No Harriet Tubman $20 Bills

No Harriet Tubman $20 Bills

© David Burton 2016

wenty Dollar Bill

     Once again the Politically Incorrect have struck! In April 2016, “Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said {Harriet} Tubman would replace {President Andrew} Jackson on the front of the $20 bill, becoming the first woman in more than a century and first African American to grace the front of a paper note. Jackson will be featured on the back of the bill alongside an image of the White House.
     “In another twist, Alexander Hamilton got a reprieve. Initially targeted for replacement by a woman on the $10 bill, Hamilton's reputation was burnished by an unlikely smash Broadway play and his case pressed by outraged historians pointing to his seminal role in creating the nation's first central bank.
     “Treasury's announcement followed almost a year of heated public debate, shaped by social media and history alike.” (Ref. 1)

     As usual, Democrats and liberal activists widely embraced the announcement of another attempt to rewrite history and whitewash any hint of past American misdeeds. Liberals gushed over the opportunity to show that America was honoring one of the masses while, at the same denigrating someone who dared to engage in something accepted some 200 years ago but which is today abhorrent and politically incorrect – the enforcement of the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears, which forced at least 46,000 Cherokees, Choctaws, Muscogee-Creeks, Chickasaws, and Seminoles off their ancestral lands.

     The images that appear on our currency are:

  • $1 – 1st President George Washington;
  • $2 – 3rd President Thomas Jefferson;
  • $5 – 16th President Abraham Lincoln;
  • $10 – 1st Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton;
  • $20 – 7th President Andrew Jackson;
  • $50 – 18th President Ulysses S. Grant;
  • $100 – Founding Father Benjamin Franklin;
  • $500 – 25th President William Mckinley;
  • $1,000 – 22nd/24th President Grover Cleveland;
  • $5,000 – 4th President James Madison;
  • $10,000 – 25th Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase;
  • $100,000 – 28th President Woodrow Wilson.
     With the exception of Salmon P. Chase, each and every one of these were U.S. presidents or founding fathers of this country. Harriet Tubman was neither!

     Harriet Tubman does not belong in this list! But when the Treasury Department goes through with its plan to put her picture on the $20 bill, it will hopefully suffer the same fate as the Susan B. Anthony $1 coin and the never-used $2 bill. Commemorative stamps are a great place to honor distinguished people – our currency isn’t!

     The rush to change America’s currency is a misguided mea culpa designed to assuage feelings of guilt about long-past issues of slavery, equal rights, women’s rights, while historical revisionists work to demean past U.S. presidents and the nation’s founders, whose images currently grace our currency. The bleeding heart liberals in the country pressured the Obama administration to add diversity to the currency resulting in the Politically Correct compromise to “replace a picture of the Treasury building on the back of the $10 with leaders of the suffrage movement — Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and Lucretia Mott.
     “The back of the $5 bill will also be redesigned to include opera singer Marian Anderson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.” (Ref. 1)

     Interestingly, this will not be the first time a woman’s image has appeared on America’s money. In the late 1800s, First Lady Martha Washington appeared on the $1 silver certificate while Pocahontas was on the $20 bill from 1865 to 1869[1] and Susan B. Anthony graced the 1979-1999 $1 coin.

     In order to suit the apologists among us, we are replacing American President Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman. What will the politically correct demand next? We obviously need to pay for our misdeeds against Native Americans. So let’s do the right thing and maybe replace that slave-holder, George Washington, with an American Indian – Oh! excuse me, we don’t use that word anymore. The PC language Gestapo has mandated that we replace American Indian with Native American. O.K., so which Native American should appear on our script – how about Sitting Bull, or better yet, Jim Thorpe? After all, we insulted him and all Native Americans when we took his Olympic medal away.

     And let’s not forget to correct all the anti-Semitism of the past and present in America by honoring a prominent Jew. I vote for placing the portrait of that immortal Jewish-American, Sandy Koufax, on the $100 bill.

     And what about the American Chinese that we exploited in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s? Don’t they deserve a place on our paper money? My vote here goes to that outstanding Chinese-American who graced the silver screen for so many years – Charley Chan. Ah, but some may object on the basis that Charley Chan is only fictional. If fictional personages are excluded, then my next choice of an outstanding Chinese-American is Bruce Lee, a Chinese-American well-known throughout the world and certainly as worthy of appearing on our paper money as Harriet Tubman. How about our Japanese-Americans? We committed an unpardonable sin by sending thousands of them to internment camps in World War II without any real justification. If we want to change the tradition governing whose images to put on our money, a portrait of a real American hero, the late Japanese-American senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, would be quite appropriate.

     If we want to print a twenty dollar bill with an image that most everyone in the world would recognize as an American icon then let’s put Micky Mouse on the twenty-dollar bill instead of Harriet Tubman. I sincerely doubt that any significant fraction of the global population has any idea of who Harriet Tubman is. George Washington – yes; Benjamin Franklin – yes; Harriet Tubman – no! Enough with a rush to rewrite history and to take some feel-good but foolish action. There is a role for tradition. And tradition has it that, with the exception of one essentially unknown Secretary of the Treasury, all American paper money bears only the portraits of former U.S. presidents of prominent founders of this country. Let’s keep honoring this tradition - No Harriet Tubman Twenty Dollar Bills! American currency should reflect tradition and, most importantly, stability. Let’s keep our American money as it is and as it is recognized throughout the world. Let’s be raditionalists and not faddists who have respect for neither history nor tradition. Today’s hot buttons may well be feminism and American slavery. What will tomorrow’s fads be and will each new fad mean changing the appearance of the American dollar or will we let fads come and go while American currency and the images on it remain the financial anchor of the world?

  1. Harriet Tubman is the next face of the $20 bill; $5 and $10 bills will also change, Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, 20 April 2016.

  3 September 2016 {Article 264; Whatever_48}    
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