Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

2021-05-14 21:38:18
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Jacob J. Lew, the Treasury secretary recently proposed a move to replace former American President, Andrew Jackson's face on the $20 bill with the face of the former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American woman to appear on an American paper currency and the first woman in more than a century to appear in a currency (Korte, 2016).

The re-making of the currency is expected to reflect the multiracial, multiethnic and multicultural nation which represents America today.

This move is significant, especially in recognition to the abolitionists who struggled to end slavery and slave labor in America.

Andrew Jackson was a white man known not only for his advocacy for the common man and war heroics but also for how he persecuted the Native Americans.

Replacing his face in the $20 bill with not only a woman but an African American woman who struggled to free slaves is a great show of honor to the late Harriet Tubman and also an acknowledgment of the struggles that the African Americans went through in the form of slavery and slave labor.

Mr. Lew decided on Harriet Tubman after ten months of heated public commentaries in which he had asked the American public to suggest a woman to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill (Calmes, 2016).

According to Socrates, the move to replace Andrew Jackson, a persecutor of Native Americans, with Harriet Tubman, a woman born into slavery and who became an abolitionist and a women civil rights leader, is a moral thing to do.

Socrates was known as the father of morality and believed that the practical end results of philosophy should be the well- being of society.

The changes proposed in the U. S currency faces include the replacement of white males with not only female faces but female African Americans who fought for and stood for certain ideals. An acknowledgment of these individuals would spark a sense of unity and equality especially gender and racial - in America. This would ultimately lead to the well- being of the society as a whole.

In The Apology, Socrates states that neither death nor life can harm a good man. His view is that the gods never neglect the affairs of a good man (Plato). So it is with Harriet Tubman who even in death, is being honored in a way that no woman or African American has ever been honored in America. Her sacrifice of organizing raids and freeing of more than 750 slaves who she would lead from America to Canada, was never in vain. Her efforts were, in a way not neglected by the gods who have rewarded her centuries down the line.

Socrates was fearless and refused to flee in order to escape death. The same can be said of Harriet Tubman who even though suffered from a permanent seizure disorder, still made numerous trips from Canada to America to flee slaves. She did not fear death even though she was being hunted down by planters and slave owners. He considered death as a blessing (Plato). In the same way, Harriet was aware of the possibility of death in her trips but still faced them without fear.


Calmes, J. (2016). Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20. New York Times. Retrieved on May 9, 2016 from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/us/women-currency-treasury-harriet-tubman.html?_r=0Korte, G. (2016). Anti- Slavery Activist Harriet Tubman to Replace Jackson on $20 Bill. USA Today. Retrieved on May 9, 2016 from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/04/20/report-lew-considered-anthony-10-bill/83274530/Plato. The Apology. Retrieved on May 9, 2016 from http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html

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