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23 Oct 2021 8:53 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "what-we-lose-when-we-lose-thomas-jefferson" to "what-we-lose-when-we-lose-Thomas-Jefferson"Removed from Getting Started with Ancients board
  • Changed starttime from
    23 Oct 2021 7:10 p.m. PST
    to
    23 Oct 2021 7:10 p.m. PSTRemoved from General Historical Discussion board

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doc mcb23 Oct 2021 6:10 p.m. PST

link

Our history is our memory. Losing pieces of memory, or altering it, is ultimately self-destructive.

The question, though, is whether everyone implicated in slavery is ipso facto ineligible for public celebration. That standard doesn't only exclude Jefferson but virtually every major figure in American history before 1861. And ruling these out of public discourse doesn't only affect their personal memory. It also renders speechless the other Americans, like the Levy family, who've used their names, words, and careers as symbols to articulate their own aspirations for justice.

doc mcb23 Oct 2021 6:17 p.m. PST

I am no huge fan of TJ, but I am very proud to have earned my PhD at "Mr. Jefferson's University." Shoving him down the memory hole is EVIL, if born out of a hate for America, or just incredibly foolish..

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian23 Oct 2021 8:32 p.m. PST

I suppose they have the right to honor who they will. It is a bit like the U.S. presidents deciding which bust will be in the Oval Office for each presidency. We all have preferences.

Those who seek to 'cancel' our forefathers should consider the warning from the New Testament: Beware how you judge others, because God might judge you by the same standard. (Paraphrase!)

Old Contemptible23 Oct 2021 9:43 p.m. PST

The Founding Fathers fall in and out of favor periodically. This is nothing new. But what is new this time the is the level of disfavor. Nowhere in the past had statues been removed or protests marches or gatherings happened.

Most historians will do as always during these cycles. They well stick to the facts. It is a fact that Founders from the South owned slaves. It is also a fact that a large percentage of our Presidents came from the South (particularly Virginia.) and owned slaves. Does this alone make them evil? That is not an easy question to answer. It's complicated. On the whole I would say no. But I also understand why some say yes.

So how do we now approach the Founders? I have to separate them. I can celebrate them for the founding of this country and the Constitution. They were a remarkable group of intellectuals who created a masterpiece and at the same time perpetuated a horrible system of owning and trading in human beings. You cannot ignore the good they did which really set the stage for a more perfect Union without slavery.

I found this essay by Eli Merritt to be of some interest. Click the grey button on the lower right to read the full essay.

link

Rest assured the Founders will comeback in favor. They always do.


I still think this discussion should be some where on TMP Plus not on one of the wargame boards.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP23 Oct 2021 10:24 p.m. PST

I agree with Old Contemptible.

However, it is sad that Jefferson's legacy (and other slave owners) consists of the fact that he knew and said slavery was wrong (one can debate if that he thought it was "evil"), was willing to say that he used slavery to remain wealthy (there were slave owners who found ways to free their slaves entirely so not to benefit from slavery), had what could not have been a consensual relationship with a slave he owned (and never freed) who over many years gave him xix children, some of whom were not freed until his death.

It is easy to admire and honor the greatness of Thomas Jefferson, it is even more vexing to admit the serious short comings he was unable to remove himself of the institution that made and kept him able to live a life style far beyond his actual means of individual income.

Perhaps, as I've always thought was interesting, is the real wealth difference between himself and John Adams at the time of their death. Jefferson was in debt his entire life and owed to the tune of $107,000 USD (about 2 million dollars in today money) at the time of his death and all his slaves, with the exception of several of his children were sold to play his debts, while John Adam, who never owned slaves (but may have hired some) had $100,000 USD (also about 2 million dollars in today's money) wealth to leave in his will. Both men were open about their views on slavery to each other, but chose different paths to prosperity.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 2:06 a.m. PST

It feel it is always dangerous to judge characters in the past, as we surely judge from a period with different values and standards.
There were good, bad and average folk in any period, people who acted in good faith or not.
As our wise editor said, we will be judged by the standards by which we judge others.
Its impossible to say if we would have been better than historical characters if our positions were reversed. I let the past be the past, and try to act so that future generations may think kindly of me, if they think of me at all.

