Redesigning the $20 Bill, Part I
The United States Treasury announced that it is redesigning $5, $10, and $20 bills. The final redesign will be presented in 2020. In 2016, President Obama had requested the Treasury Department (which the President runs) to place women and civil rights activists on prominent places on U.S. bills. In response to his request, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew began a process that has been controversial. The most significant change will be on the $20 bill. The image of Harriet Tubman will replace the image of President Andrew Jackson on the front of the bill, and Jackson will be featured on the back of the bill.
The Current $20 Bill and Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson is currently featured on the front of the $20 bill, and from the early 1800s until about the 1960s, nearly all Americans considered him a hero. Andrew Jackson had fought as a young teenager in the American Revolution, was caught, and suffered a sword injury because of his stubborn refusal to obey a British officer to clean his muddy boots. He rose in ranks in the American Army, and earned the nickname of “the Second George Washington” in the War of 1812 because of his crucial role in soundly defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson defeated Indians in a series of battles over many years, and he captured Florida from Spain.
The American people overwhelmingly elected Andrew Jackson President twice, and he served from 1829-1837. Andrew Jackson is considered as the founder of the modern Democratic Party. He was one of the most popular Presidents ever elected, and he was the first President who related well with the common man. Jackson was the first born in a log cabin, west of the Appalachian Mountains. He promoted the idea that the people should vote for electors, and historians call this period in history “Jacksonian Democracy.” As President, he vetoed the National Bank, and some think this kept America from having an elite that controlled everyone.
In the 1960s and 1970s, some Americans began to rethink the idea that Jackson was an American hero. They point to Jackson’s strong support for the Indian Removal Act (1830). The Indian Removal Act was a law that forced Indians to move west to Oklahoma. The law gave the President authority to forcefully remove Indians, take their land, and resettle them. Though the Supreme Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional, Jackson and subsequent Presidents enforced it.
From 1830–1850, around 60,000 Indians were forced to move west into present-day Oklahoma. Many of the marches west were under the bayonet of the American soldier. Because some of the marches were carried out in inhumane ways, from 7,000 to 15,000 Indians died while moving west. “The Trail of Tears” is a name that historians give to one or more of these removals. It is because of Jackson’s policy towards Indians that many Americans do not think he was an American hero.
Was Jackson an American Hero?
The question about Jackson being an American hero should be asked in its historical context. During the time of Jackson, America was a new country, fighting for its survival. Had Great Britain won the War of 1812, the United States of America would have become part of Britain’s empire and would have lost its independence. Jackson was a main reason America won the war. Jackson promoted the idea that every citizen should vote for the President, and he was loved by nearly all. He founded the modern Democratic Party, and wanted government to represent average Americans, not just the powerful.
Some think Jackson’s policy of removing Indians west was genocide, and some say that Jackson was evil because he owned slaves. Genocide means when a government tries to kill all people from one religious or ethnic group. Removing the Indians west was brutal and Americans killed Indians because the forced marches were harsh, but there never was an American policy to kill all Indians. It is true Jackson owned slaves. While our society rightfully believes that slavery is an evil, it used to be seen as normal.
The New $20 Bill
On the new $20 bill, the image of Harriet Tubman will be on the front, and Andrew Jackson’s image will be on the reverse. Who is Harriet Tubman? Was she an American hero? Is there any debate regarding her past, like with Jackson? Read our next article, “Redesigning the $20 Bill, Part II” to find out!
By John De Gree of The Classical Historian, www.classicalhistorian.com Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.
The following is taken from The Story of Liberty, a curriculum and video course on the story of America. To learn more about The Story of Liberty, Click Here.
The Beginning of the American Revolution – April 19, 1775
April 19th, 2016 is the 243rd anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolution. 243 years ago American farmers and militia fought the “British Regulars” (professional soldiers) at Concord and Lexington and chased the redcoats back to Boston. The fight is sometimes called a skirmish, because it was less than a battle. A little over a year after this fight, Americans declared their right to form a new country with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The first modern republic was born with the actions of regular citizens rejecting a government that ruled without its consent.
The skirmish at Lexington and Concord was fought because the British tried to stop the Americans from preparing for war. In 1774, American leaders at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia petitioned King George III and parliament to restore their rights. When the king and parliament refused and continued to hold the people of Boston under martial law, the Americans decided to mobilize for war. Colonists established illegal, revolutionary governments, collected taxes to fund militia and even funerals for soldiers, and established arsenals, which are warehouses for guns and ammunition. Americans were already well-armed, with each family owning several guns. However, men in villages now trained as soldiers. Some, called minutemen, were chosen and financially supported by town leaders to be prepared to fight within a minute’s notice.
