Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Giving Thomas Jefferson the Business: The Jefferson-Hemings Hoax
A Different Drummer/Middle American News ^ | December, 2003 | Nicholas Stix

Posted on 12/16/2003 11:18:44 AM PST by mrustow

click here to read article


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-100101-150151-200201-214 next last
To: Flux Capacitor
Ah yes, Annette Gordon-Reed....

Remember C-SPAN's excellent AMERICAN PRESIDENTS series? They did right by most of the Founding Fathers, going into fascinating detail about their lives and presidencies.... but when it came time to do the show on Jefferson, they brought in Annette Gordon-Reed and spent THE ENTIRE TWO HOURS debating whether the 3rd President had a kid with one of his slaves. A tragic waste of a show.

-Dan

Veddy interesting. Gordon-Reed is apparently quite the self-promoter. (She's also not too hard on the eyes, which never hurt.) It also helps when few people in academia have the cojones to call one's bluff.

151 posted on 12/17/2003 5:45:56 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
I've always been a Jefferson fan (although sometimes a critical one). Years before any of this was popular, I read Dumas Malone's massive six volume Thomas Jefferson, which dealt with the Hemmings matter rather straighforwardly in an appendix, and concluded that some Jefferson male, probably Randolph, had fathered the Hemmings children. Either Randolph or a nephew (also a possibility) was a nortorious rake-hell and generally rumored to cut a wide swath among the slave women. The further interesting fact, and a possible reason why Jefferson freed Hemmings and her progeny in his will, is that she may well have been an illegitimate daughter of Jefferson's wife, Martha's father (making her a half-sister to Martha).

I recently read that on his deathbed, Dumas Malone is supposed to have said that he thought that Jefferson might have had a go with Hemings once or twice, but not as an ongoing thing.

Then came the report in 1997 -- knowing the story well, I wondered why the authors discounted the possibility of Randolph being the culprit, as the DNA did not in any way point directly to Jefferson, just to a Jefferson familiy male. The DNA would have been complicated, also, if it is true that Hemmings and Jefferson's wife Martha shared the same father.

So, I was much relieved to read the 2000 blue ribbon scholars report, which I commend to anyone intrested. I remain convinced Thomas Jefferson was not responsible for Sally Hemmings children.

I honestly don't know, and doubt we ever will, who the father of hemings' children was. But one thing I do know. If you are going to overturn generations of accepted scholarship, then you must have stronger evidence on behalf of your theory, than that of the proponents of the conventional view. The Hemings Party has provided no stronger, new evidence on behalf of their theory.

I don't think the members of the Hemings Party give a damn about the truth. I think their attitude is no different than that of black New Yorkers who periodically get letters published in the local dailies saying, "All I know is that George Washington owned slaves, so I will never respect anything he did." All is fair, in dealing with dead white male slave owners.

Related to the above-mentioned racial contempt is a form of affirmative action/reparations, whereby the accomplishments of the Founding Fathers are transferred to (read: stolen by) blacks. A spate of articles and books have appeared of late that make Jefferson's slaves the focus of life at Monticello. I expect to soon read that all of Jefferson's inventions, ideas, etc. actually were "stolen" from his slaves.

152 posted on 12/17/2003 6:11:38 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: elbucko
...liberal historians Joseph Ellis and Eric Lander, sought to exploit the hoax, to rescue the authors’ sexually compromised hero, Bill Clinton.

IMO, the motive for the entire expose` was to lower Jefferson down to Bill Clinton's level in an attempt to protect Clinton. Considering Clinton and the group he rode in on, it's to be expected of them. As for Jefferson, I don't care if he fathered no slaves or twenty, it neither robs me of my respect for him, or breaks my faith in Jefferson's character.

I think you're right about many liberal white historians, but I believe that the black (and some white) academic pseudo-scholars have a more ambitious program, which involves the destruction of the legacy of all of the Founding Fathers.

153 posted on 12/17/2003 6:36:51 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
I expect to soon read that all of Jefferson's inventions, ideas, etc. actually were "stolen" from his slaves.

