So Jack Lew has made the easiest decision of his life: His earliest predecessor, Alexander Hamilton, will remain front-and-center on the $10 bill. Thus, his budding bromance with Lin-Manuel Miranda is saved. But with Hamilton staying put, how will Lew address the old-white-maleness of the faces on our currency? With the most obvious decision of his life: kicking slave-owner, genocidaire and overrated-battle-winner Andrew Jackson off the $20 in favor, not of a certain Carson City, Nev., entrepreneur, but abolitionist icon Harriet Tubman.
Lew is expected to roll out a set of changes that also include putting leaders of the women’s suffrage movement on the back of the $10 bill, and incorporating civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history into the $5 bill. Also, Jackson isn’t getting completely booted off the $20 bill. He’s likely to remain on the back.
It’s sort of incredible that it took this long to get to this point. The only good reason for keeping Jackson on the $20 is that he would have hated being on government-issued paper money of any kind, for Andrew Jackson was an Ur-gold bug.
The Constitution of the United States unquestionably intended to secure to the people a circulating medium of gold and silver…. The paper system being founded on public confidence and having of itself no intrinsic value, it is liable to great and sudden fluctuations, thereby rendering property insecure and the wages of labor unsteady and uncertain…. Recent events have proved that the paper-money system of this country may be used as an engine to undermine your free institutions, and that those who desire to engross all power in the hands of the few and to govern by corruption or force are aware of its power and prepared to employ it. Your banks now furnish your only circulating medium, and money is plenty or scarce according to the quantity of notes issued by them.