General Gage, the commander of the British army in Boston, wanted to surprise the colonists. He ordered Major Pitcairn to march 1,000 soldiers 20 miles to Concord to destroy colonial ammunition and to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Gage did not want a fight, but wanted take weapons from Americans so they could not fight. However, Americans in Boston learned of this plan and destroyed the surprise. On the night of April 18th, 1775, a Bostonian set two lanterns in the belfry tower of the Old North Church, thus signaling three riders, Dr. Samuel Prescott, William Dawes and Paul Revere, that the British would go to Concord initially by a sea route.
The three riders set off from Boston to Concord, warning the colonists “The Regulars are coming! The Regulars are coming!” The “Regulars” were the professional British soldiers. The three successfully alerted the colonists to arm themselves and meet the British.
On the morning of April 19th, 1775, the American Revolution started. The British Regulars met American militia assembled in Lexington, a village along the road to Concord. When the Regulars met the Americans, it was dark. Major Pitcairn ordered the Americans to disperse. They just stood there. Then, inexplicably, a shot rang out and the fighting started. The British killed eight and the Americans scattered. The British continued their march to Concord. In Concord, the British found the weapons and destroyed them. However, the Americans managed to defeat a smaller group of the British at the Old North Bridge, and this victory energized the colonists.
The British were now twenty miles away from Boston, in the middle of hostile territory. For the rest of the day, the Regulars marched back to the city, drums beating, in formation, along a narrow road. During this march, Americans took aim at the soldiers, firing behind trees, stone walls, and fences, and then running away when any British soldier would chase them. By the end of the day, Americans had killed nearly 300 British and had lost 85 men. Though a small victory, it was seen as a great triumph of Americans over the strongest empire in the world.
Throughout the month of April, use the Coupon Code Jefferson when checking out and receive 10% off all products and services.
by John De Gree, Founder of the Classical Historian
American Founding Father
Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father who established political and cultural traditions that Americans still enjoy today. He was born on April 13, 1743, in the English colony of Virginia, in a prominent family. His father was a surveyor and cartographer and created the first accurate map of Virginia. From what we would call a large family, Jefferson had 9 siblings: six sisters, one brother, and two who died before the age of two. Like George Washington, Thomas experienced tragedy at a young age when he lost his father.
Most likely, Jefferson learned how to read from his mom, Jane Jefferson, and his education was geared towards training him to strive for goodness and beauty and to become a leader. Before his formal education began at the age of 9, he spent his time reading, learning to play the violin, and playing in the woods. For five years thereafter, the Reverend William Douglas taught him Latin and Greek at a private school. When his father died, Jefferson continued his studies under the Reverend James Maury, who Jefferson describes as “a correct classical scholar.” This meant that Thomas Jefferson studied the great thinkers of Classical Greece and Rome, and strove for self-improvement by learning about the great ideas and lives of those in history.
At the college of William and Mary in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson initially chose not to be a man of character. He spent his first months at parties, playing cards, and betting. After coming home for a visit, a friend was disappointed that Thomas wasn’t applying himself. Thomas chose from then on to take his studies seriously. Professor William Small, Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier and lawyer George Wythe led a small group of scholars, recommending books to read and leading discussion sessions. Under this personal care, Thomas Jefferson developed into a deep thinker and leader. After college, Jefferson studied law under the private guidance of Wythe, studying five years instead of the normal two and a half. He became one of the country’s most educated lawyers.
Thomas Jefferson’s personal life was filled with much sorrow. Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, and together they had six children. Four died before adulthood, and only one outlived Thomas. Martha died after ten years of marriage of diabetes. Thomas Jefferson shut himself in his room and paced for three weeks. He had promised his wife he would not remarry, and he did not.
Whereas George Washington was a great military man, Jefferson’s genius lay in the power of his pen, his legislative work, and his Presidential leadership. He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, which was the Virginia colony’s legislative body. Jefferson authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was used as a guide for our country’s First Amendment. He wrote to A Summary View of the Rights of British America, which declared that the colonies had the right to self-govern. Jefferson was a participant in the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress, and pushed for independence from Great Britain. Jefferson served as governor of Virginia and was the Washington’s Secretary of State. He is the principal author of The Declaration of Independence, one of the most powerful and beautiful political documents of all time. Perhaps the most memorable sentence he wrote is,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
s the young nation’s third President, Jefferson doubled the size of the United States, kept the country out of war with France and Britain, and kept American shipping safe in the Mediterranean by destroying pirates. Historians call time from 1800 to about 1820 “The Age of Jefferson” because of America’s accomplishments that Jefferson started. France’s Napoleon Bonaparte eagerly sold the Louisiana Territory to Jefferson to help pay for his war against Great Britain. Curious to learn of this new land, Jefferson sent 40 men and one woman on an incredible journey. The Lewis and Clark Expedition explored and mapped this new land.