LOL! Much like Lenin and Stalin and other Russians were responsible for all of the inventions of, and advances in, modern science during the reign of the Bolseviks in Russia.

I agree with you that we cannot know with absolute certainty who fathered Hemings children (although I tend to think the preponderance of the evidence suggests it was not Thomas Jefferson) and absolutely agree that the Hemings Party is indifferent to truth. If they were not so, they would be satisfied with it being "a" Jefferson male who fathered Easton, which is all their new evidence shows. It could have been Randloph or his sons, or it could have been TJ. Based on eyewitness accounts of Randolph's behavior with slaves (and the fact all Hemings' children other than Thomas Woodson (a ?? child) were conceived in between Randolph's two marraiges) and his general reputation, Randolph seems the most likely candidate. To deny this is simply bad scholarship.

The paternity of the other Hemings children remains an open question, and the best evidence still points to the Carrs. Perhaps more research could follow up on Jefferson's daughter's comment that Jefferson was not present when Easton was concevied and determine with certainty whether Sally was somewhere other than Monticello during the time Jefferson was at Monticello in the summer of 1807.

While slavery was an abomination and a blot on white America, it was also white America that did away with slavery. I personally feel no guilt for the large slaveholdings of my forebears, especially for those of the forebear who freed his slaves in 1860 because, as a minister, he believd it unChristian to hold slaves. My Virginian forebears who were contemporaries of Jefferson were more modest folk, yeoman farmers with few, if any, slaves in Bedford County, who all answered the call of their natives state to fight for independence, some as officers, most as private soldiers. I have nothing but contempt for those who would tear down the achievements of the Founders on the basis of modern notions about racial justice.

154 posted on 12/17/2003 7:09:14 AM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo [Gallia][Germania][Arabia] Esse Delendam --- Select One or More as needed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 152 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
My own view is that the American Experiment is fully bound up in, and inseparable from, the English and Scottish (at least) Enlightentments and our 'conservative' values today are the values that were seen as liberal, even radical, in their day: individual liberty, economic liberty, and religious tolerance.

I believe that you are entirely correct in your view, and have underscored a key point. The ideas of Frances Hutcheson, Lord Kames, and their more illustrious adherents formed the intellectual foundation for the organization of American society, laws, and governance. Of course, tied to liberty, was a complementary belief in individual responsiblity (as you say, egalitarinism of opportunity). Jefferson, as the embodiment of these enlightenment principles, is therefore, the principle target of those who would have them devalued, debunked, and cast aside in favor of their own view of an enlighted society bound up in a much different philisophical tradition expoused by the Socialist, Marxists, et. al.

155 posted on 12/17/2003 7:13:20 AM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 148 | View Replies]

To: centurion316
Hear! Hear!

(or in more contemporary terms) What you said!!

156 posted on 12/17/2003 7:25:50 AM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo [Gallia][Germania][Arabia] Esse Delendam --- Select One or More as needed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 155 | View Replies]

To: cyborg
Didn't Benjamin Franklin have a child in illegitimacy too?

Yes and that was a real scandal. William Franklin went on to become the last Royal Governor of New Jersey and a notorious opponent of the Revolution.

The script of the musical 1776 has Ben refer to him as the "little bastard."

157 posted on 12/17/2003 7:27:20 AM PST by Tribune7 (David Limbaugh never said his brother had a "nose like a vacuum cleaner")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Servant of the 9
"Does it really matter?"

YES! It does matter. When will the blacks ever acknowlege that they are full of crap on this issue? Now they want to discount the Founding Fathers altogether in some school districts back east. They try to claim that they built America, not the whites. I don't however, see any black signers of the Declaration of Independence. Nor do I believe they had anything to do with the framing of the Constitution.

Blacks want the free ride of "Reparations", and to re-write history so that they play the major role in America's founding. Before you start thinking I'm racist, I'm of Irish descent and my people have been oppressed far longer than the blacks, but I am not out trying to change historical facts. Nor am I out looking for a handout. This crap about Jefferson and Hemmings is just that - CRAP! They are killing American history and that is all a part of the PC whoredom that liberal America has bought into.

