Dollar Bill Change - Frame

When was the last time you used a one-dollar coin to buy something? In fact, when was the last time you saw a one-dollar coin in circulation? I’ve never used one. The problem with the scarcity of these coins is that they’re the only U.S. currency to have a woman’s portrait. People across the country are insisting that the irrelevant one-dollar coin is not enough. And finally, we’re going to get a woman on one of our bills.

Jack Lew, the current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, is in charge of deciding which white guy gets the boot and which new female face will come in to replace him. Last summer, he announced that he was considering removing Alexander Hamilton, the very first Secretary of the Treasury.  

So the question was, why would we get rid of Hamilton? Really, what did he ever do to be shown the door? There’s no other Founding Father who deserves to be on our currency more than he does. Hamilton was the very first Secretary of the Treasury. Furthermore, he set up our nation’s financial system, established our national bank, and helped unify the nation by getting the federal government to assume state debts. Since Lew announced his intention to remove Hamilton, there’s been plenty of public outcry insisting that he stay.

Surprisingly, it’s not just history buffs jumping to Hamilton’s defense. A lot of his support comes from fans of the new Broadway musical “Hamilton.” The biographical hip-hop musical has brought to light many of Hamilton’s achievements as a Founding Father while being catchy and fun. I’ve never really been interested in descriptions of U.S. state debt, but the fact that these financial debates were made into rap battles made them a lot more accessible. Because of this, there are more people than ever, myself included, who care about Hamilton and his successes as U.S. Treasury Secretary. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and star of “Hamilton,” personally spoke to Lew in an effort to support Hamilton.

It would seem that Lew’s been listening to public opinion. Just yesterday, he announced his official plan for our money. Hamilton, to my relief, gets to stay right where he is. Instead, former President Andrew Jackson is getting voted off the island. Taking Jackson’s place is Harriet Tubman.

In my opinion, Jackson should have never been put on our money in the first place. Getting rid of his portrait is long overdue, and so is putting a woman on our dollar bills. I could go on all day about why Jackson doesn’t deserve to be a symbol of our country.

First of all, he would have never wanted to be on our money. In fact, he’s probably been rolling in his grave since we made him a symbol of the U.S. central banks. Jackson hated the central banks and vetoed the renewal of the Bank of the United States during his presidency. The veto was one of the major causes of an economic depression in 1837.

Furthermore, Jackson is not the kind of person we should want to represent us as a nation. Chief among his sins is signing the Indian Removal Act. This led to what most people will recognize as the Trail of Tears. Tens of thousands of Native Americans were forced from their homeland with incredible brutality. Among the 15,000 Creeks who were driven from the southeast United States, 3,500 did not survive the trip to Indian Territory, now modern-day Oklahoma

Harriet Tubman is a fantastic choice for his replacement. As most people probably remember from junior high American history, she conducted the Underground Railroad for several years and is responsible for freeing hundreds of slaves. Born a slave herself, she was a leading abolitionist during the Civil War and acted as a spy for the Union. She even led raids to free hundreds of slaves at a time during the war.  

It’s especially fitting that Tubman, who saved hundreds of lives as an abolitionist, will replace Jackson. You’ll also notice Harriet Tubman wasn’t a slaver responsible for the deaths of thousands of Native Americans.

So it’s absolutely a good thing we’re keeping Hamilton, the anti-slavery Treasury Secretary, and getting rid of Jackson, the genocidal president who hated the U.S. Federal Bank. Jack Lew made the right choice in removing Jackson, and I can think of few better to take his place than Harriet Tubman. 

We should be seeing the redesigns featuring Tubman in 2020. If the Treasury follows through with Lew’s plan, we could see Tubman’s portrait gracing the front of our money as soon as 2030. I say, the sooner the better. There’s been enough debate over the subject. Sacagawea and the one-dollar coin need some female company.

Rachel Gordon is a freshman English and political science double major. Reach her at opinion@dailynebraskan.com or via @DNOpinion.