Alexander Hamilton is being removed from the ten dollar bill as a result of a campaign spearheaded by the “Woman on the 20s” organization. As you can probably guess from their name, the ten dollar bill was not the “Woman on the 20s” original target for redesign. Yes, it was the twenty dollar bill that these people were seeking to have changed, but their designs were squashed by the bureaucracy of the mint. Instead of Andrew Jackson, Alexander Hamilton will be removed from our currency because the ten dollar bill was already scheduled for a redesign in 2020. Oh how the bureaucrats crush our dreams! Hamilton did nothing to warrant being removed from the ten dollar bill but will be anyway. Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, should be removed from his place of prominence on the twenty dollar bill because his policies of executive overreach blatantly disregarded the Constitution. Jackson forced others to bend to his will, participated in cronyism, and placed his own popularity above the common good. These are all reasons that the founder of the Democrat Party should not have the honor of appearing on the twenty dollar bill.
Andrew Jackson frequently strong-armed others into submitting to his will. As a lifetime military man and major general, he saw the world through a different lens than your average politician. The world was simple to “Old Hickory”: identify what you’re fighting for, identify those standing in your way, then take what you want. The forced eviction of approximately 46,000 members of the south-eastern tribes from their solemn territory in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama was made possible by Jackson’s total disregard for a Supreme Court ruling. In 1832, the Supreme Court reversed its decision in the 1831 case of Cherokee Nation v. the State of Georgia. This ruling stated that the Indian Tribes were sovereign and unaffected by Georgia’s laws. Jackson later negotiated the one-sided and illegitimate Treaty of New Echota which initiated the removal of the southeastern tribes on the Trail of Tears. Another instance of “King Mob” getting his own way is the murder of the National Bank. As I explained in part one on Alexander Hamilton, the National Bank was the cornerstone of the American financial system. The Bank housed the American Treasury and established the dollar as the national currency. Many people took issue with the bank, however, because its administrators did not have to answer to the American people. When the main supporters of the National Bank sought to recharter the bank three years ahead of schedule they attempted to pit Jackson against the industrial northern states. The Bank’s supporters, namely Congressmen Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, and bank manager Nicholas Biddle, believed that Jackson would cave to the whims of those businessmen who supported the bank. Jackson took this assumption that he would bow to the will of the rich donors as a public attack on his character. He vowed to kill the Bank. All federal funds were removed from the National Bank and its charter was not renewed. Jackson got his way at the cost of a recession in 1833. It is not acceptable behavior for the head representative of the American people.
Much in the same way that Jackson gave the seized Indian territories as gifts to the small farmers that composed his base, he also founded the American spoils system. The “spoils system” is the epitome of government corruption and the opposite of what the American experiment was founded on. Within this system, the people appointed to government positions are often not those who are most qualified. Instead, the people appointed to important posts are often friends, family, or the friends and family of donors to the Democrat Party. Most of these people are under-qualified or unqualified altogether. Supporters become government workers. Government workers become staffers. Some of those workers run campaigns and others become politicians themselves. When these people have kids, and their kids grow up, the kids are likely to get jobs in and around government offices. Who you know becomes more important than what you know. The other name for the spoils system is rotation in office…because you rotate the same last names over and over again. We also see the Jacksonian spoils system at work in the aftermath of “The Bank War”. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney (yes, the same Roger Taney who was earlier appointed by Jackson and years later said blacks couldn’t vote in the Dred Scott case) was appointed Acting Treasury Secretary after Secretary Duane was fired for not removing the funds. Taney was rewarded because Jackson knew Taney would obey. After Jackson removed the Treasury from its common home in the Bank of the United States, the funds were placed into several “pet” banks that Jackson chose by hand. One man decided which banks held the wealth of the nation purely by himself. This is corruption. This is undemocratic. This is what is wrong with the American government. This is what happens today. You can thank Andrew Jackson for that.
Jackson constantly over-stepped his bounds while in office. The President was not meant to create and influence policy but Jackson did anyway. While the Alien and Sedition Acts hurt John Adams’ reputation with the American people, Jackson’s actions only made him more popular. Jackson’s overreach was given a pass by the population and set a horrible precedent for future heads of state. For example, the Indian Removal Act only helped the voters. The newly evacuated lands were given to politically active farmers. Jackson and the Democrats escaped “The Bank War” unscathed because the blame was placed solely on Nicholas Biddle. Jackson’s platform throughout his presidency was the expansion of personal liberties. Jackson was known as “the People’s President” for a reason and he effectively used that moniker to further his party’s political agenda. He kept the people happy when they should have been furious like any good Machiavellian leader would. In pursuit of an expansion of individual liberties, Jackson became America’s first popular and abrasive president. He disregarded the power of Congress and the Courts. He abused his veto power in order to control the laws. His inauguration was open to the public. Jackson used his popularity to expand the power of the executive branch. The office of the president and the federal government have more power now than they ever have in the history of our country…and it all started with Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson should be removed from our currency, not Alexander Hamilton. While Hamilton was a crucial factor in writing the constitution and the Founder of the American financial system, Jackson disrespected the Constitution and started a recession out of spite for political opponents. Jackson was the first president to expand the office of the president and not face the people’s wrath. He disobeyed the decision of the Supreme Court to leave the Native Americans to their own devices. He originated the corrupt spoils system that is currently running amuck in Washington. He claimed to represent the people, but cared mostly for himself. Andrew Jackson does not deserve to be on our money. Alexander Hamilton does.
Part two of a four part series.
Part One- Don’t Change the Face on the Ten Dollar Bill: It’s all about the Hamiltons https://theelephantsconscience.com/2015/07/20/dont-change-the-face-on-the-ten-dollar-bill-its-all-about-the-hamiltons/
Bio.com staff. Andrew Jackson- U.S. Representative, U.S. President, Judge, Lawyer. http://www.biography.com/people/andrew-jackson-9350991 July 4, 2015. Biography.com.
Miller Center staff. Andrew Jackson (1767-1845). http://millercenter.org/president/jackson June 19, 2015. Miller Center.
Keenan, Jillian. Kick Andrew Jackson Off the $20 Bill!. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/03/andrew_jackson_should_be_kicked_off_the_20_bill_he_ordered_a_genocide.html March 3, 2014. Slate.com
U.S. History Staff. The War Against the Bank. http://www.ushistory.org/us/24d.asp March 26, 2015. ushistory.org.
History.com Staff. Bank War. http://www.history.com/topics/bank-war July 22, 2015. A+E Networks.
Office of the Historian. Indian Treaties and the Removal Act of 1830. https://history.state.gov/milestones/1830-1860/indian-treaties July 23, 2015. U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian.
Digital History Staff. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3544 November 6, 2014. Digital History.
Lehrman Institute Staff. Andrew Jackson, Banks, and the Panic of 1837. http://lehrmaninstitute.org/history/Andrew-Jackson-1837.asp August 25, 2014. The Lehrman Institute.