Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The Drinking Gourd

$20, currency, twenty dollar, Jackson, Hamilton, Tubman, illustration

By now, most people are probably OK with Treasury’s plan to oust Andrew Jackson off the face of the $20 Federal Reserve Note and replace him with Harriet Tubman.

I certainly am. Ms. Tubman was a great hero of freedom. President Jackson has a more . . . mixed legacy.

The original plan to rotate Alexander Hamilton off the ten spot met with pushback as a result of his rising popularity from the Broadway play, Hamilton. Besides, Hamilton deserves blame—er, placement on the nation’s official paper money. Hamilton devised the first national banking system. Andrew Jackson, decades after Hamilton’s death, nixed that insider-mercantile scheme by refusing to re-authorize the central bank of the day, setting up a very different system for the Treasury and America’s banks.

Less than a century later, Hamilton’s idea was revived in the form of the Federal Reserve. Which we benefit/suffer from to this very day.

But in a bizarre twist, Jackson was not simply replaced. He was demoted. Tubman is to be placed on the note’s obverse, and Jackson moved to the back of the bus, er, note. The reverse.

I would have preferred to revive Old Hickory years from now, after the Federal Reserve dissolved, to be featured on a private bank’s note. After all, private banks did that for years between Jackson’s time and the modern period.

Bank notes don’t need the imprimatur of government.

That would allow us to place, on the flip side of the sawbuck, a more suitable image — of the Big Dipper, which served escaped slaves as a direction, to go north: “follow the Drinking Gourd.”

Additionally, the Big Dipper suggests bailouts, doesn’t it?

We’ll have plenty more before the system is changed.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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$20, currency, twenty dollar, Jackson, Hamilton, Tubman, illustration


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  1. Brian wright says:

    Another opinion piece commented Jackson would not WANT to be on the $20. Or any other. Doing him a favor. But I hear you on ending the Fed in his name.

  2. Huapakechi says:

    Until the national debt is retired and the federal reserve is abolished, all paper currency of the United States should feature the picture of Alfred E. Neuman on the face.

  3. JFB says:

    I would prefer citizens, especially rebellious citizens on the currency as opposed to persons associated with the government.  (The founders are not objectionable as they were in pursuit of liberty and overthrew tyranny therefore symbolize a philosophy I support and would like to see prevail again.  I like lady liberty for that reason.
    Also appropriate might be images.of the natural wonders of the US, and presently, given the actions of the Federal Reserve and  Washington’s Crater Lake would appear quite apropos. 

  4. Paul Jacob says:

    Great comments.

  5. Pat says:

    What difference does it make? Government is doing its best to make this a cashless society. Changing the faces on currency is an empty gesture to PC. Assuming that the change absolutely had to be made, then I would have chosen Frederick Douglass.

  6. Carl Fisher says:

    This is nothing more than an insane surrender to meaningless PC. The excuses and rationalizations that you offer for this also appear to be weak and unfounded.  Will Ms. Tubman be carrying her famous pistol or will that have to be another PC adjustment? 

    • JFB says:

      Ms Tubman carried a pistol, that fact should be noted, along with the fact she it was her constitutional right, she was not a member of the militia, and it was necessitated for her personal safety against a wrongful government and its agents.  

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