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Veteran Advisor

Jefferson, the antithesis of Washington

The Smithsonian magazine published and article this month called "Unmasking Thomas Jefferson" that is either a real hatchet job of a fine founding father, or a long overdue reporting of what the man was really like. It is common knowledge that Jefferson fathered several kids with Sally Hemmings, the enslaved half sister of his dead wife, and that he did grant them their freedom at the time of his death.


Jefferson, however, owned upwards of 100 slaves at any given time, and used their labor to create wealth for himself. Building the mansion and estate that is Monticello took money, as well as the lavish lifestyle that Jefferson entertained in. When Jefferson got older, he became more of a hardened slave owner, and the guy that penned "All men are created equal" seems to have morphed into someone else. THe debate had been to make the phrase read "all freemen.....". Washington, to his credit, grew to revile Slavery, and freed all of the Slaves under his control after he died. I am sure Washington would have done it sooner, but knew that his wife and in laws would hate him since they were actually their slaves, as he was of modest means before marriage to Mary Custiss, the richest young widow in VIrginia.


What is really disgusting is that Jefferson allowed families to be broken up at the auction block, having made no provision to ensure that they stayed together, even in bondage. You read about the plight of one of his chief blacksmiths, who was himself freed by Jefferson's will, trying to find local buyers for his wife and children since they were not freed and it just makes your heart sick. Can you imagine the anguish of a man watching his teenaged daughters get sold to the highest bidder at the auction block and being powerless to stop it? One 17 yr old daughter was sold to a middle aged man. The blacksmith spent the rest of life trying to find his family and put together enough money to free them.


Reading the article greatly diminishes the Mt. Rushmore president......more so than reading about Teddy Roosevelt running up to the top of San Juan Hill to shoot the young Spanish boy dead after the kid had run out of bullets and was defenseless.

3 Replies

Re: Jefferson, the antithesis of Washington

Relates pretty well to the thread and discussion below which can be summed up as "how can you lose to a socialist community organizer, probably not a natural born citizen fake christian muslim? Answer, easy- you run a real world burn and pillage Gordon Ghekko, draft dodgin', probably not a natural born citizen fake christian mormon against him.


I suppose we should put our faith in the rule of law rather than in men.


Re: Jefferson, the antithesis of Washington

One thing I'm near 100% certain of is that the biggest chumps of all in this thing are the crowd that is sincere about balancing the budget.


I said balancing the budget because that is the bottom line that won't improve- if you want to say austerity then by some definitions that may happen i.e., more money stays with and/or flows to those who already have some, which is some peoplke's definition of "austerity."


should be in Taibbi thread