14Bore24 Oct 2021 2:42 a.m. PST

Air brushing people out of pictures is a often used tactic of Communists

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 3:10 a.m. PST

If this thread is in response to the proposed removal of a statue of Jefferson in the New York City Hall, then this is not Jefferson being removed, but moved.

While the statue will not be in the New York City Hall as of 2022, it is going to be moved to a public location as yet to be determined.

link

Jefferson is not being 'shoved down the memory hole' as the statue is not going into storage or being destroyed, but moved.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 4:07 a.m. PST

I'd be more impressed by the distinction, Brechtel, if the previous "moved" statues had in fact been relocated in public view. We've devastated public art at a pace the Red Guards and the League of Militant Atheists could scarcely match. So far I've heard of one going back on display, and that in private hands. "relocated" is much like the KGB's "not allowed correspondence." It's the authorities' way of saying "he's gone--and why are you asking questions about him, citizen?"

I agree that Jefferson is a particularly awkward case in that he clearly knew he was doing wrong, which you can't say for everyone who has been recently erased. And I'm sure none of the politicians and "activists" doing the erasure are engaged in any conduct which they themselves know to be immoral or bad for the republic--but which everyone else is doing, and how would you make a living without? "Speaking fees" say, "book deals" or the hiring of relatives at inflated salaries.

The pity is, the current crowd will never have statues to be torn down.

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 4:21 a.m. PST

Why is Der Alte Fritz shown as the OP on the Home Page?

I have the OP as shown above on stifle/ignore. I shouldn't be seeing this thread on my Message Boards.

Valmy9224 Oct 2021 5:04 a.m. PST

I think that most of the founders were complicated men. Often with feet of clay. I think the most important question in regards to statues is "For what are they being venerated?" I think there's a difference between being venerated for their role in creating the country and being venerated for their role in leading a rebellion against it. If I say much more than that somebody will take it personally or it will become modern politics.
Phil

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 5:20 a.m. PST

I'd be more impressed by the distinction, Brechtel, if the previous "moved" statues had in fact been relocated in public view. We've devastated public art at a pace the Red Guards and the League of Militant Atheists could scarcely match. So far I've heard of one going back on display, and that in private hands. "relocated" is much like the KGB's "not allowed correspondence." It's the authorities' way of saying "he's gone--and why are you asking questions about him, citizen?"

Comparing what is going on with statues in the US is hardly similar to what totalitarian states have done. And that comparison tends to neglect the reasons for it.

I don't agree with the removal of Jefferson's statue, but it was a vote by the New York Public Design Commission, which is their right, not a dictate by a totalitarian government. Nor is it 'socialism.'

noggin2nog24 Oct 2021 5:22 a.m. PST

So, in summary, the article linked to above says that the people who wish to move (or remove, whatever) the statue of Jefferson are essentially anti-semitic:
"It's no coincidence that former Council member (now Assemblyman) Charles Barron, who began the campaign to remove the Jefferson statue twenty years ago, is among the most antisemitic figures in city politics."
I fail to see how this article, the arguments put forth in it, or the attack on a modern politician it is used to promote, are in any way related to the AWI or wargaming that conflict.

What shall we have next, an article discussing the artistic merits of Adolf Hitler being used to explain why the Ardennes offensive was ultimately a failure? Or that Emperor Hirohito being a Taurus explains why Pearl Harbour happened?

"I still think this discussion should be some where on TMP Plus not on one of the wargame boards." Agreed.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 5:49 a.m. PST

One thing our "examination" of our past is doing is reminding everyone that the founders were men not gods. It is good to remember that. They did, IMHO, a great thing but great is not necessarily perfect. So we could have been them, maybe. Well, not me but some of us.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 6:21 a.m. PST

New York is Hamilton territory. I'm surprised they honor TJ at all there; he has very little in connection with it and didn't care much for what it represented.

Bill N24 Oct 2021 6:46 a.m. PST

Mr. Jefferson said no generation should bind the next. I suspect he would feel that way when it came to the fate of his statues as he would on matters of politics. Statue or no statue Mr. Jefferson will continue to be relevant.

Bill N24 Oct 2021 6:55 a.m. PST

It is a fact that Founders from the South owned slaves.

Not just in the south. In the days leading up to the AWI slavery was legal in New England and the Middle Colonies.