158 posted on 12/17/2003 10:38:58 AM PST by Colt .45 (Cold War, Vietnam Era, Desert Storm Veteran - Pride in my Southern Ancestry!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
I have dealt with this same spurious claim about Jefferson in Civil War Reconstruction & Creating Hate In America Today & in correspondence with Lucian Truscott IV, over his efforts to ram this claim down the throat of Jefferson's other heirs, in Correspondence.

This, as the article you post suggests, is all part of an ongoing attack. Conservatives need to be aware of how this battle is being fought, not only for this issue, but to understand what is happening on a lot of other fronts in the ideological war as well.

William Flax

159 posted on 12/17/2003 10:53:50 AM PST by Ohioan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
Thanks for the post! The Adams Bio was the first bio of a founding father I have read in maybe twenty years. It is so odd to me that this was all so dry when I studied it in college and high school,,sort of what you did to get your grade, etc, and now is so intriguing to me. I am ordering the Malone books,,tell me, will they be as gripping as the Adams book {McCollough} or will they put me to sleep? I am now fascinated with Jefferson. What interested me is that Adams was alarmed by the events that unfolded during the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, etc and Jefferson was sanguine about these. I felt more in tune with Adams on that. And Jefferson seemed like such a paradox especiallly his constant spending and debt,,being from a Puritan background, the debt puzzled me. He seemed like a compulsive shopper and consumer, the constant rehab projects on his homes and even rented places. It was just odd to me. And his leaving his family for such long periods,,Adams did this to but Abigail was usually at home with the children. I also wondered if Jefferson had some sort of "woman problem",,he seemed to get these relationships with married women, sort of admiring, writiing letters etc, but never married again after his wife's death,,I know she made him promise not to but that doesn't resonate as the cause of his never remarrying.
160 posted on 12/17/2003 11:05:57 AM PST by cajungirl (no)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 148 | View Replies]

To: Ohioan
Thanks for the links. I read your eloquent article, but have yet to get to your correspondence. But I know what a devil Truscott is. He sought to force black non-descendants upon the Thomas Jefferson family association, thereby burying the real descendants in fraudulent, perpetual minority status, and destroying the Association. He has contempt for the truth and for established rules, and yet glories in the privileges that have been handed down to him by his ancestors almost as much as he glories in abusing those privileges and dishonoring those ancestors. In short, he's the perfect house Southerner for the Times.

"Yet hate begets hate, as ill will, malice."

161 posted on 12/17/2003 11:35:54 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 159 | View Replies]

To: cajungirl
Well, I found the Malone well-written and very interesting, but I was trained as an academic historian. Malone did win the Pulitzer for one of the volumes (at least) back when it meant something.

From your handle I'd guess you were a Southron like Jefferson, so your comment on Jefferson's financial problems and proclivities were somewhat surprising. I suppose if you're from a Puritan background it would seem strange. I think the most charitable thing that can be said here is the Jefferson's attitudes towards money were not atypical of his class and time. The British aristocracy, and the Virginia gentry in imitation, was typically land (and slave) rich, but cash poor. To conduct their lives at all, some sort of credit system of borrowing against future crops for both expenses and capital needs was almost essential. Jefferson's habits were expensive, but he was not, as were some of his peers, a compulsive gambler or rake-hell who spent his patrimony on fallen women. IIRC, when his father died, Jefferson inherited lands already heavily encumbered, and never worked his way out from under, indeed made it worse. As to his leaving his family, that, too, was not unusual in that period: men were often away (whether at sea or at war or for business) for years at a time. Jefferson could almost be considered a homebody by contemporary standards, except for the time he spent abroad or in Philadelphia and Washington in government service.

Jefferson's relations with women are not very clear. That he did not remarry is surprising, but, then, people took promises such as the one he made to Marth more seriously than we do today. Fascinating subject.

