Should U.S. Grant Be Removed from the $50 Bill?

U.S. Grant 50 bill

As you’ve probably heard by now, the U.S. Treasury has announced that it will begin putting Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill while relegating Andrew Jackson to the back of the bill (which I find odd for multiple reasons). As soon as the news came out a friend on Facebook announced that he was ready to see none other than Ulysses S. Grant up for removal from the $50 bill, citing his allegedly weak Presidency and his ownership of a slave, William Jones, for a period of time in the 1850s. Although Grant has been on the $50 Federal Reserve note since they were first printed in 1914, calls to remove Grant have occurred in the past. In both 2005 and 2010 a minority of Republican legislators called for Ronald Reagan to be placed on the $50, but both proposals died fairly early in the legislative process.

So I ask you, dear readers: Is it time for Grant to go? You tell me.

Cheers

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5 responses

  1. General and President US Grant should stay on the $50 bill. General Grant and his army of westerners were the sword and soldiers of President Lincoln. He marched the Army of Union and Freedom through Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi defeating two rebel armies and freeing thousands of slaves . Lincoln established a noble policy and Grant marched his Army to enact this policy.
    When US Grant was a broke failure selling fire wood for a living in St Louis in about 1859 he probably inherited a slave from his wife’s family. He freed that slave without comment. This reflects that he was man of deed, not talk.
    Keep General Grant on the $50 bill.
    Stan Hurder, Cleveland TN

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Stan. We’re not really sure whether Grant received William Jones as a gift from his Father-in-Law or if he purchased Jones from him. But the fact that he freed Jones is notable given that other famous Americans who were slaveholders that have been commemorated on our currency never took that step with their own enslaved people.

  2. The slaveowning issue is a red-herring, brought up to get folks to contemplate (and get angry about) removing George Washington from the dollar bill. (Frankly, I think we should get rid of the $1 bill—replace it w/ a coin—but that is another argument.)

    1. Part of me wonders if it’s even necessary to have our currency adorned with historical figures.

      1. It’s not, except for the we’ve-always-done-it-that-way argument.

        I really think we’d be better off doing what some other countries do, which is to change the designs every few years. Lord knows, we’ve got plenty of worthwhile people in our history to choose from.

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