14Bore24 Oct 2021 7:41 a.m. PST

First the statue,then come the books?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 8:27 a.m. PST

In some state legislatures, books are now being banned in some schools.

link

Is that what you are referring to?

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 8:32 a.m. PST

George Washington owned slaves. OK, discuss.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 8:53 a.m. PST

had what could not have been a consensual relationship with a slave he owned (and never freed) who over many years gave him xix children, some of whom were not freed until his death.

FALSE

In actuality, DNA testing only found that the youngest of Hemming's children bore the male DNA marker (one child only)— but that marker was NOT Thomas Jefferson's marker, it was his father's marker— carried not only by Thomas but also by his brother and… his nephew Randolph. At the time of the pregnancy, Thomas was 65. His nephew was 23, and a frequent guest at Monticello, where he spent considerable time "gallivanting" with the slaves. He also had a reputation for wanton sexual behavior.
Which is more likely— that a 65 year-old-man in time when 65 was considered "elderly", fathered a son on a slave who had been his daughter's close companion and practically a second daughter, or that his amoral ne'er-do-well, profligate jack-ass of a nephew raped her, counting on slavery to shut her up?
You do the math.

tjheritage.org/dna-hemings

The truth is that "Randolph" isn't the sexy, headline-making, "woke", sensational, political choice. Thomas is. Therefore, it "must" have been Thomas.

Au pas de Charge In the TMP Dawghouse24 Oct 2021 11:02 a.m. PST

Our history is our memory. Losing pieces of memory, or altering it, is ultimately self-destructive.

No it's not, it's simply transformative.

Moving a statue out of a specific public venue isnt losing pieces of memory.

And obviously, certain people dont think they were part of the original memory and want a different environment. Why does anyone have to be saddled with what someone else arranged?

Additionally, there are plenty of ultra conservatives who want to eliminate the Constitution, much less a statue, under the argument that they werent there when it was created and are thus not bound to it. Frankly, minorities and women not feeling comfortable around Jefferson is understandable. That's what happens when tradition is intertwined with exclusion and when people refuse to compromise, they lose it all.

Air brushing people out of pictures is a often used tactic of Communists

It's also a tactic of white supremacists.

I'd be more impressed by the distinction, Brechtel, if the previous "moved" statues had in fact been relocated in public view.
The statue got moved by virtue of a vote, what could be more fair than that?

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 1:28 p.m. PST

Not false, Parzival, the quote and link you list is simply the view of a group that does not accept the idea that Jefferson fathered children by one of his slaves.

"n early May 2000, a group of concerned businessmen, historians, genealogists, scientists, and patriots formed a corporation called The Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society, Inc., to undertake an independent and objective review of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the possible paternity of Sally Hemings' children by Thomas Jefferson. This organization was formed as a response by a cross section of citizens to efforts by many historical revisionists to portray Thomas Jefferson as a hypocrite, a liar, and a fraud. In the forefront of this historical revisionist movement is the organization that owns Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (TJMF). A report issued by the TJMF in January 2000 suggested that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one, and probably all six, of the children of his slave Sally Hemings.

The founders of The Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society believe that the TJMF report is biased—the product of shallow and shoddy scholarship, a selective exclusion of exculpatory evidence, and the exercise of poor judgment on the weight to be given to historical sources, genealogical and scientific evidence, and the legal requirements of paternity, all done in order to achieve an apparently desired conclusion. Admirers of Jefferson had expected a whole lot more from this esteemed body, whose original mission was to perpetuate the reputation of Thomas Jefferson by focusing on his life and accomplishments."

For those who are up too late at night and want to dive into the particulars of the "evidence", here are a few links. As much as "The Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society" would like to argue and dismiss the information, there is enough science, oral history, recorded history and such to make it more than reasonable that Thomas Jefferson had children by Sally Hemings, acknowledge them as his children and freed them (the only family group that he ever did).

link

link

raylev3 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 1:31 p.m. PST

George Washington owned slaves. OK, discuss.

And he freed his slaves when he died.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 1:44 p.m. PST

Not true. His will stipulated that his slaves were to be freed upon Martha's death. He had no power of manumission over the Custis dower slaves, and he opted to keep his slaves in bondage as long as his wife lived.

raylev3 Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 1:51 p.m. PST

Potato, potahto. I said he freed HIS slaves.

