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Wasserman writes: "A vicious racist, Jackson made a fortune in the slave trade, and from stolen Indian land, leaving him with a slave plantation of his own. At the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson enlisted Cherokee warriors to fight their rival Creeks. Then he brutalized his 'allies' as well as his defeated enemy. His troops took slices of the dead Creeks' noses for a body count, and used their skin to make bridles. Jackson's defining document is his 1830 Indian Removal Act, demanding that all native peoples be moved west of the Mississippi."

The image of Andrew Jackson on the US $20 bill. (photo: Politico)
The image of Andrew Jackson on the US $20 bill. (photo: Politico)


Let's Be Clear About Andrew Jackson (and Lord Jeffery Amherst)

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

23 April 16

 

he decision to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill is long overdue. So is the movement to remove the name of Lord Jeffery Amherst from that college town in western Massachusetts. 

Let’s start with Jackson, our most racist major president next to Woodrow Wilson

Jackson was our first president from west of the Alleghenies, and the first to not wear the powdered wigs favored by Virginia plantation owners. 

Andy’s parents were Irish immigrants who died early. He had a brutally impoverished childhood. One of his fourteen duels left a bullet permanently lodged near his heart. (Teddy Roosevelt also had one of those.) 

Jackson is most revered as the “Common Man” who fought Alexander Hamilton’s national bank. He later personally profited from kickbacks paid him by cronies who owned smaller banks that benefitted. 

A vicious racist, Jackson also made a fortune in the slave trade, and from stolen Indian land, leaving him with a slave plantation of his own. 

At the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson enlisted Cherokee warriors to fight their rival Creeks. Then he brutalized his “allies” as well as his defeated enemy. His troops took slices of the dead Creeks’ noses for a body count, and used their skin to make bridles. 

During his failed campaign against Seminoles in the Florida Everglades, Jackson illegally executed at least two “disloyal” white men. 

Jackson’s defining document is his 1830 Indian Removal Act, demanding that all native peoples be moved west of the Mississippi. 

But the Cherokee had a written language, state capital, constitution, elected leadership, newspaper, and at least seven lumber mills. Most lived in frame houses or log cabins with nuclear families. Some owned plantations and slaves. 

Chief Justice John Marshall turned down a Cherokee petition for statehood. But he ruled they did have sovereignty and could not removed against their will. 

Jackson told the Court (and the Cherokee) to drop dead. In 1838, Martin Van Buren (Jackson’s vice president and successor) sent in the troops. That May, some 14,000 Cherokee were forced out of their homes at gunpoint. They were imprisoned on an open field (a concentration camp!) without shelter, food, or care for their children or animals. About a thousand escaped into the hills. 

In the fall about 13,000 were “ethnic cleansed” to Oklahoma. More than a quarter died along their infamous “Trail of Tears.” They were promised the right to live in Oklahoma as long as the “rivers flow and the grasses grow.” But 50 years later their land was divided. 

Jackson’s face does not belong on our money. Harriet Tubman was a great hero who repeatedly risked her life to win freedom for others. Hopefully the idea to replace him with a black female anti-slavery activist is making Andy flip in his grave. 

Likewise Jeffery Amherst. As supreme commander of Britain’s North American forces during the French-Indian war, Lord Jeff infamously approved the “gift” of smallpox-infected blankets to Ohio Valley Indians. In the guise of making peace, he purposely caused a terrible plague that killed countless innocent men, women, and children (many of them nearby white settlers). There are few acts in human history more thoroughly infected with cynicism and greed. 

That numerous towns and counties in North America are named after this war criminal is a travesty. The lovely college town in the western Massachusetts hills now nurtures a nascent movement to cleanse itself of that vicious war criminal. The College and Inn there have already taken preliminary steps. 

And the town has a perfect alternative. 

Ninety miles west of Boston, it’s the ancestral home of the legendary Emily Dickinson. Emily lived nearly all her life on Main Street, in a home and garden that can still be toured. She quietly wrote scores of simple, subtle pieces filled with ecstasy and grace. Composed in the mid-1800s, few were published until the 1950s, when Emily became one of our most beloved literary figures. 

There’s currently only one other American town (in Minnesota) called Emily. None can claim the birthplace of one of our truly great poets. 

The Treasury Department says that Harriet Tubman’s face could be on our $20 bills by 2020. Let’s make sure some find their way to the gentle hills of Emily, Massachusetts. 