162 posted on 12/17/2003 11:46:59 AM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo [Gallia][Germania][Arabia] Esse Delendam --- Select One or More as needed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 160 | View Replies]

To: AdamSelene235
TJ originally hired Callender to print lies about Adams but since TJ was a chronic debtor he was unable to pay Callender for his "services". TJ also lied to his old friend Adams about his sponsorship of the slanders Callender wrote. When Jefferson refused to pay Callender, he retaliated by printing the TJ/slave story. DNA testing indicates a Jefferson male did in fact boink his slaves but it does not narrow it down to TJ himself. Given TJ's duplicitious deceptive nature, I wouldn't put it past him. Jefferson brought this on himself.

Wow! That's news to me. It gives the 200-year smear a tragic, karmic flavor. Do you have any sources re Jefferson's hiring of Callender for purposes of libel?

163 posted on 12/17/2003 11:52:53 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
I read about the subject in Joseph J. Ellis's Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.
164 posted on 12/17/2003 11:56:43 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (I always shoot for the moon......sometimes I hit London.- Von Braun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 163 | View Replies]

To: my_pointy_head_is_sharp
Here’s what is known: Thomas Jefferson owned a slave named Sally Hemings.

How much more likely then, that Jefferson fathered one of her children. If she lived on his property, it would have been very peculiar for other members of Jefferson's family to pay a visit to his slave. Can you just see them sneaking around back, on an ostensible visit to Jefferson - it just isn't plausible. And how would such a relationship with one of his relatives have been initiated? It just makes more sense that a relationship would have developed between Jefferson and his slave - though, with him being in a position of authority, how much of a relationship would that have been?

If you have any evidence for the "wouldas/couldas" you just posited, I'm all ears. But until then, I think we should respect the crucial distinction between historical possibility and historical fact.

165 posted on 12/17/2003 11:58:56 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: AdamSelene235
Thanks for the tip.
166 posted on 12/17/2003 11:59:42 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 164 | View Replies]

To: Jim Cane
Jesse Jackson is Richard Milhouse Nixon's illegitimate love child. Micheal Jackson, too!

ROTFL

167 posted on 12/17/2003 12:04:24 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: John Robertson

It matters. The truth always matters. Something is or it isn't,

and dissemblers and liars shouldn't be given a pass on manipulating a COUNTRY! The vast majority of Americans now think Thomas Jefferson indeed fathered kids with Sally Hemmings, and there is not yet conclusive proof of that. For those who would make political hay out of such a "fact," that national delusion is very useful. It matters.

Bump to that!

168 posted on 12/17/2003 12:06:31 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Publius
Thanks for the link. I downloaded the article for later study.
169 posted on 12/17/2003 12:08:22 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
Thanks again! Now that I see him in the context of his time I guess I am not so surprised. Except that Adams who was also a farmer, smaller than Jefferson however, hated debt, lived frugally and left money in his estate. From the Adams bio, Jefferson spent his money on books, furniture, art and maybe clothing. Anyhow, I guess leaving ones life in debt so that the heirs are encumbered just seems so alien to me even as a southerner. Jefferson seemed to just love to build, decorate, remodel and really loved to buy books. Not a bad thing.
170 posted on 12/17/2003 12:44:03 PM PST by cajungirl (no)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 162 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
Thanks. I just re-read what you excerpted, and realize that I was really riding a high horse there, wasn't I? But I also realize, such a ride is easier when you're right.
171 posted on 12/17/2003 12:53:56 PM PST by John Robertson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 168 | View Replies]

To: cajungirl
The cultural differences between the New Englanders, frugal merchants and yeoman farmers reared in a Puritan environment, even such a sophisticated man as Adams, and the typically Anglican gentry that constituted the educated and hence governing class in the Southern colonies, was as great as the cultural difference today between an Upper West Side of Manhattan graduate of Harvard, and the owner of small retail service business in Texas.

What is remarkable is that the submerged (but didn't completely put aside) their cultural and regional differences in the creating of the American Experiment, from the War of Independence through the adoption of the Constitution.

