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Why Is Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill?

In 2020, on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, abolitionist heroine Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the twenty-dollar bill. Historians think that Old Hickory wouldn’t mind being replaced, since in his lifetime he railed against paper currency and advocated a strict adherence to the gold standard, where the supply of dollars in circulation is tied to the physical amount of gold held by the government. Jackson first appeared on the $20 bill (also known as a "double-sawbuck") in 1928, which was the 100th anniversary of his election as president. His likeness replaced Grover Cleveland’s face on the bill that year. Cleveland’s portrait was moved to the new $1,000 bill the same year.

XX marks the spot:

  • The twenty was called a “double sawbuck” because X, the Roman numeral for 10, looked like the legs of a sawbuck, a device for holding wood being cut into pieces. The term has since faded from the lexicon.

  • In 2013, the average circulation life of a $20 bill was 7.9 years.

  • As seventh president of the United States, Jackson ordered the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans in what became known as the Trail of Tears.

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