So this one is probably going to piss people off. Then again, every time I say that, no one seems to get pissed off. So maybe this one will make everyone happy?
So I got home from work and found something about a group of women, wanting to put famous women on money, feeling that money is too owned by white men, since it’s white men on the money, and women need to be represented on said money. I, in my usual inhuman way, wonder what someone’s race or gender have to do with anything since humans keep saying they want a world where a person’s race and gender have nothing to do with anything…but then humans are odd.
So they want to change the $20 dollar bill, which intially seems an odd choice until you realize that Washington is on the $1 and good luck making any argument to get the guy who literally forged this country off that bill. And Lincoln is on the $5 and as much as there are southerners who hate him…he did keep the nation together, so really, good luck coming up with someone qualified with a deed mightier than that to replace him.
And Franklin is on the $100, and as the philisophical father of the nation (along with Jefferson), not to mention his pop culture value (It’s all about the Bens), good luck trying that.
So we have Andrew Jackson on the $20, and on the face of it, he did always seem a bit of an odd choice to me. I always thought Jefferson would have been a better choice. Jefferson wrote the Declaration, the Constitution, had Lewis and Clark, and the Louisiana Purchase…which I think quadrupled the amount of territory of the USA. Jackson has three things to his name, the war of 1812 (in which he fought the British when they tried to retake the USA), he fought and destroyed a central USA bank, and the Indian Removal Act of 1830s, which is known for the Trail of Tears and the moving of the Cherokee from the Eastern US to the West.
Of his first two reknowns, his battles helped keep the USA in existence, so that does put him up there with Grant and Lincoln, if not on a Washington level. As for his thing with the banks, the more you learn about banking, and what a central bank can do to a country and its economy…it’s kinda hard not to see his point of view. The Indian Removal act is certainly a dark part though, and one of the reasons I feel Jefferson would have been a better choice. But at the time he was picked, I think Jackson had more “cultural” value in the late 20’s.
But some consider the IRA of 1930 to be nothing short of a genocide (which it wasn’t, the Cherokee did not die out nor did they come all that close to it), including the Women on 20’s and they want him off. Since there’s better candidates, I’m not going to argue to hard for Jackson.
But let’s look at who the Women on 20’s campaign want to replace him. From the Washington post.
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross
Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control clinic in the US.
Rachel Carson, a marine biologist who wrote the hugely influential environmental book Silent Spring
Rosa Parks, the iconic civil rights activist
Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist activist famed for her journeys on the underground railroad
Barbara Jordan, a politician who was the first black woman in the south to be elected to the House of Representatives
Betty Friedan, feminist author of the Feminine Mystique
Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor under FDR, who was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet
Susan B. Anthony, women’s suffrage movement leader
Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, early women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activist and former first Lady
Sojourner Truth, African American women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the House, and the first Asian American elected to Congress
Alice Paul, women’s suffrage movement leader
So I’m going to break this down a bit. As I do, understand that the qualification level I have, based on the four presidents on the primary courancies, is this: They Founded/Saved the Nation.
- Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is probably one of the largest medical/charity organizations out there. It is known through out the world and it’s symbol, the red cross, has become the international symbol for Medics. So this is pretty big…but I still didn’t recognize her name when I first heard it on a different article. But then again, most people can’t name most of the Presidents so I’m not going to hold that against her. I don’t think that the founding of the Red Cross is quite as big a deal as founding a nation, but it’s close given the lives saved by the Red Cross, so I’m going to give her a 4/5
- Margaret Sanger, who opened the first birth control clinic in the US.
And that’s it. That’s why she’s picked. She opened basically the first Planned Parenthood. Now, if you want to talk genocide, whatever your view on a woman’s right to chose, abortion has killed millions and millions and millions. So yeah, if you want to complain about Jackson killing a lot of people (and that’s terrible) but then replace him with someone who essentially founded abortion clinics…no. 1/5, and subtract three from that for your hypocrisy.
- Rachel Carson, a marine biologist who wrote the hugely influential environmental book Silent Spring
She wrote a book. About the environment. I’m kinda sorry. Maybe if she’d written something political like Jefferson’s Declaration, or the Constitution, or the Magna Carta…but the Environment? I don’t really care how influential the book was, it doesn’t exactly “serve the state” or the “body politic.” Karl Marx wrote an influential book. Hel, Jim Butcher has probably written more influential and better selling books that this Carson lady, so I’m sorry, but merely writing an influential book doesn’t qualify you any where near “built/saved a nation” territory. But at least she didn’t do genocide. 2/5
- Rosa Parks, the iconic civil rights activist
I have to admit, I’m a bit conflicted on this one. Frankly, I do think MLK jr should be on money. But when you look at it, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, and she got really famous for it. But that’s all she’s really famous for. And she wasn’t even the first black woman to refuse to give up her seat. In that same city, just a few weeks before, another woman (whose name I have sadly forgotton) refused to give up her seat to a white man.