George's will freed his slaves within the limitations of the law. Martha respected his wishes BEFORE her death. She signed papers freeing George's slaves in December 1800 and they were freed on 1 January 1801. Martha died in May of 1802.

Anyone interested in a bit more detail:

link

Au pas de Charge In the TMP Dawghouse24 Oct 2021 2:00 p.m. PST

It wouldve been nice if George Washington had freed his slaves earlier.

He was an offensive racist, even for the times. I think he had offsetting, positive qualities but the community of color may or may not differ.

doc mcb24 Oct 2021 2:13 p.m. PST

First, my opinion is that TJ fathered SH's children. She was half-sister to his dead wife and looked a lot like her.

However . . . I spent a couple of hours with the historian who was historical-documents guy for the judge-appointed committee to examine the evidence. He said the same thing Parzival did about the DNA evidence.

AND he said that he went back to trace down every contemporary reference to TJ and SH, and every single one of them originated in anti-Jefferson sources, mainly the Hamilton-party newspapers.

Now, that doesn't logically mean they must be lies: opposition research and mudslinging sometimes contains the truth. And sometimes it does not. But if the ONLY contemporary evidence for something is coming from a public figure's bitter political and personal enemies, it is best to take it as "not proven."

doc mcb24 Oct 2021 2:17 p.m. PST

The slaves at Mt Vernon got either freed or sold after George died when it became known that they would be freed upon her death. Her lawyers immediately stepped in because she was basically being fed and cared for by people with an immediate interest in her death. An example of the evil of the system.

doc mcb24 Oct 2021 2:21 p.m. PST

The reason it had to wait for both George and Martha's demise is that half the slaves were "hers" but entailed to the Custis family; neither she nor George could free nor sell them. But her slaves and his slaves had intermarried for decades, and selling or freeing HIS without hers would have broken apart many families. It was wicked complicated.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP24 Oct 2021 2:40 p.m. PST

Sorry, Dan, but the DNA evidence actually harms the claim.
Again ONLY one child is shown to have Jefferson DNA.
The DNA includes any male descendant of Jefferson's grandfather— including Thomas Jefferson's uncle, who was known to have fathered children by his own slaves. (I also note that the doctor who performed the DNA test disputed the claims of the articles you cite, claiming they made assumptions unsupported by what the DNA evidence actually revealed.)

The rest of the claim is anecdotal— claims of a single family member out to gain notoriety by sharing this claim with a questionable pamphleteer who was angry with Jefferson for not giving him an appointment as postmaster.
The other claims come from other political opponents who would have had no direct knowledge of the circumstances in any way. Some of the "evidence" are claims merely that some of Hemming's children "had light skin." If that's proof, then Bill Clinton has kids all over Arkansas (a more likely situation than this).
Sally Hemmings was well known to have been the childhood companion of Jefferson's daughter, and thus socially "family." It is hardly surprising that Jefferson would free her and her children, and not those slaves who were servants or field hands, and thus "necessary" for the operation of the estate. It is regrettable and condemnable that he did not free the rest, but it is hardly "proof" of an actual familial relationship, and does not excuse either his own uncle or his amoral nephew from being the source as well— the claimed "appeal" to Jefferson could have as well have been on the grounds of their relationship to his general family— they would have been his grand nephews and grand nieces, for whom he might well have felt compassion or even family shame. (It's not like we don't have modern examples of such things to go on, eh?)

As for gossip and rumor, that's exactly what they are— gossip and rumor. They are hardly proof.

Frankly, it's not surprising either that the family would blame the children on anyone else other than a direct relative, especially if they didn't actually know, but wanted to keep the Jefferson name out of it (or did know and wanted to keep their own names out of it).

So again, no DNA link in the other descendants of Hemming (thus, no paternity by Jefferson), and a DNA link that would include his young nephew for the youngest child, born when Jefferson was 65. And also the one Hemming son who claimed to be Jefferson's offspring was in fact provably NOT his son. (So much for family lore.)

"But this is from Monticello" doesn't carry much weight. The sensational claim sells the tours, and there is a vested interest in touting something as fact which is at best conjecture (and not solid conjecture at that).
Even the Nature article clearly goes beyond what the DNA analysis shows— but again, it's popular to degrade the man, so they degrade the man. Which sells more papers? "Thomas Jefferson not the father of Sally Hemming's children" or "Thomas Jefferson kept a concubine and had black children!" The first is boring; the latter is "money."

