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Suzanne Fields -
April 29, 2016

The inquiring mind of a young friend of mine, a junior at a Washington high school, wants to know: "What's the meaning of moving Andrew Jackson to the back of the $20 bill?" He doesn't discount the achievements of Harriet Tubman, who is celebrated in classrooms from kindergarten on. "Everyone knows she was a courageous woman who conducted the underground railway to save slaves," he says, "but it's an uneven exchange and a distortion of history to move her to the front of the $20 bill and move Andrew Jackson to the back."

You could take a poll of the kids in school, he says, and you will find most of them are able to recite Tubman's accomplishments, chapters and verse, but few have a clue as to why the seventh president was put on the money in the first place. You could Google a list of the top 10 U.S. presidents and see why both conservative and liberal historians put him among the best.

Jackson was an early champion of the scorned, the disdained and the disenfranchised, and he came by such sentiments the hard way. He was the first president who was not born into an established family, typical of the Founding Fathers. He was the first president whose identity was forged outside the original 13 colonies. He was a self-made man in Tennessee when the state was on the far frontier, and he diversified and democratized politics, blazing the way for any boy born in poverty to dream of rising as high as the Oval Office…

Andrew Jackson Gets a Second Look After a $20 Misunderstanding