172 posted on 12/17/2003 12:56:21 PM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo [Gallia][Germania][Arabia] Esse Delendam --- Select One or More as needed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 170 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
Thank you for this post. DNA proves that Eston was the son of a Jefferson, but WHICH Jefferson cannot be answered without DNA from the mother, father, and offspring--none of which were tested. If they want to go to the trouble of exhuming all three and THEN conclude that Tom fathered Sally's littlest boy--fine. Until then, they are making an exact science into pseudo-science and rewriting history with a political agenda.
173 posted on 12/17/2003 1:01:11 PM PST by MHT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
But I know what a devil Truscott is.

Truscott, or, as his West Point classmates knew him: "Louce the Douce", has made a career of this sort of behavior. He was thrown out of the Army for his outrageous conduct at this first duty assignment, Ft. Carson. He would have been court-martialed, except for the reputation of his father and grand-father. He wore this as a badge of honor, claiming to have courageously stood up in opposition to the Vietnam warfare. Truth is that he was both a coward and a traitor, and totally devoid of honor.

He caused quite a scene when he strolled into his Class 10-year reunion dinner at West Point - barefoot in Black Tie with some Greenwich Village cutie on his arm. But, like many others on the Left - its got to be all about him.

174 posted on 12/17/2003 1:03:53 PM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 161 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
It is remarkable. I loved the part of the Adams bio when the author described the Virginians riding into Philadelphia on grand horses with their appearance being that of princes. The Philadelphians were amazed with them, they were like grand royalty. I loved that. Adams was so different and he and Jefferson were close for years. That is amazing to me. And I do believe Abigail was fascinated and attracted to Jefferson until she turned on him for being so backstabbing to Adams. Abigail added immensely to Adam's life, a shame Jefferson didn't have the same influence.
175 posted on 12/17/2003 1:30:19 PM PST by cajungirl (no)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 172 | View Replies]

To: centurion316
I met Truscott socially in NYC in the early '80s. He was a regular in the old Lion's Head pub, a place with a certain following among the soused literati A rather self-important fellow, I thought, certainly not up to the family standards.
176 posted on 12/17/2003 1:41:51 PM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo [Gallia][Germania][Arabia] Esse Delendam --- Select One or More as needed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 174 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
About the same time when I last saw him. He certainly considers himself among the literati, but I think that your first impression is more accurate.
177 posted on 12/17/2003 3:19:34 PM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 176 | View Replies]

To: John Robertson
Thanks. I just re-read what you excerpted, and realize that I was really riding a high horse there, wasn't I? But I also realize, such a ride is easier when you're right.

Exactly.

178 posted on 12/17/2003 4:56:49 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 171 | View Replies]

To: MHT
Thank you for this post. DNA proves that Eston was the son of a Jefferson, but WHICH Jefferson cannot be answered without DNA from the mother, father, and offspring--none of which were tested. If they want to go to the trouble of exhuming all three and THEN conclude that Tom fathered Sally's littlest boy--fine. Until then, they are making an exact science into pseudo-science and rewriting history with a political agenda.

My pleasure. It's weird when you consider what revolutionary strides real science has made in the past 50 years alone, and then see that in the social sciences, and the application of science to social controversies (e.g., DNA testing), we are marching backwards.

179 posted on 12/17/2003 5:00:34 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 173 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
Truth or hoax, it's all part of the GLORIOUS AMERICAN MOSAIC!!!! (another part which is that intersection where
tabloid journalism meets "historical scholarship").
180 posted on 12/18/2003 2:40:49 PM PST by willyboyishere (HE)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: willyboyishere
Oh, that's nice. And of course, we post-Americans have left anachronisms like "historical truth" in the dustbin of, er, um, ... pre-post-Americanism.
181 posted on 12/18/2003 4:25:14 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 180 | View Replies]

To: Ohioan
I just read your correspondence with the man who has been "a published author for 33 years," blah blah blah, been on Oprah, blah blah blah ...

Well, one thing's for sure. Truscott is narcissistic enough to drown ten men. And there's really no substitute for family connections, since none of his blah blah blah would otherwise have come about. "Fatuous" is the word!

I notice that he emphasized the story about the elderly Sally Hemings tending to Jefferson's grave three times a week, being from the Hemings family oral tradition. I think we can thus safely discount the story, as a prop fashioned to hold up the myth that she was Jefferson's lover. Keep in mind, that Truscott is at best indifferent to the truth. He's just interested in whatever will support the story he's peddling, so that he can continue playing the Great White Father.