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2021 3:41 p.m. PST

Ahem. Getting back to the iconoclasm, agreed that removal by a committee after discussion is better than how we've been doing it lately. I should have thought that if there was one lesson in the legal history of the US, it's that one does not attain justice by rounding up a few like-minded friends and a rope. This instance is more Soviet style as opposed to the more common Red Guard approach.

But I never called it socialism. I might buy off on "totalitarian" though. The current heresy hunts have a very familiar feel to them.

In Milan, they still have a statue up of one of the Sforzas--not because anyone seeks the return of condotierre rule, but because it's history and great art. Tour the US in fifty years, and there will be nothing left but really bad abstract sculpture.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2021 7:01 a.m. PST

Rather than tear down statues, put up signs explaining who they were, good and bad. If someone can't read the sign, they probably can't even identify who the statue is supposed to represent, so the statue can't be "oppressing them".

Safe bet: Show the agitators unlabeled pictures of anyone from the 18th-19th Centuries, and 99 out of 100 of the protestor types will not be able to identify any of the images, much less answer which side (if any) the persons were on or what political opinions the persons held.
I'd even bet the whiner types would claim busts of Bach, Handel, Hayden, and Beethoven to be of "slave-owning" US Presidents. Heck, I'd bet there are members of Congress who couldn't tell the difference.

doc mcb26 Oct 2021 7:55 a.m. PST

Like the guy who was worried that Guam would tip over.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2021 11:36 a.m. PST

laugh

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2021 4:22 p.m. PST

I don't agree Parzival. Even the far right Senate are elite Ivy League. The whiner types live on both sides. I watch right wing media as a moderate and the tone can be embarrassing. I avoid left wing media altogether.

I would leave the statue and give it context, but I do not agree that removing the statue is an attack on the Declaration. It's closer to an affirmation of those ideals. But if we leave it and give TJ some context to live with, we can help explain how the Founders were visionaries, but did not always live up to their vision. The statue may not be oppressing them, but it's depressing me unless we give TJ a chance to explain.

doc mcb26 Oct 2021 4:47 p.m. PST

Tort, yes, we have a uniparty from the Ivys, in many ways. Populism has its own set of problems but is needed now, as our elites are AT BEST incompetent.

For one thing, China will have a harder time bribing 100 million populist voters. Wonder what % of "our" elites take money from China, directly or indirectly?

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2021 6:00 p.m. PST

Considering the wealth gap in this country, one wonders if the Chinese would have to bribe 330 million people, leaving out the 1%.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2021 6:20 p.m. PST

I don't think Bernie has 100 million voters… On the other side, populism is a con. They are all into China, right and left, but most of their wealth has come from the rest of us here. That's what our elites are good at.

But we digress. I don't like removing statues of the Founders. For all their flaws, they gave us the foundation. But we need to bring them down to earth.

Old Contemptible26 Oct 2021 10:31 p.m. PST

You guys can't have a normal conversation about Thomas Jefferson and slavery without linking it to modern right wing politics. Why do you always have to have an agenda? This is another example of trolling and DH baiting. This has nothing to do with gaming the American Revolution. It has to do with your agenda. You are just trying to make a point. It is so sad that TMP provides a platform for this.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2021 4:35 a.m. PST

Not entirely I think, OC. History has caught up with us on this maybe.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2021 4:36 a.m. PST

And statue or no, we will not lose TJ. That is trolling.

Au pas de Charge In the TMP Dawghouse27 Oct 2021 7:01 a.m. PST

Someone expressed their opinion that symbols werent important, that withdrawing money with Hamilton's or TJ's face on it and putting in their place a woman of color didnt make a bit of difference anywhere. I responded that if it doesnt make a difference, then why do you push against it?

However, it seems there are people that think symbols are extremely important; but only the symbols that they like. They give themselves cover by suggesting it's all about tradition but I wonder.

You cant accuse people of mindless destruction when the defense of tradition is just visceral knee-jerking against change. Over the centuries, Britain has experienced all sorts of destruction of their "Heritage". Did they stop being British, did it only change them for the worse, did it "erase" them?

The question really is, are symbols important?

