Monday, January 9, 2017

Taking Back Thomas Jefferson

 Jefferson peale
“There is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1826, days before death

It is now accepted as a fact that one of the preeminent Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson – the Apostle of Liberty and Reason – engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings, by whom he bore up to six children. Thus, it is considered a fact that Jefferson was either a hypocrite who esteemed virtue and family while having an affair, a tyrant who abused a young woman in his power, or some brew of both. The transformation of official opinion is captured in the two editions of historian Joseph J. Ellis’ American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson.

In the first edition, Ellis argues that “we can never know” whether there was an affair, though he believes the possibility is “remote” and based upon “flimsy and wholly circumstantial evidence.” In the second edition, however, Ellis repudiates his previous position. “The likelihood of a long-standing sexual relationship between Jefferson and Sally can never be proven absolutely,” claims Ellis, “but it is now proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” In fact, nothing of the sort has been proven. If anything has been proven, it is that Jefferson’s detractors are – and always have been – unscrupulous and shameless.

15 comments:

  1. i have always been suspicious about these claims. When someone makes a claim 100 years or more after the fact or a claim for which there is no evidence, suspicion is the correct course of action.

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    1. The last I heard they believe it was his brother though whatever the truth it bothers me not one iota. I believe this has happened in my family also but so far have been unable to prove it.

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    2. Even the "it was his brother" is wishful thinking. The advocates claim they have DNA evidence. But DNA isn't a magic wand. It is based on a lot of assumptions. Demonstrating similarity does not prove connection.

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    3. Yes, but I had a test done for a daughter and it was quite interesting.

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  2. It was a narrative designed by Frankfort school Marxists to disparage the reputation of the founding fathers. It seems to be a full time job of the journalists and educators to dismiss a unique group of men who put together a well functioning republic...now if we can keep it. indyjoneouthere

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  3. I am glad I learned history before it became important to tear don American heros

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    1. All were warned that after assaulting all things Confederate, they would go after the Founders.

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    2. Before computers and when I lived in CA, I hired a NC lady to research the body servant of my g uncle, Needham Leach forward and she found the present day descendants of Needham! One of them lived close to me in CA and the others are still in Pittsboro.
      We've visited often and met my black Aunt Dixie who was named after my Great Aunt Dixie and a Cousin Dixie who is still alive and kicking in Pittsboro. I could not have been any happier. This was on my mothers side so I couldn't use my DNA and I could not get a male to do it on the Leach side. The reason I wanted this done so much was:

      1. There was no slave listed in the 1860 census of Needham's age.
      2. My gg grandfather would not have sent his eldest son off to war with a new, untested slave.
      3. Needham is mentioned many times in letters home and he traveled back and forth between Virginia and NC obtaining provisions for my great uncle and grandfather.
      4. He walked home from Appomattox with my great grandfather.
      5. When he was married some years later, my gg grandfather traveled a long way to be a witness at his wedding.
      http://www.namsouth.com/viewtopic.php?t=94&highlight=appomattox

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  4. Actually I was not aware of the trashing of Confederate heroes either. The trashing of the founding fathers and Confederate heroes I think started around the same period after I left California to learn in NY. However I admit that the Confederacy received less attention in my US History classes than it deserved.

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  5. I was learning US history in around 1971 or 1972. We did Andrew Jackson and I do recall that there was criticism on him but mainly the history course consisted of reading original documents from all different periods of US history. There simply was very little room to revise anything since we ha to read the original sources.

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  6. I was a junior in high school but I was taking AP history. circa 1972. I did not do well.

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