April 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30          

« Once is not enough | Main | Weathered »

Mar 07, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


This is a good litmus for considering if Jefferson said it. Find out if Samuel Rutherford(Lex, Rex) or CF Volney(Meditations: On the Ruins of Empire) wrote it down. If Sam or CF wrote it, Jefferson probably said it. Sam was lucky to die before he could be killed for treasonous thought, such as a social contract for citizens and the rights of the individual. Volney's footprint is all over every early American document.


You know, I read that screed this morning, thought for a moment about Googling that stuff, and then thought, "Screw it, I don't work there anymore and I've got to go get Hooper some new soccer socks anyway." I'm glad somebody was on the case.


Leave it to the N&R to post something floating around in e-mail forwards as if it were actual fact without doing any fact checking-- looking more and more like a tabloid with every passing day.

Alan Bulluck

Aside from Lincoln, Jefferson may be our most misquoted President. Whether those quotes are bogus or not, I do believe that Tom Jeff was in severe debt on the eve of his death. That quote on debt would certainly play well to the interpretation of Jefferson as hypocrite. Although, I'm more inclined to believe that the N&R just has crappy fact checkers, but I'm sure they would be quick to blame the "state of the industry" on that fact regardless.


It's really pretty easy to determine if Jefferson actually said or wrote something. Only takes a bit of research.

As for Jefferson and government... his actions while governing did not always correspond with his utterances while out of government. For example, his more or less unilateral decision to buy Louisiana and double the size of the country certainly added to the size and complexity of the federal government. His decision to wage war against the Tripoli pirates also does not speak of someone reticent to use the powers of government.

His biggest failing, of course, was his attitude regarding African-Americans, an hypocrisy he shared with almost all of his contemporaries. (I.e., Frankin became an abolitionist, but only in the last few years of his life. Jefferson always held himself loyal to Virginian planter ways.)

Alan Bulluck

"Only takes a bit of research."

Good point. There's really no way to prove whether or not buddy is telling the truth or accepting stupid chain mail garbage as gospel. For all we know, buddy has within his possession one of Jeff's long lost journals. After all, he was a man of many letters.


Was there a correction in today's paper? Although the N&R is notorious for putting fanciful mythologies on its opinion pages, it would discourage them if it published corrections like this:

Yesterday we published a column by LARRY VAN HORN. The column by LARRY VAN HORN contained numerous factual errors. We apologize for the errors contained in the column by LARRY VAN HORN.

The point is probably less about the N&R not doing a fact check over quotes that have been historically attributed to Jefferson than it is trying to prove that because Jefferson himself probably didn't say some of those things, he must have really been a Socialist.


While in government, Jefferson proposed that territory created by westward expansion be free of slavery. The bill he introduced lost by one vote because of the absence of a Rhode Island delegate. He lamented publicly and in writing about his failure to get this passed. He also represented slaves in the colonies, pro bono, who had their manumission rescended by the Crown. He also introduced legislation to make private manumission possible, as owners could not simply free slaves, unless the slave was a journeyman level tradesman. Even after being freed, the slave could reside in the state where manumitted for only one year. The Louisiana Purchase would create more territory for freed slaves as it included territory which would double the oppurtunities of slaves after manumission outside of the state.


Jefferson also noted that most literate slaves were Muslim. He made attempts to understand the cultures not only of blacks, but of the Musselmen themselves. He was moved by the response of a Tripoli delegate when the delegate was asked by what right the Musselmen siezed the property of European shippers and sold white Europeans into slavery. The delegate replied that they did so by the same right by which Europeans sell Africans into slavery-that Muslims recognize Europeans as nonbathing dirty necks and cannibals because of documented behavior during the Crusades.

Jefferson was as much as a slave to his times as his slaves were victims of an institution he abhorred and tried to change with the legal instruments of the time.

The comments to this entry are closed.