By Jane Y. Kim
On April 20th, United States Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist, would be featured on the front of the twenty dollar bill. Andrew Jackson, the previous face on the twenty, will be moved to the back of the bill. Although Tubman was originally going to be on the ten dollar bill, replacing founding father Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew received an earful of complaints from “Hamilton” fans as well as the modern American financial system, causing him to reconsider his original plan.
The change of the currency caused several different reactions around our school ranging from pure joy to pure outrage.
Junior Chris Morillo said, “I think it’s a good thing. Not only do we need a woman on the twenty dollar bill, I think it’s good that it’s Harriet Tubman. I think she’s made a great impact that everyone can agree on, regardless of their current political affiliation. She freed thousands of slaves. Obviously that made an impact. So, yeah, I think that she’s a great woman to put onto the twenty dollar bill.”
Democratic politician Hillary Clinton tweeted, “A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can’t think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman.”
Although there have been positive reactions to this change, several students at LCHS have expressed indifference.
Senior Mark Gannon said, “I’m fine with it. She was a great woman. Honestly, I am indifferent about that subject.”
Senior Blake Cornell and sophomore Prudence Sum also expressed disinterest on the topic as well.
As of right now, former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Jackson are printed on the one, two, five, and twenty dollar bills, respectively, while Alexander Hamilton, Ulysses S. Grant, and Benjamin Franklin are printed on the ten, fifty, and one hundred dollar bills.
There have only been two instances where women have been seen on American currency in the form of paper money. In the 1860s, Native American Pocahontas was shown on the backside of the twenty dollar bill. The only other time that a woman has been on U.S. paper money was in the 1880s to 1890s when Martha Washington, the first, first lady of the United States of America, was on the one dollar silver certificate. However, women, including Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea, and Helen Keller, have been represented on our coins. Many people believe that finding a female face for our currency is something that should have been done a long time ago.
Overall, although the entire situation has brought varying reactions, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew has expressed his determination to fulfill the process of changing the faces on our currency, indicating that Harriet Tubman will soon begin to be seen on our currency.
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