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2021 8:42 a.m. PST

Yes and no.
But then, I'm neither an iconophile or an iconoclast. I just don't think that much of any purpose is solved by statue destruction and removal, especially of statues that no one is actually offended by except for those who seek to be offended by anything outside their own strident agenda (and yet somehow seem to have no problem at all with their own offensive behavior towards others).
On top of that, I don't think either taxpayer dollars nor government time should be spent on this AT ALL.

Money is a separate thing. Any age can change its money if it so desires. But considering the limited number of paper bills and coinage, and the images on the same, AND the expense involved, it becomes a bit of a "why are you doing this?" Honestly, I think the recent minting of new US quarters with alternating obverse images associated with states and historical events (even personages) is a nifty approach. It's a great way to honor different concepts and people while still maintaining a recognizable standard coinage on the "heads" side. If it didn't overly affect the cost, the same thing could be done with paper bills— alter the obverse, replacing the current imagery of federal buildings with scenes from history honoring different events or personages.

But all of that is a side issue to the topic at hand. The removal of statues is not really about removing symbols of oppression. That's utter nonsense. It's about diminishing the core foundations of the nation— "That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Do not be fooled— those who always seek only power, even if they think they are right to do so— cannot survive those words, and thus must do everything they can to undermine them. Removing and demeaning symbols of the man who wrote those words undermines those words. We do so at our peril.

Au pas de Charge In the TMP Dawghouse27 Oct 2021 9:47 a.m. PST

But then, I'm neither an iconophile or an iconoclast.
I consider myself both


I just don't think that much of any purpose is solved by statue destruction and removal,

Destruction is very different from removal. I think offensive art should be preserved but not necessarily showcased on public property.

Changing the environment on and around us can change ideas, moods and expressions. There is a great book on the interrelation between Art, Fashion and Architecture.

especially of statues that no one is actually offended by except for those who seek to be offended by anything outside their own strident agenda (and yet somehow seem to have no problem at all with their own offensive behavior towards others).


I think you are making some leaps here but if you are correct, just think of how much future fun you can have tossing whatever statue they replace TJ with into the garbage can?


But all of that is a side issue to the topic at hand.

I asked if symbols were important or not, is that not answerable?

The removal of statues is not really about removing symbols of oppression. That's utter nonsense. It's about diminishing the core foundations of the nation—

But this can only happen if symbols are important, right?


"That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Do not be fooled— those who always seek only power, even if they think they are right to do so— cannot survive those words, and thus must do everything they can to undermine them.

Let's keep our eyes on their behavior. Is there anything this council is doing legislatively that seems anti American?

I noticed that you avoided the concept of statue replacement.

Would a statue of TJ holding up a plaque which reads "I apologize for not living up to my lofty words" be alright?

How about a lascivious TJ with his arms around a white and a black girl with his cravat tied around his head? You have to admit that this founder knew how to party.

How about TJ kicking a slave in the seat of the pants with the legend "Dammit, I told you not to bother me while I'm writing about liberty!"?


Actually, there is a very good defense for keeping TJ in the room but no one has made it. If you think tradition is challenged merely to antagonize tradition, why give them what they want and declare it's all a plot to scuttle truth, justice and the American way? Isn't that the very reaction you think they're trying to elicit?

Why not use the old grey matter to dispel it?

doc mcb27 Oct 2021 2:15 p.m. PST

You know, TJ (and all the other Va Founders) have been known to be slave owners all along. Yet somehow we managed to honor them anyway. What has changed NOW? It is not that we suddenly know something new or realized something we had overlooked. I suspect it has to do with the motives of the iconoclasts. If you BEGIN with a desire to diminish the United States, attacking the character of its Founding is a good tactic. I simply do not trust the people attacking a flawed but great man as acting out of any values I would want to share. I think they mean us ill.

If a man steps on my foot it is an accident. If he does it again, maybe it is a coincidence. But the third time I assume it is an attack. There is a PATTERN here visible to all who will see it.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2021 3:19 p.m. PST

How about a lascivious TJ with his arms around a white and a black girl with his cravat tied around his head? You have to admit that this founder knew how to party.

Did you read my earlier posts?

That claim is FALSE. Period.

