Why Harriet Tubman Should Not Be on the Twenty Dollar Bill

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“when the Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman will soon appear on the twenty dollar bill, it was wildly acclaimed by liberal media.”

It was only a matter of time before the politically correct establishment took aim at the nation’s currency. It is not enough that the value of the dollar should slowly decline toward monopoly money, it must also eventually look like it as well. The staid dollar notes were just too correct to survive. They have to be changed.

Thus, when the Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman will soon appear on the twenty dollar bill, it was wildly acclaimed by liberal media. The worthiness of Harriet Tubman is not the matter to be debated in this case. Her countenance is in no way unfit to appear. The real issue is the propriety of turning dollar bills into the billboards and playthings of politically correct politicians and bureaucrats who will change everything to promote their ideological agenda.

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The figures that appear on money should not be just anyone who deserves recognition for anything. The proper figures should have to do with the nature of money itself. Money needs to send a message and should be designed accordingly.

Like it or not (and many do not), money has to do with authority. Political authority, to be precise. Aristotle recognized the fact that money represents the ability to get a unit recognized and accepted as payment. He made it clear that it is the will of a political authority that makes money what it is. This is aided by the fact that a currency’s acceptance needs to be universal by reason of taxes, since all people of a nation need a uniform means of payment.

For this reason, basic monetary units have always featured the profile or name of the political ruler or authority who issued it. It is the way money manifests the willingness of a government to stand behind its money.


When Christ was confronted by the Pharisees as to the legitimacy of paying the tribute tax to Caesar, He asked whose face was upon the coins being used. “Caesar’s,” they answered, since it was by his authority that the denarius was accepted. Christ replied that people should render to Caesar that which is his, since it was indeed Caesar’s authority that made the coin legal tender.

When money was later Christianized, Caesar’s face was joined by symbols of the source of all authority, which is God, in whom the nations trusted. In addition to Caesar’s visage, the cross, religious symbols or representations of Christ were added to underscore money’s foundation in this highest and supreme authority, which was then recognized and venerated throughout Christendom.

And so it is proper that money send a message of strength and authority to those who use it. It should reflect a nation’s perception of that authority. It should be an organic process that allows for the development of a consensus about that message.

So it was that American money developed over time according to the usages and customs of the nation. And while there have been different objects or people on the coinage, for the most part American money has expressed executive authority or those personages like the Founders upon which America first asserted its independent political authority. Unlike Britain, American executive figures change every four years making it impractical to change the currency to reflect the current president. But using past presidents symbolizes the continuity of that executive power and authority that support the currency.

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“The real issue is the propriety of turning dollar bills into the billboards and playthings of politically correct politicians”

Another important source of consensus in America is the concept of liberty as a source of authority. Thus, some coins, like the Liberty quarter and the Morgan dollar, displayed abstract representations of liberty as a goddess. While such representations lost favor over time, the word liberty organically entered into use and continues to appear on all currency to this day.

Finally, during the Cold War, the need to appeal to a higher authority was confirmed with the mandated phrase “In God We Trust” that must appear on all American currency.

Thus it was that American currency developed organically over time…until now.

Subscription8.1When money becomes a medium to recognize just any figure, one among the many who are indeed worthy of recognition, it defeats the purpose and message of money. If America is to return to order, money must not become a plaything of politicians and media who will use and cheapen money as a marquee or billboard for their usually liberal causes.

Of course, money can and should change. However, it should be around representative leaders that bridge partisan divides. More often than not these political statesmen tend to be historic since time erases issues that can be so divisive. There should be debate about the changes since these are things that should be proposed not imposed, especially in today’s polarized times. Change for change sake is hardly a wise policy.

Perhaps even more disconcerting is the fact that should such changes become the norm, a new authority will be formally acknowledged: that of a politically correct establishment that intimidates those in government and dictates policy. This unelected and unaccountable authority will artificially impose its will upon the nation – and the symbols that represent it.

As seen on theblaze.com

  • MrRightWingDave

    Why can’t they just be happy with putting whoever’s face they want on postage stamps?

  • Santiano G.

    You make an interesting argument but wouldn’t putting “In God We Trust” on money during the cold qualify as “…turning dollar bills into the billboards and playthings of…politicians and bureaucrats who will change everything to promote their ideological agenda…”?

  • Anthony Rader

    You Americans have made the least amount of change possible on your bills than any other country I am aware of. In Canada, it seems there is always a change. Whenever there in a change in monarchy, which hasn’t happened that much, there is a change on the currency. Then there are changes in security, making the bills harder to counterfeit, and now they are made of a plastic material, making them harder to counterfeit and more durable. The monarch is on one side of the bills with Canadian themes on the other. These are pictures of life and scenery in Canada. These bills seem to change on a regular basis as technology and events arise. From a Canadian’s perspective, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing although it can be. To my knowledge, you have no pictures of women or blacks on any of your bills although you have certainly honoured them in your history. So, political correctness aside, maybe it’s time you did. After all, your country isn’t made up of all white males is it? It’s still money no matter who is on it.

    • Let’s begin with the most populous victim interest groups. Women then Muslims, disabled persons, black persons, homosexuals, native Americans, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, Shintos, Jews, Kurds, Jains, Yazidis, etc. Maybe a waiting list to be rotated?

      • Anthony Rader

        Really?

        • Why not? Must have a orderly system of change, I mean transformation, no?

    • Holy smokes

      Your point about the Queen supports Horvat´s argument. Canadian money always has the Queen because she is the political authority of the common wealth. If the treasury decides to supplant the Queen with a non authoritarian personage on your money maybe John´s argument becomes pertinent.

      • Anthony Rader

        You make an interesting point about putting figures of political authority on currency but it isn’t always true. There are many countries who celebrate their artists writers and heroes, be they men or women by placing them on their money. I understand Canada will soon join that group. Maybe Ms. Tubmann could occupy the back of the bill rather than surplant the president.

  • A. A.

    “[Aristotle] made it clear that it is the will of a political authority that makes money what it is.” Yikes! Money is simply a generally accepted medium of exchange, and as such, needs only an organically-developed pattern of usage. Intertwining money and political authority leads to worthless fiat money that we now have in abundance.