Changing faces on currency should not stop at Harriet Tubman

Published by adviser, Author: Joe Szalinski - Rocket Contributor, Date: April 21, 2016

One of the most recent “controversies” to “plague the nation” is the decision to change the highly venerated twenty-dollar bill.
Due to his infamous presidency, the current face of the banknote, Andrew Jackson, is being removed from the currency, and replaced by Harriet Tubman. To many, this is a step in the right direction, and I happen to agree.
Harriet Tubman is a much more positive face for the bill because she helped sneak slaves to the North on the Underground Railroad. Jackson, on the other hand, has genocide and straight up lunacy to his credit. While he may have been influential on politics and the history of our nation (he inspired making the donkey the mascot of the Democratic Party), but Tubman is equally as important, if not more, and she has a more respected historical rapport.
Critics of this decision display some sort ideological zeal towards paper currency, which is slightly disturbing. Our culture is extremely money-oriented as is, but we also consider corporations to be people, so worshipping money like we’re in some twisted Terry Southern novella is not to hard to believe.
Other dissenters to progress argue that if we remove Jackson, what’s to stop us from removing all of the presidents? And I ask the same question. I think that bills should change, across the board. In fact, all U.S. currency is due for a makeover. Why don’t we give other presidents a shot? Like Kennedy. Maybe it’s time for him to make the transition from coin to paper.
Bills have undergone transformation(s) in the past; denominations have fallen out of favor and become endangered and later, extinct; pictures of faces have been updated and made to look better; counterfeit detecting measures have been taken; bills have even changed color and have had phrases put onto them like, “In God We Trust.”
And to those citing the Harriet Tubman wasn’t a president and therefore, doesn’t belong on money, I ask you, what about Ben Franklin? Is he just a special exception? What about Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglass, Betsy Ross? There have been more influential individuals who have positively impacted our country since the time of colonies and a young, fledgling country. Influential people outside of politics, maybe scientists or generals, or famous thinkers for that matter.
I find it really ironic how people defend keeping Jackson, a president who hated banks and the financial system, on U.S. currency. Perhaps when the government mints new bills, they exercise their license to change-up the bills: remove phrases, or replace them with something like, “E Pluribus Unum”; create new dominations; and put new and atypical historical figures on our currency. Our money shouldn’t be static, in any sense. In addition to being well-circulated, it should be revised every so often. Maybe it’ll even promote interest in people history tends to ignore in favor of more celebrated individuals.


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