There’s no argument with Barry Peel’s castigation of Andrew Jackson, though making it a case for updating currency to political correctness mode trivializes his point of reference, the mistreatment of Native Americans. That’s a mistaken appellation since Peel likely has no idea who inhabited North America (native-native Americans) before the Indians dislodged them.
A long article in the current Weekly Standard took on Jackson, too, though it had to do more with his political shenanigans, like forestalling a banking system. He was ruthless, but no more so than current politicians and hardly more coarse. The Indians were as treacherous and genocide-prone as any group, such as the Africans, who in the 1600-1800s, after winning tribal wars, either ate, enslaved, tortured or sold the losers or their families to slave traders.
In other words, history is if anything an account of the survival of the fittest. The primitives have always been at the mercy of those who are inclined toward inventing or grabbing things that make them able to overcome either their enemies or just folks who had something they wanted. Current example: ISIS predicates its success on committing terrorism, using implements of destruction taken from their owners.
The Persians (Iran ancestors) comprised an advanced culture/civilization before the time of Mohammad, an illiterate cutthroat who established a religion in Egypt after being the caravan-plundering edition of Jesse James. That “faith” made its way to Persia and throughout the Middle East and all the way to Spain before being stopped there in Europe in the 1400s. The sorry situation worldwide today because of Islamic terrorism is obvious.
A culture either advances or stagnates and then begins a gradual dissolution. The result is that the more fit will take it over. This is what happened with Jackson and the Trail of Tears — guns against bows and arrows — and is largely the reason Peel is writing columns in Kentucky instead of hiding from a scalper.
As far as the current situation is concerned, Peel would likely prefer the Lexington of today over that of Daniel Boone’s era — education, sanitation, law and order, representative government instead of tribal face-offs. He might prefer driving 70 mph in an air-conditioned car over the care, feeding and general upkeep of a horse.
If Jackson hadn’t dealt harshly with the Indians, some other person-of-power would have, perhaps the most graphic and easily proven lesson of history. If the colonists had not booted the British (French, too), either of those worthies would have done in the Indians and worried about it a lot less than Jackson.
Is this “fair?” Of course not, just history.
As for the currency, it should include imprints or engravings (if perceived as necessary) of U.S. officials only. The currency should not comprise a museum of sorts for individuals who have been important in affecting government but not effecting government.
Jackson — like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt — was a president. Trying to means-test him off the currency is both mean-spirited and shallow. Rewriting history is beneath contempt.
James L. Clark of Lexington is a retired railroad engineer.
At issue: May 2 commentary by Barry Peel, “Andrew Jackson’s legacy of genocide, division unworthy”