U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-15-2012, 11:08 PM
 
31,381 posts, read 35,623,255 times
Reputation: 15006

Advertisements

Henry Wiencek's “Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves,” pulls away the mythology of Thomas Jefferson's "conflicted" views and practices as a slave owner.

“Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves” by Henry Wiencek - The Washington Post
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-15-2012, 11:59 PM
 
Location: the living desert
577 posts, read 944,123 times
Reputation: 989
So, basically what you are saying is he was a man of his time more or less. Jefferson, like many others throughout history wrote about high ideals but was perhaps a little slow to follow those same ideals.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 12:25 AM
 
Location: North of Canada, but not the Arctic
18,522 posts, read 16,557,019 times
Reputation: 22348
More like "The Dark side of Human History". Thomas Jefferson did not invent slavery, he was brought up into it. And he and the other Founding Fathers should be credited for putting into process the means by which slaves were eventually freed.

If you want to blame anyone for slavery, blame the black Africans who enslaved their fellow black Africans and sold them into slavery. Slavery originated in Africa and it still exists there. Slavery is not just about whites oppressing blacks, it's about people oppressing people.

Sounds to me like another dumb book intended to stir up the guilt or resentment of the narrow-minded.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 12:42 AM
2K5Gx2km
 
n/a posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbia Blue View Post
So, basically what you are saying is he was a man of his time more or less. Jefferson, like many others throughout history wrote about high ideals but was perhaps a little slow to follow those same ideals.
What I took from it was not what was common but was was uncommon -Jefferson was in a unique position to steer the country toward those ideals. And when he had the opportunity to do so he failed and made a mockery of the very principles he sold to the American people. His duplicity set the stage for similar rhetoric and legal justifications of slavery that frankly prolonged its demise in this nation.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 03:54 AM
 
31,381 posts, read 35,623,255 times
Reputation: 15006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
More like "The Dark side of Human History". Thomas Jefferson did not invent slavery, he was brought up into it. And he and the other Founding Fathers should be credited for putting into process the means by which slaves were eventually freed.
That's the mythology, Jefferson the reluctant slave owner when the truth based upon the records unearthed by Henry Wiencek that are reported to demonstrate that Jefferson was anything but particularly when is purported ideals were confronted by his avarice.

As for the wonderful process put in place by the "Founding Fathers"... did that process include the 600,000 dead and over 100 years of struggle for freedom? I don't think so.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
2,267 posts, read 2,737,848 times
Reputation: 2686
I wish my father were still alive. He was a history teacher with a solid knowledge of the Founding Fathers. He used to try to talk with me as a kid & teen about history but I'd had enough of it at school. Stupid me. He & I could spend days talking now.

I read somewhere that George Washington was deeply trouble by slavery but felt constrained by the mores of his day from doing anything about it.

Leaders of that day had the courage to take on King George & the British military, 1 of the most powerful in the world then. Too bad they were not able to do more with our own injustices. However; they did put in place a nation that later overcame slavery & to this day is 1 of the few nations where people are standing in line to get in rather than to leave.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,565 posts, read 22,580,806 times
Reputation: 21167
When modern mentalities and morality is employed as the standard by which we judge figures from the past, they all tend to come across as immoral. Jefferson was more enlightened than others of his time, less enlightened than most people are now.

It is not just slavery, we would find much about 18th Century America in conflict with present day attitudes. Child labor, debtor's prison, social superiors and inferiors, the subordinate place of women...all taken for granted as good and normal 200 years ago. Was everyone back then immoral?

Are we presently immoral people because the folks 100 years from now will have different sensitivities about many of the things we now take for granted?

The proper approach would be to compare Jefferson's personal morality to the standards which prevailed when he was alive, not to the standards which developed in the two centuries since his death.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,726 posts, read 5,939,763 times
Reputation: 4248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
When modern mentalities and morality is employed as the standard by which we judge figures from the past, they all tend to come across as immoral.
Very good point, one which is often not considered. In our attempts to examine historical events objectively without bias, applying 21st century ideals and political correctness just does not work and is unfair. For an example of this, some time ago on this forum this poster exgaged in a rather heated exchange when the topic of the mid 19th century conduct of the famed Texas Rangers came under discussion when their admittedly often brutal tactics in their fights with the Comanches and Mexicans came under criticism.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 11:22 AM
 
13,413 posts, read 12,730,636 times
Reputation: 42860
Quote:
That's the mythology, Jefferson the reluctant slave owner when the truth based upon the records unearthed by Henry Wiencek that are reported to demonstrate that Jefferson was anything but particularly when is purported ideals were confronted by his avarice.