Harvey Wasserman’s Organic Spiral of US History will be published soon (www.solartopia.org). He wrote Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth, and long ago taught history at Hampshire College, in the town soon to be known as Emily.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+34 # nice2bgreat 2016-04-23 12:16
.
This is a good article on this subject.


Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/21/why_andrew_jackson_never_should_have_been_on_the_20_to_begin_with/
.
 
 
+16 # nice2bgreat 2016-04-23 12:21
.
Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com

"If there is one positive aspect of Jackson’s legacy, it was his courageous battle against the Second Bank of the United States. “It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes,” he declared in a famous statement vetoing renewal of the bank’s charter, arguing that any privately-owned centralized bank could manipulate currency to exploit low-income Americans and exert undue influence over economic policy. The good news is that Jackson succeeded in destroying the corrupt centralized bank; the bad news is that, eighty years later, the Second Bank of the United States would be replaced by another central banking system, the Federal Reserve. Considering the pride he felt in destroying one centralized bank, it stands to reason that Jackson would have been appalled to find his visage adorning a common form of currency from another one."

"In light of her remarkable contributions to the cause of racial equality, Harriet Tubman is an ideal choice to break this color and gender line in one fell swoop."

"[Andrew Jackson's] own poor legacy on race relations, honest government, and honorable foreign policy demand it… and, frankly, it’s quite possible that [Jackson] would have wanted this anyway."
.
 
 
+17 # futhark 2016-04-23 18:33
Yes, I have thought for years of the irony of having Andrew Jackson's visage represented on the $20 Federal Reserve note. Whatever you think of his life or policies, I'm sure he would have been outraged to know that his likeness would someday appear on currency issued by the Federal Reserve System, successor to the Second Bank of the United States, whose extinction was his number 1 priority.
 
 
+23 # Radscal 2016-04-23 20:08
I won't be defending Jackson, but I absolutely concur that we should not have a Central Bank owned and controlled by supra-national private banksters.

We should nationalize the Federal Reserve and return to Congress their Constitutional mandate to produce and value our currency.
 
 
+4 # Anonymot 2016-04-24 12:16
MAJOR subject that no one talks about since Ron Paul left the scene!
 
 
+4 # Krackonis 2016-04-23 20:44
Jackson didn't think about Racism like we do., This was horrible shit that we did back then....

However, his principles on things he was allowed to have principles on were right on. The Banks are killing America and the World now and they are way past their usefulness.
 
 
+23 # Radscal 2016-04-23 22:58
Ummm... No. There were PLENTY of people, even in the US and even in the South who were anti-racist, anti-slavery. Thomas Paine wrote eloquently about the equality of "races" and moral depravity of slavery, 1/2 century before Jackson.

Whites had been "going native" since the 1600s, leaving the depravity of "civilization" to live with Indian Tribes, and many wrote admiringly about them (starting with Christopher Columbus' description of the Taino Indians).

This claim that "we can't judge X on today's morals" is lame apologetics. They had excuses then, and they're being excused now.
 
 
+12 # Salburger 2016-04-24 05:05
And while Jackson was not the 1st President to have owned slaves, he was the 1st who became a slave owner deliberately rather than through inheritance
 
 
+4 # harleysch 2016-04-24 15:00
Hamilton was one who was anti-slavery. Thankfully, the decision was made to keep him on the $10 bill, along with the long overdue decision to remove Jackson from the $20.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-04-24 15:48
No shining knights in the early Federal Government. Hamilton gave away/sold the nation to the private European Banksters, creating a permanent National Debt and screwing Revolutionary War Veterans out of their back pay in the process.

Then he masterminded the Whiskey Tax, impoverishing small farmers, including many of those same Revolutionary War Veterans, and leading to his goal of forming a Standing Army, which he convinced Washington to send to collect those taxes.

Luckily, only a few citizens were killed, but he was more about setting the precedents than actually slaughtering his "countrymen."

I know he's seeing a real surge in popularity with what looks to be an excellent Hip Hop Broadway musical, but he's never been my idol. ;-)

I highly recommend "The Whisky Rebellion" by Hogeland and Vance. It's a very nicely told history of that seminal event.
 
 
+2 # RLF 2016-04-25 05:22
Wasn't Hamilton an elitist that wanted the wealthy to retain most control and worked toward that when designing the government we have...electora l college? Sorry...I'm weak on history and am really asking.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-04-25 14:01
Basically, yes. He was a Federalist (proponent of a powerful Central Government), but even the Democratic Republicans (ie. Thomas Jefferson) wanted the new country to be an oligarchy. Specifically, a plutocracy.

As written in the Constitution, the voters (a tiny slice of the population as it was) could ONLY vote for their single Congressional Representative. They couldn't vote for Senator. They couldn't vote for President (or Vice President).

That's where we get the electoral college. It was basically the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives , and of course the Supreme Court, Cabinet, etc. are/were all appointments. So except for the House of Representatives , the Federal Government was an incestuous oligarchy with no relationship with democracy.

I take solace in the way the people have gradually grabbed more and more authority over this government, though clearly we take one step forward and another back. After WW II, the "Shadow Government" has become ever more powerful.

So, as the people get more say-so about the Federal Government, the real power shifts to this oligarchy of the Shadow Government.
 
 
+4 # dbrize 2016-04-24 13:38
Quoting Krackonis:
Jackson didn't think about Racism like we do., This was horrible shit that we did back then....

However, his principles on things he was allowed to have principles on were right on. The Banks are killing America and the World now and they are way past their usefulness.


Someone said "great men are seldom good men". A fine denouement of the "great man" theory of history still too prevalent in education.

Flawed humans abound throughout history and for believers and non-believers alike the Seven Deadly Sins of the catechism are alive and well in all generations.

Jackson's treatment of the Five Civilized Tribes contrasts how with Truman's incineration of civilians at Nagasaki?

Washington's ownership of slaves contrasts how with FDR's incarceration of American citizens?

This entire business of judging the past by applying the standards of today reminds..."be careful what you wish for...". The thought strikes me, perhaps a better use of time would be spent ensuring the standards of today are applied to the future.
 
 
+6 # PositronicDave 2016-04-23 16:59
I always thought that Ameherst should be renamed Greenwich, in honor of the drowned neighboring town. Amherst has a bit of a Greenwich Village feel too so I thought it would be a good match.
 
 
+17 # Femihumanist 2016-04-23 17:42
As a resident of Washington CC, with the infamously-name d football team, I am also reminded that he was the one that said "The only good redskin is a dead redskin."
 
 
+17 # Interested Observer 2016-04-23 19:17
The actual "quote" is ""The only good Indians I ever saw were dead." attributed to General Philip Sheridan, who denied ever saying it, making it apocryphal not historical, that became "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" in popular usage. I challenge you to find any authoritative source for your citation regarding Jackson, or for that matter any major figure of U.S. history. All the evils attributed to him in the article are correct so far as I know, and do reflect the spirit of your "quote", but you are propagating mythology as history. You may well find it is a Western movie or two, not to mention pulp novels, but that won't do.
 
 
-15 # Bruce Gruber 2016-04-23 19:53
Oh, goodie, a technicality that misdirects the racist, misogynist, faux-superiorit y of American exceptionalism by meandering through the tomes of "fact" rather than confronting the reality of insecurity and "Hillaritis" - obscurity over confession.
 
 
+10 # dbrize 2016-04-23 21:36
Quoting Bruce Gruber:
Oh, goodie, a technicality that misdirects the racist, misogynist, faux-superiority of American exceptionalism by meandering through the tomes of "fact" rather than confronting the reality of insecurity and "Hillaritis" - obscurity over confession.


Read his entire passage before you trip on your tongue. Bad history is bad history. We already have enough of it.

FDR interned American citizens, Truman incinerated hundreds of thousands of civilians. Have you led the protests to remove their names from anything?
 
 
+3 # trusted commenter 2016-04-23 17:44
I think Jackson was the third president to lose the wig, preceded by Washington (Virginia planter) and JQ Adams (not).

This changes everything.
 
 
+12 # Interested Observer 2016-04-23 19:24
Just more of that "Liberty Valance" history everyone loves so much. Which does not change the bitter truth of another cliche, "White man speaks with forked tongue", and the American equivalent of the Turkish-Armenia n episode of 1915 initiated by Jackson in 1830, and carried on over 20 years.
 
 
+4 # MDSolomon 2016-04-23 19:07
We are in the midst of a well-orchestrat ed campaign to denigrate a President (Jackson) who opposed putting the central bank of the United States under the control of the Bank of England, and elevate a Secretary of the Treasury (Hamilton) who, in a traitorous act, sold the sovereignty of United States back to the very same British bankers whose mercenaries the colonists had just defeated on the battlefields.

If the issue of whose face should appear on the private Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) were really about racism, we would also have to exorcise ourselves of Washington and Jefferson (slave owners). No, the issue is about obfuscating how money actually works, and preventing the masses from understanding how a handful of families gained control over our once-sovereign currency and used it to take over our nation and most of the world.

I wonder what Harriet Tubbman or Frederick Douglass would say about appearing on the debt slave masters' currency? This is easily remedied of course: nationalize the Fed and make money a public utility. Then, consider who helped us get there, after 500 years of control by the central bankers over the people of the U.S. and Europe.

Instead we're being fed a rather massive pile of manure, in articles such as this, that obscure the real agenda, while trying to misdirect our focus to a red herring.

http://coloradopublicbanking.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-view-from-top-of-power-pyramid.html
 
 
0 # Salburger 2016-04-24 05:08
" 500 years of control by the central bankers over the people of the U.S. and Europe." Just what conspiracy theory are you citing here? What central bankers do you think existed in 1616?
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-04-24 16:08
That was a bit of an exaggeration by Solomon.

The Bank of England wasn't founded until 1694, although the oldest Central Bank was Sweden's in 1668.

Here's a nice, short but sweet history of BoE:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2009/jan/08/central-bank-england

And the private banksters go back earlier than that, often largely controlling the economies of political entities, but not as actual Central Banks. THAT was a brilliant scheme, the yoke of which England never shed, and the US has allowed them then banned them a few times, culminating in the Federal Reserve Act of December, 1913.

But of course, if we talk about these bankster thugs, and their power and influence, you'll accuse us of anti-Semitism. ;-)

Oh, and wouldn't 500 years ago be 1516, not 1616?
 
 
+3 # Cassandra2012 2016-04-24 14:15
It is time we were in a 'well-orchestra ted' attempt to start seeing women in their own right, as autonomous FULL HUMAN BEINGS worthy of recognition for their deeds, intellect and innovations. Tubman is a good choice, but I would also like to see the integrity and intelligent decency of Eleanor Roosevelt celebrated (perhaps along with the greatness of Marian Anderson, whom she enabled to sing publicly at, I believe, the Lincoln memorial) when black singers even of the incredible stature of Marian Anderson, were still banned in racist D.C.

But I would also like to see e.g., the great scientist, Rosalind Franklin recognized as the real discoverer of DNA with her Roentgen (X-rays) that Watson/Crick essentially stole through the transom of her office because they believed she was 'working too slowly' (she had radiation poisoning from her work, I believe!)
We could add women like Sacajawea et al to the list as well... IT IS TIME!
 
 
0 # economagic 2016-04-25 06:26
Several others in that category alone: Marie Curie, Barbara McClintock, Lynn Margulis come immediately to mind, and one of my favorites, Elinor Ostrom (although economics is not a science) -- google her.
 
 
# Guest 2016-04-24 18:03
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
-3 # lark3650 2016-04-24 18:15
Quoting MDSolomon:
We are in the midst of a well-orchestrated campaign to denigrate a President (Jackson) who opposed putting the central bank of the United States under the control of the Bank of England, and elevate a Secretary of the Treasury (Hamilton) who, in a traitorous act, sold the sovereignty of United States back to the very same British bankers whose mercenaries the colonists had just defeated on the battlefields.

If the issue of whose face should appear on the private Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) were really about racism, we would also have to exorcise ourselves of Washington and Jefferson (slave owners). No, the issue is about obfuscating how money actually works, and preventing the masses from understanding how a handful of families gained control over our once-sovereign currency and used it to take over our nation and most of the world.

Instead we're being fed a rather massive pile of manure, in articles such as this, that obscure the real agenda, while trying to misdirect our focus to a red herring.

http://coloradopublicbanking.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-view-from-top-of-power-pyramid.html

MDSolomon: Great comment! Well thought out, well stated and you obviously know your history and have done your homework.
President Andrew Jackson had many faults but there is much more to this great American that the writer of this article has chosen to leave out.
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2016-04-23 19:57
"The Treasury Department says that Harriet Tubman’s face could be on our $20 bills by 2020."

What I read is that they say they plan to have the design by 2020, but the bills won't go into circulation until 2030.
 
 
+2 # Cassandra2012 2016-04-24 14:17
Too little too late!
 
