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Paul Albaugh / September 5, 2017

Should Andrew Jackson Be Removed From History Next?

Obama approved a change to the $20 bill, but Trump’s administration has no plans to implement it.

In today’s age of lunacy, we have witnessed groups of people trying to erase history by tearing down Confederate statues and monuments. Some people have even called for removing statues and monuments to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, simply because they owned slaves. It’s as if the bad things in these historic figures lives overshadowed all the good that they did for our country and the world. At what point will the insanity stop?

Well, there’s another name being tossed around the “news” that deserves a little bit of review, but you probably won’t hear much about any of the good that this man accomplished. The debate over whether Andrew Jackson should remain as the face on the $20 bill has resurfaced, and by most indications from Donald Trump’s administration he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Last year, Barack Obama approved a change that would remove “Old Hickory” from the $20 bill and replace him with Harriet Tubman. We’ll agree that Tubman, hero of the Underground Railroad and a gun-toting Republican, is worthy of the honor for her courageous efforts to free slaves, but replacing Jackson doesn’t have much traction, at least not yet.

Recently, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that there are no plans for changing any currency, noting that the primary reasons for such changes have to do with security purposes. Furthermore, there are far more concerns for Treasury now, such as the looming fight over the debt ceiling. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing also announced that it has received no instructions from President Trump to implement changes, and so, for the time being, we are still left with Jackson. Maybe antifa and other fascist groups will begin burning every $20 bill they come across in protest.

So why the renewed hype about removing Jackson, anyway? Well, as a public service, here’s a crash course on who he was.

Andrew Jackson was often referred to as the “People’s President” — the first true anti-establishment candidate to win the office. But he believed some things that are no longer acceptable in modern day America (and for good reason). Jackson’s vision for America did not include people of color. He was a cruel slave owner (who beat his slaves less than his neighbors, according to the official tour of his Tennessee residence) and detested abolitionists. He also paid no attention to the early movement for women’s rights. And he is, of course, most notably known for being responsible for the Trail of Tears, which was the horrific process of removing all Cherokee from the state of Georgia and relocating them to the Western frontier — what is now Oklahoma. Some 15,000 Cherokee were forcibly relocated, but 4,000 of them died along the way. In fact, all Native Americans were severely mistreated under the Jackson administration.

Jackson is also associated with the founding of the Democratic Party. “Old Hickory” wasn’t his only nickname; his political opponents nicknamed him “jackass,” which he took a liking to. In fact, he even embraced the donkey as the party mascot, and the “jackass” is the Democrat emblem to this day.

Jackson was a brave war hero, having led troops during the War of 1812. He won a decisive victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, which led to the U.S. procurement of land in present day Georgia and Alabama. He also led 5,000 soldiers in the Battle of New Orleans, and despite being outnumbered 2-1, defeated the British. Jackson was later appointed to lead the Southern Division in the First Seminole War, and notwithstanding a rebuke from Spain, his victories there led to Spain ceding control of its territory to the United States.

His popularity as a war hero propelled him to political office, and he was elected president in 1828, despite having lost the previous election to John Quincy Adams over the “Corrupt Bargain.” He was not like previous presidents at all. He was the first president to invite the public to inauguration ball at the White House, which earned him immense popularity among the people. (These invitees also absolutely trashed the White House.)

He didn’t get along with Congress on matters of policy and he preferred to use his veto powers over policy issues rather than constitutional. Jackson pushed hard to abolish the Electoral College, as he thought the people should directly elect the president and vice president. We’re fortunate today that he didn’t get his way, but his Party has never quite let go of the idea.

Jackson also went to battle with the Second Bank of the United States, which, although a private bank, served as a government-sponsored monopoly. He viewed the bank as a corrupt, elitist institution that manipulated paper money and had far too much power over America’s economy. His efforts led to a landslide victory for re-election in 1832 and eventually led to the bank closing in 1836, but turning over federal funds to his corrupt, elitist crony banking pals caused great economic harm beginning in 1837. It’s thus quite ironic that his face graces federal currency.

In short, his legacy is decidedly a mixed bag. In any case, while the debate on Confederate statuary continues, under President Trump, Jackson’s face isn’t going anywhere soon.

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