I admit it. I went online trying to find people spewing venom about Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s decision to replace Andrew Jackson’s image on the $20 with that of Harriet Tubman.
Alas, I’m having a hard time finding any.
Oh, I’m sure there will be a few people that will find fault in the decision. But it’s hard to make a case against Tubman, an abolitionist who risked her life to free enslaved families in the South, a true hero in an important chapter of the American story.
It’s especially hard to argue with Lew’s decision to replace Jackson instead of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, who no doubt was helped by the recent success of the surging Broadway play, was one of the most extraordinary and influential figures in American history, one of the chief architects of our governmental and financial structures. (Ron Chernow’s book on Hamilton, on which the play is based, is perhaps the single best biography of a historical figure that I’ve read.) Compare that to Jackson—a populist who inveighed against the commercial system and whose legacy is stained by the blood of the Trail of Tears.
Perhaps part of the appeal can be found in the sentiments of Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, who posted this on Facebook today: