Indigenous people have an interest here, to say the least. Before I get to that, the mere fact that a woman might end up on a piece of paper is apparently cause for outrage. Add to that fact it will be a black woman, and oh my, there goes the internet again, all blowed up, and you see things like this:
hey all I know is she stole property. Jackson gave Indians a new home. Tubman was a criminal.
Jackson gave NDNs a new home? There are times the stupid is utterly infuriating. I know that most people don’t know anything at all about Indigenous peoples in uStates, but this is beyond the pale. You’re on the ‘net, you know. Take five minutes out and fucking learn something. As for Tubman being a criminal? Point me to one past uStates president that hasn’t been one. Oh, but they were white, so it was okay. Ms. Tubman saved lives. Jackson was a murderer. A bit of a difference there. But for those preaching #whitegenocide, this heralds the beginning of the end. I would have preferred Chief Wilma Mankiller to be on the $20, but I’m very happy with the choice of Ms. Tubman, assuming this actually happens.
Women on 20s organized to get a woman on U.S. paper money to celebrate the centennial in 2020 of the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to women. They picked Jackson as their target in furtherance of another goal in their mission statement: “Removal of symbols of hate, intolerance and inequality…”
I learned something at that point that was highly gratifying. I know Cherokees who put 20s in their wallet in a manner that avoids looking at Jackson’s face. I know Cherokees who identify as Republicans because Jackson was a Democrat and are highly offended at Democrats having annual “Jefferson-Jackson dinners.” What I did not know is that Indians generally despise Jackson almost as much as Cherokees do.
Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker, released a statement reacting to the decision to replace Jackson with Tubman:
Andrew Jackson defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and forced the removal of our Cherokee ancestors from homelands we’d occupied in the Southeast for millennia. His actions as president resulted in a genocide of Native Americans and the death of about a quarter of our people. It remains the darkest period in the Cherokee Nation’s history. Jackson’s legacy was never one to be celebrated, and his image on our currency is a constant reminder of his crimes against Natives…
The Cherokee Nation applauds the work… to replace his image with the image of Harriet Tubman, whose legacy represents values everyone can be proud of.
Back to Jackson.
Andrew Jackson took office with one goal set firmly in his mind: Indians must be moved “beyond the great river Mississippi.”
A former U.S. Army general who inherited a nation of 13 million people, Jackson wavered on other federal policies while he was in office. The only constant throughout his presidency was Indian removal.
“With the economy, tariffs, the Bank of the United States, Jackson either did not have settled views or if he did, those changed,” Feller said. “Indian removal was the thing that he came in to the White House knowing that he wanted to do.”
During his second message to Congress, in December 1830, Jackson spoke of the “philanthropy” of Indian removal. “True philanthropy,” he said, reconciles the mind “to the extinction of one generation to make room for another.” Tribes in the Southeast already “were annihilated, or have melted away, to make room for the whites,” he said, yet “philanthropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our forefathers.
“The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual states and to Indians themselves,” Jackson told Congress. He promised the act would extend to Indians the freedom to “pursue happiness in their own way” and, gradually, “to ease off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized and Christian community.”
In September 1830, four months after the act passed, the Choctaw Nation ceded all its land east of the Mississippi in exchange for land in present-day Oklahoma. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first negotiated under the Indian Removal Act, served as a template for treaties to come—including the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, in which the Cherokee relinquished all their land east of the Mississippi. The treaty, though fraudulently negotiated, became the legal basis for the Trail of Tears.
Here are our nods to the presidents who did more harm than good for Native Americans while in office.
Andrew Jackson: A man nicknamed “Indian killer” and “Sharp Knife” surely deserves the top spot on a list of worst U.S. Presidents. Andrew Jackson “was a forceful proponent of Indian removal,” according to PBS. Others have a less genteel way of describing the seventh president of the United States.
“Andrew Jackson was a wealthy slave owner and infamous Indian killer, gaining the nickname ‘Sharp Knife’ from the Cherokee,” writes Amargi on the website Unsettling America: Decolonization in Theory & Practice. “He was also the founder of the Democratic Party, demonstrating that genocide against indigenous people is a nonpartisan issue.
…In his brutal military campaigns against Indians, Andrew Jackson recommended that troops systematically kill Indian women and children after massacres in order to complete the extermination. The Creeks lost 23 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama, paving the way for cotton plantation slavery. His frontier warfare and subsequent ‘negotiations’ opened up much of the southeast U.S. to settler colonialism.”
Jackson was not only a genocidal maniac against the Indigenous Peoples of the southwest, he was also racist against African peoples and a scofflaw who “violated nearly every standard of justice,” according to historian Bertram Wyatt-Brown.
… In 1830, a year after he became president, Jackson signed a law that he had proposed – the Indian Removal Act – which legalized ethnic cleansing. Within seven years 46,000 indigenous people were removed from their homelands east of the Mississippi. Their removal gave 25 million acres of land “to white settlement and to slavery,” according to PBS. The area was home to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole nations. In the Trail of Tears alone, 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.