The U.S. Treasury has announced plans to replace the seventh president on the $20 bill with the runaway slave who became one of the most fearless leaders of the Underground Railroad. Hard to argue with that decision.
Not that people won’t. But Jackson is one of those figures in American history who just look worse and worse with the passage of time. If he had only been a slaveholder, he might have fared better. After all, if you start removing the portraits of slaveholders from paper currency, you’ll wind up with an embarrassing amount of vacant space.
But Jackson was also an intemperate, polarizing, trigger-happy populist (a sort of 19th-century Trump, if you will, who at his inauguration enraged polite Washington society by inviting his supporters to party in the executive mansion, which they then proceeded to trash).
But the tipping point with Old Hickory was his deep-dyed racism: among American politicians, he has become the unofficial poster boy for systematic genocide against Native Americans.