 
+9 # KasC 2016-04-23 20:13
What? Another 20 years to have Ms. Tubman's face on th #20? Should have been yesterday!
 
 
+19 # Anonymot 2016-04-23 20:42
Much as I appreciate the arguments involved and the life of Harriet Tubman, I am at the same time disturbed by the Political Correctness of it. We live in a world with what we see today as an awful past, an awful present, and very possibly a future that's worse yet.

Changing names or symbols makes some people feel better, but it does not change the history nor the facts. It's called sublimation in psychology 101.

I've been back in the South for 3 months. The ignorance I see here, the violence, the grinding poverty ifyou look beyond the downtown office buildings, the lack of education as well as the quality of education for those who get it is frightening. The main newspaper in the city I'm in give a daily rolling total of how many people were killed in the last week and how many were merely wounded. The huge black population lives on the government support or bottom rung jobs.

So I wonder about all of the PC steamroller, just like one of the disgusting Republican candidates does. We get lip service from all sides. Only Sanders talks real change, but even he would be (and is) faced with the corrupt realities of our country.

So, okay, change Jackson for Tubman, Amherst to Doodely U, but when are we going to really do something? And what?
 
 
+3 # dusty64 2016-04-23 23:12
It's cold comfort that our generation is no worse than supposed "heroes" of yesteryear. Makes me wonder if there's a shared genetic profile between Andy and Hilly. And deplorable discrepancies in educational opportunities is a red herring as well, when "the best" education is still a pack of lies meant to blunt perceptions which would demand ... well, change or more pharmaceutical pacifiers.
 
 
+4 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-23 23:33
No, Hillary is not the bastard great, great grandchild of Old Hickory (stick?).
Get a life. Because we can't fix everything doesn't mean we shouldn't start with AJ, and let generations of youngsters ask for explanations. Are you ready for a RADICAL idea? High quality equal educational opportunity all across urban & rural America. Free tuition for the Greek$ will have to wait until there's Equal Access.
 
 
+3 # Allanfearn 2016-04-24 00:24
Take him off the 20 dollar bill and feel free to elect Donald Trump. That should fix it.
 
 
+1 # elkingo 2016-04-24 10:43
Has the college really opted for the change? Surprising - what with old grad Ivy Leaguer conservatives. And he college song:
"O Lord Jeffrey Amherst was a soldier of the king// and he came from across the sea-e-e-e-e-e// To the Frenchmen and the Indians// He didn't do a thing// In the wilds of this wild country // But for his royal majesty he fought with all him might...//

But the song was written by undergraduates as a spoof. And a period Limey royalist as a hero? Wasn't that what we were looking to get away from?
 
 
-6 # caphillprof 2016-04-24 13:13
Enough of this historical revisionism nonsense.

None of these people were saints.

Jackson's true claim to fame and the reason he is on the money is because he changed the United States from an elitist cabal to a more democratic population. He was the Donald Trump of his day.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-04-24 14:38
To say here that "He was the Donald Trump of his day," might explain all the negative comments about him.

BTW: Historians are constantly revising history, and always have. Otherwise, there'd be no historians. Just newspapers.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2016-04-25 07:24
Humans lust for simple explanations of everything. In some ways, "Enlightenment" philosophy and the "science" that emerged from it reinforced that yearning. The laws of Copernicus and Newton are brilliantly simple in their everyday forms, as is Carl Linney's taxonomy. Even the math, once mastered, conveys an impression of clockwork precision and predictability.

But the ramifications of all of these become staggeringly complicated in their technical expressions, and in their historical context not nearly as cut and dried as they seem.

Perhaps THE great insight of the 20th century was the dawning realization that these "simple" explanations are but the outermost layer of a very complex onion. But even that analogy is deceptive. Once we peel that first layer from the onion of human knowledge we find the ones inside to bear little resemblance to spherical shells, seemingly interpenetratin g in spaces of many dimensions. Knowledge itself appears to entail profound uncertainty, inscrutable complexity, and ubiquitous paradox. The best non-mathematica l accounts of quantum physics fall back on concepts from ancient Hindu philosophy.

With physics, so with history, economics, and everything else. Our heroes are also our demons; our progress is also our undoing. In 1934 Cole Porter wrote:

"The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today,
And black's white today,
And day's night today. . . ."

There are as many layers to his wit as to the events themselves. Paradox.
 

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