Last year, Barack Obama directed the Treasury Department to work on a new $20 bill. They were to replace the image of Andrew Jackson with one of Harriet Tubman. In addition to placing a portrait of the former slave and abolitionist on the $20 bill, the Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew said that they were also looking into putting more women and civil rights leaders (activists) on the $5 and $10 bills. Additionally, they were looking at trying to portray Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the back of the $10 bill.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office. Many are considering this act as being symbolic of Trump sharing some of the same attributes that Jackson was described as having and the way both men became president.
Both Jackson and Trump faced supposedly controversial elections.
In 1824, four men ran for the presidency, all from the same Democratic-Republican Party. The first was John Quincy Adams, son of the second president, John Adams. John Quincy Adams had a long political career, serving as UN Minister to the Netherlands (1794-1797), to Prussia (1797-1801), US Senator from Massachusetts (1803-1808), US Minister to Russia (1809-1814), US Envoy to Great Britain (1815-1817) and US Secretary of State (1817-1825) under President James Monroe.
The 1824 presidential campaigns were considered as dirty and nasty as was the 2016 campaigns. The race between Jackson and Adams was extremely bitter with many very unkind words and accusations hurled at each other.
On December 1, 1824, the popular and Electoral votes were finally counted. When the popular votes were counted, Jackson won. The popular votes were 153,544 for Jackson, 108,740 for John Quincy Adams, 47,531 for Henry Clay and 40,856 for William Crawford.
When the Electoral College votes were counted, once again, Jackson seemed to be the winner. The Electoral counts were 99 for Jackson, 84, for Adams, 41 for Crawford and only 37 for Clay.
However, it took 131 Electoral votes to be declared winner of the presidency and since none of the candidates, including Jackson received enough Electoral votes, the final decision fell to the US House of Representatives based upon 12th Amendment passed in 1803
Adams heavily campaigned among members of the House, promising a number of them positions in his cabinet. Jackson did not campaign nearly as much and on December 9, 1825, the House voted to award the presidency to John Adams.
Four years later, Jackson got his revenge and handily won the presidency from Adams.
Some have referred to Trump as being Jacksonian in a number of ways. According to a recent report:
“Trump’s rise has often been compared to the populist election of Jackson, including by some of the new president’s own team.”
“Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon called Trump’s inauguration speech on Friday ‘Jacksonian,’ saying it struck the populist and patriotic tones Jackson was known for.”
‘Trump has also expressed admiration for the seventh president, as well, calling Jackson ‘an amazing figure in American history — very unique so many ways,’ through a spokesperson last week.”
Hopefully, Trump will stop the Treasury Department from removing Jackson from the $20 bill and replacing him with Tubman or any other civil rights activist. They may have their place in history, but I don’t think they belong on our money.