Does Andrew Jackson deserve to be on the $20 bill?This questions is part of a larger essay topic given to me, which is pretty much our opinion on whether Andrew Jackson deserves to be on the $20...

Does Andrew Jackson deserve to be on the $20 bill?

This questions is part of a larger essay topic given to me, which is pretty much our opinion on whether Andrew Jackson deserves to be on the $20 bill, and we have to support it based on the criteria required for a person to be on currency. Thanks in advance.

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tell my students a story every year about myself and President Jackson.  I was the only person in a small diner in rural north New Mexico, eating lunch one day and reading the "Jemez Springs: All American City" sign while a woman served me lunch.

I got up to pay, and we exchanged pleasantries at the register. I noticed a "Cherokee Nation" pin on her blouse.  I paid her with a $20 bill.  She thanked me and I left.  It was in the car that it struck me what had just happened:

1) How much history had to take place for that particular woman to be in a diner in northern New Mexico

2)  The historical irony of my paying a proud Cherokee woman to serve me with an Andrew Jackson $20 bill.

3)  The subjugation of Native Americans in this country being so utterly complete that she sees $20 bills all day long, and thinks nothing of the insult.

I don't much care how original he was, or that he was a war hero or had a cool nickname.  Jackson committed genocide.  He practiced it as a soldier, made it policy as President, and ignored the Supreme Court to do it.  These are not things to be celebrated or memorialized.

No, he shouldn't be on the $20 bill.  And every American, in my opinion, ought to know why.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Andrew Jackson is most likely on the $20.00 bill because he was the first true "common man" to become President; and the age of Jackson is often called the Age of the Common Man. He also is credited for preserving the Union at a time when his Vice President, John C. Calhoun led a protest against the Tariff of 1828 in which South Carolina threatened to secede.

Having said all that, there is some irony in Jackson's portrait on the Twenty, considering the war he waged against the Bank of the United States. He not only vetoed the Bill for the renewal of the Bank's charter, he withdrew all Federal funds from the bank to further weaken it. When his first two treasury secretaries refused to withdraw the funds, he fired them (shades of Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre") but ultimately named Roger Taney as Treasury Secretary who did the dirty deed. Jackson rewarded Taney when Chief Justice John Marshall died by naming him as Chief Justice of the United States.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only official criterion for appearing on currency is that you have to be dead.  Outside of that, there are no rules for who gets to appear.  There are no records (according to the Treasury link below) as to why certain people appear on certain kinds of currency.  However, you can see that only people who are generally deemed to have been very significant appear on the kinds of currency that are still in circulation.

Jackson is seen as being very significant because he was the president most clearly connected with the rise of democracy in the US.  He is a symbol for the idea that all Americans are equal and that you don't have to have been born to an elite family to get ahead.

That said, Jackson has his bad points.  Specifically, he was very anti-Indian and he was a slave holder.  Of course, both Washington and Jefferson had slaves too so that is no disqualification.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think Jackson's administration was in many ways a sad point in history. The Trail of Tears is unforgivable. I think it's time to put someone else on that bill. Other countries have people other than their leaders. Charles Dickens was on British money. Why not another contributor to our society? Why not shift the faces on the money?
ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clearly the arguments seem to have a strong leaning towards Jackson not deserving to be on American currency. The treatment of the Native American at the hands of Jackson and his minions was appalling. Even more appalling is that many Americans probably don't even remember Jackson's role in this. Let's kick him off the currency.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that Andrew Jackson probably does not deserve to be on the $20.00 dollar bill. As others have stated in above posts he was very anti-indian. I would say the deciding factor of him being there was The Battle of New Orleans. That being said it is very doubtful we will ever see any changes to the paper currency.

amaliam123 | Student

Jackson doesnot deserve to be on the 20 because he was a bad president. First of all , Jackson created the spoils system, which alowed him to replace people from the goverment with his follower. By doing this, he gave "common people" jobs that they didn't know how to do and didnt do them well.

Jackson also created  the indian removal act. Many Natives died during this process, especially in the trail of tears. Jackson mostly made the natives leave because he wanted the land and the gold he had found on it. This shows that he was a very greedy man and he didnt respect the natives at all. He called them savage and violated their rights

romiagarwal | Student

Well this answer could go either way since he did some good things and bad things. For example he was very caring and refused to demobilize his force when they were hungry. He also helped many homeless children and he was the common man. The bad things are is that he owned many slaves and hurt many Negros for almost no reason. He also removed people from his office and put his friends instead. The good outweigh the bad so I think he deserves to be on the 20 dollar bill.