Skip to comments.The Monster of Monticello (NYT on Jefferson)
Posted on 12/02/2012 2:05:32 PM PST by nickcarraway
THOMAS JEFFERSON is in the news again, nearly 200 years after his death alongside a high-profile biography by the journalist Jon Meacham comes a damning portrait of the third president by the independent scholar Henry Wiencek.
We are endlessly fascinated with Jefferson, in part because we seem unable to reconcile the rhetoric of liberty in his writing with the reality of his slave owning and his lifetime support for slavery. Time and again, we play down the latter in favor of the former, or write off the paradox as somehow indicative of his complex depths.
Neither Mr. Meacham, who mostly ignores Jeffersons slave ownership, nor Mr. Wiencek, who sees him as a sort of fallen angel who comes to slavery only after discovering how profitable it could be, seem willing to confront the ugly truth: the third president was a creepy, brutal hypocrite.
Contrary to Mr. Wienceks depiction, Jefferson was always deeply committed to slavery, and even more deeply hostile to the welfare of blacks, slave or free. His proslavery views were shaped not only by money and status but also by his deeply racist views, which he tried to justify through pseudoscience.
There is, it is true, a compelling paradox about Jefferson: when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, announcing the self-evident truth that all men are created equal, he owned some 175 slaves. Too often, scholars and readers use those facts as a crutch, to write off Jeffersons inconvenient views as products of the time and the complexities of the human condition.
But while many of his contemporaries, including George Washington, freed their slaves during and after the revolution inspired, perhaps, by the words of the Declaration Jefferson did not. Over the subsequent 50 years, a period of extraordinary public service, Jefferson remained the master
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
So his writings about slavery being an abomination and his inclusion of abolition in the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence, fit in how, exactly?
Heretofore, the left was content to ignore our history and the founding fathers.
Now, in the interest of the Communist agenda, it has become necessary to demean and degrade them.
This is pure propaganda...of the worst kind.
Jefferson was a bit of a screwball.
I respect Jefferson’s intellect, but I lost some respect for how he and Madison screwed over George Washington & to a lesser extent Hamilton.
how about come to the conclusion that for a lot of people at the time, owning a slave was not a big deal and not worth much thought??
slavery existed everywhere and all through history after all
Including December 2012. Less in this hemisphere than in another.
You are onto something there, that is exactly the next shoe to fall in the race to dismantle our history. I guess they looked at Rushmore and figured it would be easist to replace Jefferson with the IWON.
I have said he belongs on Mt. Rushmore, in a 747 going about 650MPH would be just about right.
There is great danger in judging historical figures by today’s “moral” standards.
Even half-wits would be embarrassed to be seen with a copy of the NYT.
CBS Sunday Morning did a piece today that took him apart pretty good. Usually we go through this when the powers that be need us to think our current feckless leaders are no worse than Tom and the gang. Probably cliff or total collapse related.
I've no doubt that the next four years will see a "blitz" effort to degrade and demean our history.
These people are playing for real...they are close to winning it all...and they will expend everything in an effort to kill capitalism and liberty for all time.
This is war. It is for blood -- for the nation's soul.
Given current circumstances, I would volunteer to be a slave for Jefferson right now, if he and the ideals he believed in were still alive.
Will it take 200 years to find that out about Hussein?
Exactly. History will not be favorable to Dear Leader. Jefferson was born into a world of slavery. Few people have ever achieved enlightenment from the worldview that they were born into. Jefferson struggled like we struggle today. How many people currently receiving social security checks are railing against the government for getting involved in the retirement business?
The country needs an enema.
If the Sulzbergers and their spawn are so skilled at judging the 18th Century American forefathers you’d think they might be able to turn their time telescope around and examine present-day Muslim scum from the vantage of, say, Upper Silesia in 1942.
Is he saying that Ken Howard lied to me in “1776”? He lied in song??
Picked up the book to see what it was in it. Scanning the index, there is no mention of separation of church and state, nor nullification, nor necessity of revolution.
Didn’t waste my money on such an obviously flawed and incomplete book.
An enema and a big ol’ shot of penicillin too...