Symbols matter. Like, for instance, having someone like seventh President Andrew Jackson grace the $20 bill. Here are four reasons we think he should be replaced.
He Was a Slave Trader
Jackson was the only president to gain his wealth by working as a slave trader, in fact, without forced labor, his family home, The Hermitage, would not have been economically viable.
“When Andrew Jackson bought The Hermitage in 1804, he owned nine enslaved African Americans. By 1829, that number had increased through purchase and reproduction to over 100 African American men, women, and children,” according to TheHermitage.com. “At the time of his death in 1845, Jackson owned approximately 150 human beings who lived and worked on this property.”
He Signed the Indian Removal Act
To gain more land for his cotton trade, he signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, just one year after he became president. The act legalized ethnic cleansing, and within seven years, 46,000 indigenous people were removed from their homelands east of the Mississippi. Their removal gave some 25 million acres of land to “white settlement and to slavery,” according to PBS.
He Earned His Nicknames
Should someone with nicknames like “Indian Killer” and “Sharp Knife” be honored on United States currency? President Jefferson appointed Jackson to appropriate Cherokee and Creek land. During the brutal military campaign, Jackson recommended that troops systematically kill Indian women and children after massacres to complete the extermination. It was his campaigns that opened up much of the southeastern United States to settler colonialism.
Trail of Tears
The Cherokee Nation was forced to give up its homelands east of the Mississippi and migrate to what is now Oklahoma. The journey, which was devastating for the nation, became known as the Trail of Tears, and was a direct result of the Indian Removal Act signed by Jackson.
“An estimated 4,000 died from hunger, exposure and disease. The journey became a cultural memory as the ‘trail where they cried’ for the Cherokees and other removed tribes,” according to Cherokee.org. “Today it is widely remembered by the general public as the “Trail of Tears.’”