Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Replacing Grant on the $50 Bill

Nate DiMeo has an interesting idea. Ulysses S. Grant was an effective general, and a nice guy, but an ineffective President. Boot him off and replace him with Frederick Douglass:

But setting the power of the actual image aside, Douglass is the man for the moment because he embodies a different kind of American power. It's a community organizer's power, in a way. He built constituencies. He went door to door, if only metaphorically. As an essayist, as a self-aware symbol, as a speaker, as a (nonregistered) lobbyist, Douglass moved the country toward an anti-slavery position. One could argue that the story of Harriet Tubman did the same thing or that, in its way, the storytelling of Harriet Beecher Stowe did, too, but Douglass was there at the center of a most critical and hallowed chapter in America's past. Recruiting African-American soldiers. Glad-handing politicians and then forcing theirs. Persuading the president to become the Great Emancipator. Pushing America to live up to its creed. That kind of track record is hard to argue against on a Sunday-morning roundtable.

Born into slavery, self-educated to high erudition, he held America up to its own rhetoric on liberty. He'd be a fine choice for the face of America.


BruceA said...

In principle I like the idea. I'd be more inclined to support putting Douglass on the $20 in place of the genocidal Andrew Jackson, but that's just my opinion.

John said...

Hmm. Well, Andrew Jackson was hardly the model of a humanitarian leader.

The Ironic Catholic said...

I like it!