The first woman on United States bank notes will be the famous abolitionist and Republican Harriet Tubman, Politico reported Wednesday. She will give the boot to the nation’s sixth president and a major figure in the Democratic Party, Andrew Jackson, on the $20 bill, and save the founder of the nation’s financial system, Alexander Hamilton, from being kicked off the $10 bill.
The Treasury Department made the official announcement shortly after the Politico report. Tubman’s appearance is only the most visible of a set of expected changes, which include putting women’s suffrage leaders on the back of the $10 bill and incorporating civil rights era leaders into the $5 bill.
Last summer, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced he was considering replacing Hamilton’s visage on the $10 bill with that of a woman. This announcement drew strong rebukes from Hamilton fans, however, since this Founding Father helped to create the Treasury Department and the American financial system. Critics instead argued for replacing Jackson from the $20 bill, because that president led efforts to remove Native Americans from their lands, moving them in the “Trail of Tears” into Oklahoma.
Hamilton’s image increased even more recently, with the hit Broadway show named after this Founding Father. Reportedly, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda even lobbied Lew last month to keep Hamilton on the $10 bill. Miranda said Lew told him “you’r going to be very happy” with the redesign.
That said, Jackson won’t be completely removed — he will reportedly just be booted to the back, while Tubman takes the front. Lew originally was considering putting Susan B. Anthony on the $10 bill, and she would have been an excellent choice, but Tubman is likely the only figure who could be considered even more appropriate.
Tubman (1822-1913) was born Araminta Ross and changed her name to Harriet upon her marriage to the free black man John Tubman. After winning her freedom from slavery, she led escaped slaves through the “underground railroad” to freedom in the north. She became known as “Moses” for leading her people out of slavery, and even became involved in the women’s suffrage movement in her later years.
Next Page: Did you know Tubman was a gun-toting Republican?
The Republican Party was founded in opposition to the spreading of slavery to the territories, and Tubman remains associated with the Republican Party. Hence the accuracy of tweets such as this:
Breaking: Treasury throws founder of the Democratic Party off $20 bill, replaces with gun-toting Republican pic.twitter.com/G9dVXpTaXv
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 20, 2016
Interestingly, some Democrats welcomed the news wholeheartedly, despite the clear replacement of a major founding influence in their party with a Republican.
If this is true, great news! Tubman on $20 is the right call. The redesign needs to happen as soon as possible.Women have waited long enough — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) April 20, 2016
Hillary Clinton also praised the replacement of a founder of her party with a Republican, saying she “can’t think of a better choice.”
A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman: https://t.co/YcsZC4ZrKg -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 20, 2016
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was also a prominent abolitionist and advocate for women’s suffrage. Some consider her an early pro-life figure, due to her calling for support for “unborn little ones,” and some articles of hers referring to abortion as “child-murder” or “ante-natal infanticide.” The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List takes its name from her. Abigail Adams also merits an honorable mention, and here’s why she should be considered for the $10 bill, if Hamilton gets the boot. Here is a proposed Tubman design: