Witch of Tennessee. However, two of the Bell boys DID fight under General Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.
I didn't know that Jackson wanted Calhoun hung--I guess that was a good thing. :)

Each generation, I fear, must learn that lesson anew. Sadly, Joseph, I agree, but...are we ready for the cost of that lesson?

Just my 2-cents, of course.

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