182 posted on 12/18/2003 4:51:28 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 159 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
Tell me what I got wrong. It could be any of 25 Jefferson men. She worked for TJ, went to Paris with him and so on. So he either is the father or he pimped her out to his family.
183 posted on 12/18/2003 4:53:38 PM PST by breakem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yankhater
ping
184 posted on 12/18/2003 5:09:06 PM PST by sultan88 ("But after I've been cryin' all night, the sun is cold and the new day seems old")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: breakem
The whole story revolves around the Jefferson in Paris myth: he seduced the young girl in Paris, got her pregnant, and she bore his child shortly after their return. Except that she was not pregnant with any child of his upon her return from Paris, and apparently wasn't pregnant at all at the time.

If the pillars that held up the "big house" have collapsed, there is no reason to try and resurrect the structure.

Your dichotomy is false. Slave girls got pregnant all the time, without their masters necessarily having slept with them, or having "pimped [them] out."

185 posted on 12/18/2003 5:12:44 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 183 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
We'll he owned her and he or one of his relatives is the father. So his relatives came in and did the deed with her in his home and TJ didn't know. Was this because he was out of town and his relatives had free run of the house...........slaves.

The scenario where he doesn't know doesn't seem very gentrified to me, thus my two choices.

186 posted on 12/18/2003 5:15:36 PM PST by breakem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 185 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
Devastating expose of one of the biggest race hoaxes in recent years.

It's not a hoax; the DNA tests were conclusive. Moreover, I can't picture how something like that amounts to any sort of a "smear" against Jefferson. The only people in the picture deserving of "smearing" are a number of neo-antebellum southern "historians" who apparently are still in denial over it.

187 posted on 12/18/2003 5:16:13 PM PST by greenwolf
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: greenwolf
Devastating expose of one of the biggest race hoaxes in recent years.

It's not a hoax; the DNA tests were conclusive.

Of course it's a hoax. The DNA tests were only conclusive in disconfmirming that any Jefferson male was the father of slave Thomas C. Woodson, who is the main pillar of the story. And so, anyone who claims that DNA tests proved Thomas Jefferson was the father of any of Sally Hemings' children, is perpetuating the hoax. The author of the original story, later admitted that it was inaccurate.

It's also a hoax, because documentary evidence was deliberately altered, in order to support the paternity claim. And it's a hoax, because supporters of the paternity claim have harassed and race-baited anyone failing to roll over. And it's a hoax, because supporters of the paternity claim have used different rules of evidence for adjudging claims supporting their story, than they have for adjudging claims that contradict their story.

Moreover, I can't picture how something like that amounts to any sort of a "smear" against Jefferson.

I can't either, but it clearly functions as one for the hoaxers.

The only people in the picture deserving of "smearing" are a number of neo-antebellum southern "historians" who apparently are still in denial over it.

I don't know which historians you are referring to, or why you use scare-quotes, when it is the hoaxers who are pseudo-historians.

BTW, did you bother reading the article through?

188 posted on 12/18/2003 5:31:22 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 187 | View Replies]

To: breakem
My impression is that he wasn't the most hands-on master (no pun intended!).
189 posted on 12/18/2003 5:32:47 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 186 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
LOL! Well we know he wasn't at home a lot. Just thought the relatives might discuss this presumptous use of his property.
190 posted on 12/18/2003 5:35:01 PM PST by breakem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 189 | View Replies]

To: breakem
I think there was an awful lot in those days, that was pointedly NOT discussed, among family members.
191 posted on 12/19/2003 11:25:27 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 190 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
Speaking of self-important, check out the link to "correspondence" in #159!
192 posted on 12/19/2003 11:28:38 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 176 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
not so much as a "by your leave?" not very gentlemanly. LOL!
193 posted on 12/19/2003 11:30:30 AM PST by breakem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 191 | View Replies]

To: tcuoohjohn
I guess they can find some strained method to question the DNA evidence or come up with a very convoluted and tortured explanation for it. But is you put Occam's Razor to the question it isn't all that complex.

