The PJ Tatler

Momentum Builds to Put a Woman's Face on the $20 Bill

A group of senators led by New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen have written a letter to President Obama urging him to use his executive authority to remove Andrew Jackson’s likeness from the $20 bill and substitute it with that of a woman.

Roll Call:

On Thursday, eight Democratic senators led by Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire wrote to Obama to get on with it and not wait for Congress to act on bills led in the Senate by Shaheen and in the House by Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill.

An online poll from Women on 20s, a group advocating for a woman to replace Andrew Jackson on the bill, gathered 600,000 votes, with Harriet Tubman edging out Eleanor Roosevelt as the choice in the final round.

Shaheen separately put a legislative bill in the hopper directing the Treasury secretary to put Tubman on the bill by 2017.

Obama sounded positive in July about putting a woman on the currency.

“Last week, a young girl wrote to ask me why aren’t there any women on our currency, and then she gave me like a long list of possible women to put on our dollar bills and quarters and stuff — which I thought was a pretty good idea,” Obama said then.

The White House of late has been asked about it a few times but offered no definitive answer. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, who has the authority to implement the change, ducked the question in March.

Ole Hickory would probably have challenged Shaheen to a duel, but frankly, if a portrait of a president has to be taken off one of our bills to give into political correctness, Jackson is the one to go.

Andrew Jackson was a product of his environment — the American frontier, where death from attacks by Native Americans was not uncommon. It is not surprising that Jackson grew into manhood hating Indians. He was a virulent racist, despite adopting a Native American child.

But history totes up the entirety of a man’s life before making a final judgment. We named an entire age after Jackson — the Age of the Common Man, or the Jacksonian Era. Our first true populist, Jackson had no use for the powdered wigs and stuffed shirts of the early republic, believing in the power and wisdom of the common people.

To judge Jackson solely based on his faults as a human being is unfair. I daresay liberals don’t judge Teddy Kennedy, Robert Byrd, or other Democrats who demonstrated unlovely traits by that standard, nor should we. Jackson was a great man who put his imprint on an important time in American history.

Does he deserve to be unceremoniously dumped? Especially for the specious reasoning that we don’t have a woman on any of our currency? Did Harriet Tubman have as much impact on history as Andrew Jackson? A laughable notion, but hardly relevant now that the feminists have gotten it in their heads that one more corner of American tradition can be invaded and destroyed. I have a better idea.

If a woman must be on the $20 bill, we can do a lot better than Harriet Tubman. Dolley Madison would do nicely — an accomplished woman who was her husband’s best advisor. Ditto Abigail Adams, who ran the family farm for more than a decade while John was off creating America, raising six children, and then setting the standard for first ladies while in the White House.

Anyone under the age of 30 never heard of Dolley or Abby so they don’t have a chance. But as far as women who had an impact on history, they put Tubman and even Eleanor Roosevelt to shame.