On Monday, the White House said it would accelerate plans to replace US President Andrew Jackson’s $ 20 bills with banknotes featuring Harriet Tubman, one of the leaders of the pre-Civil War abolitionist movement.
“The Treasury Department is taking steps to renew efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $ 20 bills,” said Presidential Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“It’s important that our notes, our money, reflect the history and diversity of our country, and the image of Harriet Tubman adorning the new $ 20 bill would certainly do that,” she said.
Andrew Jackson is the seventh president of the United States, and the only president to have ever been held captive: young Andrew fought in the War of Independence and was captured by the British. He became a lawyer, bought a plantation where slaves worked, got involved in politics and – in the tradition of the time – led the Tennessee militia, which led the successful wars with the Indians. He gained fame on a US scale in 1812 – during the war with the British Empire: the British were able to take Washington, but Jackson inflicted a heavy defeat on them in New Orleans. After becoming president, Jackson pursued an extremely brutal policy towards the Indians – they were expelled from their homes, and their lands were confiscated. As a result of Jackson’s actions, Florida and Texas were annexed to the United States. At the same time, the economic policy of the Jackson administration causes controversial reactions: his critics argue that it was she who led to the economic crisis of 1837.
Harriet Tubman was born when Jackson was already in his declining years. She became the heroine of the struggle against slavery – an unexpected heroine, since women, and especially blacks, were then at the lower rungs of the social ladder. Tubman fled from her master, but instead of leading a more or less calm life in the North of the United States or in Canada, where there was no slavery, risking her life, she made many expeditions to the South to help dozens of slaves to get freedom. The escape system went down in history as the “Underground Railroad”. She was a friend of the famous abolitionist John Brown, who tried unsuccessfully to raise a slave rebellion in Virginia. During the Civil War, Tubman was a scout for the armies of the North. Towards the end of her life, she supported the women’s struggle for civil rights. Unlike the rich Jackson, Harriet Tubman passed away penniless: everything she had, she spent on helping others. After the Civil War, she became a women’s rights activist, and did so until her death in 1913.
In 2019, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that replacement of the $ 20 bill was delayed until 2028, citing “security concerns” surrounding counterfeiting one of the most popular banknotes in circulation.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump criticized plans to replace President Andrew Jackson Harriet Tubman, calling the move “pure political correctness.” He suggested putting her photograph on a two-dollar bill, which is no longer in print.