The reason you don’t know about her instead of Parks? She was an unwed mother who was deemed to not have a good enough “image” by the civil rights leaders to be their poster child. The Rosa Parks thing wasn’t “one woman’s brave stand” it was literally a stage job to get publicity. So I’m sorry, but that taints it for me. It helped to change a nation, but only by passing over someone. 2/5
- Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist activist famed for her journeys on the underground railroad
Now here is arguably a strong candidate like Barton. Tubman helped found the Underground Railroad which brought thousands to freedom and galvanized a nation to end slavery. Everyone knows her name, everyone knows what she did. It’s not quite building/saving a nation territory, but again it’s pretty close here. She greatly influenced the change that made the nation what it is. That she helped start the Civil War which nearly destroyed the nation might be counted as a mark against her, but then the same can be said about Lincoln, sooo, I’ll give it a pass. 4/5
- Barbara Jordan, a politician who was the first black woman in the south to be elected to the House of Representatives
I will freely admit, this is impressive. Interestingly enough, she wasn’t the first black politician from the south though, that actually did happen shortly after the Civil War, but still, first black woman from the south is impressive.
But is it building a nation impressive. While she did earn a number of awards and honors over her career and life, I can’t find any major, nation changing legislation that she did. But she didn’t fuck it up like so many politicians, so I’ll give her a 3/5
- Betty Friedan, feminist author of the Feminine Mystique
And…another writer. Now I will give that this book was influential, did examine some much ignored areas, and took the piss out of Freud (which I have nothing but like for), but again, it’s a book, and I can point to many more writings and books that have far more shaped the nation than this one. And given that we have Jefferson, who was a much more prolific writer and a president who founded and built up the nation…sorry. She loses qualified writer title, but at least her book was about the nation and influenced more the body politic. 3/5
- Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor under FDR, who was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet
Here we actually get a much more impressive female politician than Jordan, and actually did do stuff that effected the nation, esp during WWII. I can’t say she saved the nation, but she was part of the team that pretty much saved the world, so booyah for that. 4/5
- Susan B. Anthony, women’s suffrage movement leader
This one is a bit tricky. Anthony certainly has effected the body politic. She certainly has accomplished things. But she’s had some controverial views, and some mysandric views I do believe, and I can’t say I’m all that thrilled with her Temperance movement stuff. But just because I don’t like her as much doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some creds. 4/5
- Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress
This one isn’t any different really from Jordan, so simply because she was the first in Congress…meh. 3/5
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, early women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Pretty much the same deal with Anthony, except I hadn’t really heard of Stanton. Except she might have been more Anthony than Anthony. 3/5
- Eleanor Roosevelt, human rights activist and former first Lady
Honestly, those two things are what she’s known for and what qualifies her. Being First Lady…I’m sorry, that’s cool and all, but It’s not President. And Barton outclasses her as far as the human rights/benefit for man kind thing goes. She was an impressive lady, but History is filled with impressive people, it takes special to get to money special. 3/5
- Sojourner Truth, African American women’s rights activist and abolitionist
Uh…okay. Tubman, I guess. Less known, I’m guessing as well. But honestly, Tubman seems to have done more. 2/5
- Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to the House, and the first Asian American elected to Congress
Okay, she’s Asian rather than Black, but…being first doesn’t Qualify you. Washington had to do a shit ton more than just be the first president to get on the bill. Sorry. 2/5
- Alice Paul, women’s suffrage movement leader
She helped with the 19th Amendment, like Anthony I think. So impressive, and did change the body politic quite a bit. but beyond that…not a lot of mighty deeds apparent. But I’ll give her the 4/5
Now I want to state that this is not to take away from their accomplishments. These women did change much, effected much, and were talented people. But it takes more than just being famous, talented, or even changing the country. Founding the country, saving the country, that kind of thing is the measuring stick. And I find it interesting that there are women who are blatantly left of this list. The thing I noticed about all these women…they seem to be feminists, they worked for the women’s right movement. There are a number of famous women, who did stuff just as amazing, that seems to ignore simply because they weren’t part of the feminist movement.
And that doesn’t sit right with me.