As for the wonderful process put in place by the "Founding Fathers"... did that process include the 600,000 dead and over 100 years of struggle for freedom? I don't think so.
Jefferson is enigmatic in many ways. Perhaps, Joe Ellis best describes this in his book about Jefferson which is entitled "American Sphinx". What was Jefferson and what did he really stand for? Was he the high minded idealist who despite being a slave owner actually opposed slavery? On the other hand, was he a cruel and vicious slave-owner who beat his slaves and extracted every ounce of labor from them? There are many other questions you don't really allude to that fascinate me. Was he really a democratic idealist as evidenced by the Declaration of Independence? Or, was he a hypocrite who only believed in freedom for the landed oligarchy of which he was a member?' Was Sally Hemmings a slave woman he forced to have sex with him? Or, was there some consensual element to the relationship?

I don't think the answers are particularly simple and neither does Joe Ellis.

It is certainly true that in the early part of his life that Jefferson did considerable thinking and writing about the issue of slavery and freeing slaves. As he got older, he got more and more cynical about the prospect of freeing slaves and unlike some plantation owners who chose to free their slaves when they died, Jefferson did not do so.

One historical fact that is neglected by many is that Monticello was not a well run plantation that was profitable. Jefferson got heavily into debt (much of which was brought about by all the time he spent in politics, public office, and by his love of science and books) Jefferson hardly seems motivated by avarice. Upon his death, his creditors seized Monticello and its slaves and took it as payment for his many financial obligations.

Its hard to judge Jefferson with any objectivity because we don't live in the same time or place that he did. Ultimately, rather than judging him, I think the best approach is simply to try to tell the whole story--tell it completely--and let everyone judge for themselves. He had many achievements both before he became President and afterwards.

I do agree though with your last comment which references this 600,000 killed in the Civil War. I find it amazing the number of people who have been brainwashed into the business about "God writing our Constitution" and that it was all divinely inspired. If they agree with that than they have to also agree that same "divine inspiration" wiped out 600,000 mostly young people, destroyed an incalculable amount of property, and left this country with racial wounds that still haven't totally healed, 220 years after the Constitution was ratified.

We would be much better off if we saw our Founding Fathers as imperfect human beings with some good ideas, but certainly not deities.

On another note, I was very moved when I read about Ben Franklin. Franklin was older than most of the Founding Fathers were and died shortly after the Constitutional Convention. Even though Franklin was sick, he spent his last months of life using his newspaper to try and rally support for the new republic he was creating to eliminate slavery. Franklin could see the problems that it would lead too and seemed to be amazingly prescient.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-16-2012, 11:26 AM
 
27,957 posts, read 37,708,033 times
Reputation: 26197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
When modern mentalities and morality is employed as the standard by which we judge figures from the past, they all tend to come across as immoral. Jefferson was more enlightened than others of his time, less enlightened than most people are now.

It is not just slavery, we would find much about 18th Century America in conflict with present day attitudes. Child labor, debtor's prison, social superiors and inferiors, the subordinate place of women...all taken for granted as good and normal 200 years ago. Was everyone back then immoral?

Are we presently immoral people because the folks 100 years from now will have different sensitivities about many of the things we now take for granted?

The proper approach would be to compare Jefferson's personal morality to the standards which prevailed when he was alive, not to the standards which developed in the two centuries since his death.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackShoe View Post
Very good point, one which is often not considered. In our attempts to examine historical events objectively without bias, applying 21st century ideals and political correctness just does not work and is unfair. For an example of this, some time ago on this forum this poster exgaged in a rather heated exchange when the topic of the mid 19th century conduct of the famed Texas Rangers came under discussion when their admittedly often brutal tactics in their fights with the Comanches and Mexicans came under criticism.
Exactly. We cannot study history or discuss the impact or legacy of a person or event under the scrutiny of todays standard of acceptable.

Now a true study of historical events can often help us get to the point of understanding where we are today.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2023, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 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, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top