Reagan on the $20 Bill?

Sean Hackbarth argues that Ronald Reagan should replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, rather than Alexander Hamilton on the $10 as previously suggested.

I know my early 19th Century American history is really rusty, but other than killing the national bank, telling John Calhoun to stick it, and winning the Battle of New Orleans after the War of 1812 was in essence over what make him deserve the currency honor more than Reagan?

I would argue that Sean greatly understates Jackson’s contributions at New Orleans. In 1959, the imminent historian John Gale Horton published a first person account, relying on primary source materials, which summarized the conflict thusly:

In Eighteen-fourteen, we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in a town in New Orleans

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We looked down the river and we seed the British come
And there must have been a hunnered of ’em beatin’ on the drum
They stepped so high and they made the bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales and didn’t say a thing

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Old Hick’ry said we could take ’em by surprise
If we didn’t fire our muskets till we looked ’em in the eye
We held our fire till we seed their faces well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave ’em…

Well, we fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind!

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

So, not only did they defeat a superior foe using asymmetric warfare techniques, fight the elements, and encounter dangerous wildlife, but Jackson was an early exponent of the Adkins diet.

FILED UNDER: Humor
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. As I commented before, Jackson was President. Hamilton’s fame is attributed to appointed positions (the reason he is on our currency in the first place is because he was the first Sec Treasury). I think Hamilton is an incredibly fascinating person who pulled himself up by his bootstraps, but if we are going to replace anyone on our currency, I think cabinent members are removed before Presidents are, no matter how bad someone thinks they are. I would even vote off my favorite cabinet person (Rummie!) in favor of my least admired president (Clinton?).

    Besides, you want someone who LOST a duel on our currency? (yeah, yeah, he shot in the air – the honerable thing, but Burr was contemptable and he should have shot the #$@hole)

  2. James, my mistake. Anyone who foretold the benefits of eating mass quantites of meat deserves his mug on the $20. Just ditch Sacajawea on the dollar coin and replace her with The Gipper. Then people might actually want to use the coin.

  3. Cam says:

    Apparently Jackson advocated turning alligators into living cannon balls, however. That’s a little odd.