I don't see how Occam's Razor is going to help you to join the Hemings Party. The Hemings Party has adduced no evidence that Thomas was the father; hence, there is no reason to accept the radical, new theory that Thomas was the father. (And you can't call it an old theory, because Callender was merely a libelist.)

It would not destroy Jefferson's legacy, were it true, but the Hemings Party certainly does aim to "libel" Jefferson (legally, you can't libel a dead man). Why they think that would discredit him is a matter of their particular political psychopathology.

194 posted on 12/19/2003 11:36:01 AM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
Nice summary.

And thanks for the other tip. LOL!

195 posted on 12/19/2003 12:21:33 PM PST by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo [Gallia][Germania][Arabia] Esse Delendam --- Select One or More as needed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 188 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
The key to the issue is the preponderance of evidence standard. While it does not meet the " beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that isn't the historical standard used. Jefferson is not on trial ( though by the agonized writhings of the far right and far left on this issue you would swear that they have Jefferson in the dock.)

Given the historical record and contemporary DNA evidence one thing we know for absolute certainty. Someone in the Jefferson clan was the genetic contributor to one or more of Sally Hemmings children. Given that fact, you are faced with deciding who was the most likely to be that contributor. Given the frequency of access, the kinship relationship of Jefferson's widow to Sally Hemmings and comparing it to frequency of access of other possible candidates it is, on balance,most likely that Thomas Jefferson was that genetic contributor. This does not exclude other possibilites but is based on a "most likely standard". The distinction is the diffrence between words probability and possibility.

As an editorial comment I don't think Jefferson is any greater or lesser as a result of this probability. Those on the tub thumping left would have you believe that Jefferson was something lesser as result ( hypocrite, racist, rapist yadda..yadda.), while those on the sanctimous right are outraged at the suggestion that Jefferson probably fathered one or more of Hemming's children. ( He was a secular God who would never deign to stoop so low as to have sex with a mulatto women yadda yadda).

Jefferson was a man. He was a man of his time and operated under the social strictures and patterns of behavior of his time. He was a widower who owned a woman who was his dead wife's half sister.She gave birth to a son who ancestors bear the distinct genetic markers of the Jefferson family. Now given those facts who do you believe is the mostly likely genetic contributor?

If they stripped out the name Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings and its historical implications and substituted Josephus L Smith and Suzie Q. Brown the analysis of probablity becomes much more easy. It is less fraught with the biases and expectations of the observers.
196 posted on 12/19/2003 1:57:10 PM PST by tcuoohjohn (Follow The Money)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 194 | View Replies]

To: tcuoohjohn
The key to the issue is the preponderance of evidence standard. While it does not meet the " beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that isn't the historical standard used. Jefferson is not on trial ( though by the agonized writhings of the far right and far left on this issue you would swear that they have Jefferson in the dock.)

Now, I don't have a dog in this hunt, as far as being a Jefferson-worshiper or hater, though I do tend to believe that (with rare exceptions) any one of the Founding Fathers had more character in his little finger, than all of his contemporary, pc detractors have in their entire bodies and souls. Then again, we're talking sex here.

You and I have some seriously incompatible standards, so we may have to simply agree to disagree. You speak of "probability" and of "the preponderance of evidence standard." Now, while I'm insufficiently corrupt to be an academic historian, I have conducted some historical research here and there (unsoiled by academic interference), and done some work on philosophy (of the social sciences, physical sciences, etc.), which I hope you won't hold against me.

History doesn't work based on probability or preponderance of evidence (civil court standard). It doesn't even work based on "beyond a reasonable doubt" (criminal court standard). You wouldn't happen to be a civil attorney, would you?

David Hume came up with a standard for the examination of claims of miracles, that I believe applies perfectly to radical, new social scientific and educational claims. I believe it works for all three so well, because the three types of claims have the same structure. In each case, someone makes an experiential claim that contradicts all commonly known experience based on the senses and scientific laws. The miracle claimiant would have us suspend all experience and scientific laws, and give him the benefit of the doubt. But as Hume argues, someone making miraculous claims must be held not to a lower standard of proof, but to a much higher one, if we are to trash all prior experience and science, on his behalf.