Jefferson’s foreign policy towards belligerent countries is mixed. Some have criticized Jefferson for keeping a small military and allowing Great Britain and France to harass and imprison our sailors, but Jefferson thought we would lose a war against one of these great powers and it was best to appease than to confront them. When Barbary pirates were seizing American ships and killing American sailors, Jefferson ordered an invasion of Tripoli and our military forced the pirates to stop harming Americans. Although Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican and favored states’ rights, he ordered the purchase of Louisiana without Congressional approval, a violation of the Constitution.
On July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson died, a few hours before his friend and the second President John Adams. Of all his accomplishments, Jefferson was most proud of a few. He wrote his own epitaph, which reads:
HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.
John De Gree is Founder of The Classical Historian, www.classicalhistorian.com. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2016 John De Gree All Rights Reserved.
Americans are in the middle of an interesting election year, where Republican and Democrat candidates are competing to represent their political parties. On April 11, 2016, celebrity and businessman Donald Trump was leading Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich in the Republican primaries, and Senator Hillary Clinton was leading Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democrat primaries. After each party chooses its candidate, they will face each other in the general election in November. Have you heard some of the slogans, “Feel the Bern,” “Let’s Make America Great,” “TrusTed?” Each candidate hopes their campaigning will eventually take them to the White House.
The U.S. Constitution and Choosing a President
The American Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution that the President and Vice President are elected through the Electoral College. The Electoral College is an institution, or process. States are given a certain number of “electors,” people who vote for a President and Vice President. The number of electors given to each state depends on how many representatives each state has in the House of Representatives. The electors are directed by their state legislators how to vote and were initially given two votes. (A legislator is a person who makes laws.) The candidate with more than 50% of the electoral vote becomes the President, and the candidate with the second most votes becomes the Vice President. The Founding Fathers wanted proven leaders to decide who should be president, because they thought professional politicians would best understand who should lead the country.
Choosing a U.S. President in History
In the first two Presidential elections (1789 and 1782), George Washington won the unanimous vote of all electors. Once Washington left office, political parties became more important and initially this caused problems for the Electoral College. In the election of 1796, electors chose a President and Vice President from opposing parties. Federalist Party candidate John Adams became President, but Democratic-Republican Party candidate Thomas Jefferson became the Vice President. This would be like Bernie Sanders becoming President and Ted Cruz becoming Vice-President in 2016.
In the 1800 elections, the electors wanted Jefferson as President and his running mate Aaron Burr to become Vice President. Electors cast the same number of ballots for Jefferson and for Burr. Because the electors didn’t write which one they wanted for President, there was confusion over who won the election. In 1804, the states passed the Twelfth Amendment which forced electors to cast two separate ballots – one for President and one for Vice President. Electors today still vote in this same manner.
Before 1824, electors were chosen primarily by state legislators. American politicians, especially Andrew Jackson, thought that all American citizens should choose the electors. Because of Jackson and others, the people became the main voice of who should be President, not the state politicians. Today, each state holds an election and allows its citizens to choose electors.
A History of Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
Presidential Primaries and caucuses are elections in each state that choose the representative for each political party. There is nothing in the Constitution about this process, and it has developed over time, with some differences, in each state. Because of this historical development, sometimes the primary season appears confusing. Beginning with the 1796 election, Presidential candidates were chosen by politicians from each party’s state politicians. In 1831, the Anti-Masonic Party held the first national party convention to choose their Presidential candidate. From this time through the early 1900s, candidates for President and Vice President were chosen at national party conventions, where powerful party leaders decided.
In the early 1900s, Americans wanted to take the power away from political leaders and give to all citizens in deciding who should choose presidential candidates. Beginning with Florida, Wisconsin, and Oregon, states held primary elections or caucuses to choose delegates to the party conventions. These delegates would then choose the candidate. In most cases, party delegates are bound to vote for the person who won in their state, but in some states, they are not.
There are two types of elections where state citizens choose their candidate: a primary and a caucus. In a primary, citizens vote in a traditional election with a secret ballot. In a caucus, people gather for a meeting, express their views, and vote either secretly or in the open.
2016 Primary Elections
The 2016 Primary Elections have been one of the most interesting election cycles in this author’s lifetime. At the beginning, there were at least 16 Republican candidates. Now, there are three, and it appears that none of them will win the required number of delegates before the Republican national convention. On the Democrat side, there is a Socialist who is not even a member of the party competing against a former first lady. On both the Republican and Democrat side, both leaders are disliked by over 50% of the population, in many polls. In the summer, the Democrats and Republicans will have their party conventions, and it is at these meetings that each party will declare who its candidate will be.
John De Gree
John De Gree writes the current events with a look at the history of each topic. Articles are written for the young person, aged 10-18, and Mr. De Gree carefully writes so that all readers can understand the event. The perspective the current events are written in is Judeo-Christian.
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