It was first put forth by political opponents of Thomas Jefferson, who by the way had no evidence whatsoever except that "some of his slaves had light skin." Interestingly, he never bothered to even address the claims publicly (which suggests that no one took them seriously), though in private he denied them. And yes, I consider a private denial much more noteworthy with the absence of a public one.
It was claimed by the oldest son of Sally Hemmings— but, as it turns out, the modern DNA testing ruled him out, his descendants having no Jefferson DNA whatsoever. The same is true of the rest of Hemmings' descendants, save that of her youngest son, Eston. He had the DNA marker of Thomas Jefferson's grandfather. That is not insignificant, as all males in the Jefferson family, including his father, uncle, brother and nephew, would carry the marker. Thus, Eston could have been fathered by Thomas Jefferson's brother, Thomas Jefferson's nephew, OR (think about this), could have been fathered by another slave who had either the brother or the uncle or even TJ's father as his own biological sire or grandsire, either directly or through a grandparent— and TJ's uncle is known to have indeed had children by the family slaves before Thomas was on the scene (so, in case you missed the point, the slaves on the estate already had Jefferson DNA before Thomas Jefferson could). And then there's Thomas Jefferson's own nephew, who bore the marker, and was also in his twenties when Eston was born… and who, like his father, was known to "socialize" with the slave population at Monticello (*cough cough*). Thus, there were numerous sources for the DNA— male slaves fathered by the uncle, males slaves fathered by the brother, the brother himself, or the Jefferson nephew himself. When you add that Jefferson was 65 when Eston was conceived, the actual likelihood that Jefferson was the father, or had any sexual relationship with Sally Hemmings, plunges— the telling thing being that NONE of Sally Hemming's other children bore the Jefferson DNA marker… after all if there was a regular relationship expanding some twenty years, as modern detractors like to claim, it seems highly unlikely that Thomas would not have fathered a child on Sally when he was much younger.
Conclusion: the claim that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Eston is highly suspect, and cannot be proven by any means— and the odds instead favor other sources.

Au pas de Charge In the TMP Dawghouse27 Oct 2021 5:19 p.m. PST

You know, TJ (and all the other Va Founders) have been known to be slave owners all along. Yet somehow we managed to honor them anyway. What has changed NOW? It is not that we suddenly know something new or realized something we had overlooked.

What has changed is perhaps higher numbers of queer people and people of color in positions of power. Combined with liberal whites it is perhaps just enough to challenge something for the first time. Add to that that things are moving more quickly than before. If you look at gay marriage, it moved from unacceptable to acceptable in under a decade.

I suspect it has to do with the motives of the iconoclasts. If you BEGIN with a desire to diminish the United States, attacking the character of its Founding is a good tactic.

I dont think that's it, I think it is a somewhat clumsy desire to retroactively remove symbols of exclusion.

I simply do not trust the people attacking a flawed but great man as acting out of any values I would want to share. I think they mean us ill.

So what's the plan to get TJ back in the room?

If a man steps on my foot it is an accident. If he does it again, maybe it is a coincidence. But the third time I assume it is an attack. There is a PATTERN here visible to all who will see it.

It may be political but not the way you think. After WW1, many think the flapper fashion took hold to celebrate the end of the world and life in general. Actually, the pre-war dowdy female fashions returned first as a reassertion of prewar morals.

The problem is that there were neither enough men to work in certain industries nor for the girls to marry. Thus, to compete for men they wore skimpier more body revealing outfits. And, in addition, to prove they were doing "grown up" jobs, they revealed their legs to demonstrate power over themselves for the first time. They eventually went back to longer skirts and less revealing clothing but in order to get back to social stasis, they had to first show everyone they had the power to break the rules.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP27 Oct 2021 7:26 p.m. PST

Doc, I do not think there is a desire to diminish the US. There are other more effective ways to do this, like attacking the Capitol. I think at least some Americans are acting in good faith to address historic wrongs in their own way. We may not agree with the tactics – I think the Founders deserve their statues, but need a fuller context in some cases. And yes, there are some yahoos who just look to create chaos – on both sides.

Agree or not, I feel it is definitely NOT about diminishing the nation, except where the denial of those rights for some diminishes us all.

I also object to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The man wrote a great document, the essence of American values. That he could not live up to it does not diminish the ideas.

doc mcb27 Oct 2021 7:39 p.m. PST

You are a good man, Tort. Maybe TOO good.

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