The Hemings Party demands that we throw overboard everything we know about Thomas Jefferson, and accept their miraculous claims. But those claims fall apart under scrutiny. Hence, we have no reason to accept them. And we certainly have no reason to accept the rules of inquiry the Hemings Party would foist upon us.

197 posted on 12/19/2003 6:07:50 PM PST by mrustow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 196 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
No...I'm not a civil attorney but perhaps their influence has become apparent over the years. I am a forensic accountant and work with civil attorneys in the preparation of suits arising out of fraud and malfeasance. Perhaps they have stained my thinking through the years.

In this issue I strive to stick to the issue of probablities versus cultural assumptions arising out of myth, politics, race or hero worship. Jefferson is one of my heroes based upon his intellect, vision, and decency. If there was ever a man with an inherent concept of noblesse oblige it was Jefferson. It is imcumbent upon me to divorce myself form my admiration of Jefferson. But as you say, Jefferson was also a man and subject to the same passions and digressions from some idealized path as other men of great and lesser character.

I do object to the phrase " The Hemming's Party" which tends to clearly telegraph the position long before the analysis. A kind of verbal variant of the Texas Sharpshooter effect. Much like those who assert that Jefferson is absolutely and incontrovertibly the father of Hemming's child, those who absolutely deny the probability, (or in some case even the possibility) that Jefferson is the father of Hemming's child use much the same process. Each draws his target around the requisite number of bullets to score the appropriate and specious bulls eye.

I've a colleague who has coined what he humorously calls " The Man Fron Planet Borgon Approach" In any issue that is larded with vested interest or close held belief he suggests you hand it off to a notional " Man From Borgon". The man from Borgon has no experience with the culture, history or values of the question at hand. You hand him the data as it is and let him count and then give a summation of the probabilities. He isn't black, white, liberal or conservative, He's a Borgonian. In fact he hasn't clue what the hell the issue is about merely that he has been asked to decide. He most assuredly "has no dog in this hunt". The Man from Planet Borgon doesn't even know what a dog is.

Now...It is my opinion that The Man from Planet Borgon would come to the reasonable conclusion that on the totality of the evidence it is more likely than not that Jefferson was the father of one or more of Hemming's children. While it is difficult to put some numerical expression to that likelyhood I would put it at about 70% I do not exclude the possibility that some other Jefferson relative was the father. I put that possibility as significantly less at 30%.

While that may seem subjective it is, to some degree, based upon some familiarity with the data. It has to do with number of total access days of each of the possibles. While Randolph is often bruited as the " real father" and it is possible, his total number of access days in the requisite period are extremely limited.

There you have it..

Jefferson is still my hero and all's right in the cosmos.
198 posted on 12/19/2003 7:16:41 PM PST by tcuoohjohn (Follow The Money)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 197 | View Replies]

To: mrustow
I know Lucian Truscott (the IV). Lucian Truscott is NO friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Lucian Truscott.
199 posted on 12/19/2003 7:42:17 PM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 182 | View Replies]

To: tcuoohjohn
The key to the issue is the preponderance of evidence standard.

The problem with your argument is that it is too reasonable to stand any chance in the present political climate. As Herbert Barger so naively discovered when asked to help find the genetic markers for this study - those interested in this subject are not involved in a search for the truth. They have an agenda. That agenda is only served by Thomas Jefferson being adjudged as the father of one or more of Sally Heming's children. They do not care that others might be culpable, and that any scientifically credible conclusion would point out all of the probabilities. No, they are only interested in jumping to the conclusion that suits their agenda.

I have no objection to the reasonable approach that you champion - your arguments are rational, are supported by the facts as we know them, and help shed light on this complex issue. But, your argument is of no interest to those who have advanced this debate. They will only accept one conclusion, facts, statistics, and truth be damned.

200 posted on 12/19/2003 8:03:50 PM PST by centurion316
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 196 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-100101-150151-200201-214 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson