Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Celebrating Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence.

Credit:Wikipedia Commons

He served as the Secretary of State for George Washington.

He was Vice President of the United States under John Adams.

He was the third President of the United States.

When Jefferson was President he negotiated the Louisiana Purchase that doubled the territory of the United States.


He founded the University of Virginia.

Jefferson also invented and improved many innovations including the cipher wheel, polygraph, swivel chair, dumbwaiter and iron plow.

There have been few men that have had more impact on the history of the United States than Jefferson.

Despite all of this, left-wing students from Hofstra University have been pressuring the university administration to remove a statue of Jefferson that stands in front of the student union. They argue that Jefferson represents "slavery and racism."

“Jefferson’s values aided in the construction of institutionalized racism and justified the subjugation of black people in the United States. "

If that isn't bad enough along comes Democrat Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (the Mayor of South Bend, IN) weighing in on Jefferson by stating that he thinks annual Democrat political fundraising dinners bearing Jefferson's name (Jefferson or Jefferson-Jackson dinners)  as well as buildings bearing his name be renamed.

Those dinners are so named to pay homage to Jefferson (and Jackson) who the Democrats claim as the founder(s) of the party. The Republicans have similar dinners named for Lincoln who is considered the founder of the GOP.

Mayor Pete cautions he would not go so far as to remove Jefferson from the history books. He also seems to be fine with the Jefferson Memorial right now. However, where does all of this nonsense stop?

I find this particularly interesting because, if you look at the history books, Thomas Jefferson actually did as much to try to end slavery as anyone during the time he was alive.

Many are not aware that in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson included a provision that attacked slavery and the King's actions in "suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce."

Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence

This passage was deleted in the final Declaration that was approved but I think it pretty clearly shows that Jefferson was not aiding in "the construction of institutionalized racism and subjugation of racism".  He was actually attempting to deconstruct it.

This is how www.blackpast.org  describes the "The Deleted Passage of the Declaration of Independence".

When Thomas Jefferson included a passage attacking slavery in his draft of the Declaration of Independence it initiated the most intense debate among the delegates gathered at Philadelphia in the spring and early  summer of 1776.  Jefferson’s passage on slavery was the most important section removed from the final document.  It was replaced with a more ambiguous passage about King George’s incitement of “domestic insurrections among us.”  Decades later Jefferson blamed the removal of the passage on delegates from South Carolina and Georgia and Northern delegates who represented merchants who were at the time actively involved in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. 

Why did Jefferson and other Founding Fathers accede to removing this language. Quite simply, if they were to be successful in breaking away from Great Britain, and gaining independence, all 13 colonies had to be totally united. Everyone who put their name on the Declaration of Independence was literally putting their their life, livelihood and fortune on the line. As Benjamin Franklin famously told those that were assembled to sign the Declaration on July 4, 1776,

"We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately."

The larger goal of independence from Great Britain took precedence as it was not possible to move forward with only 11 of 13 colonies united on the issue of slavery. Tough compromises are necessary on tough issues. Moving forward allows for a fight for another day. Retaining the status quo accomplished nothing for the cause of freedom in the 1770's---for anyone---colonists or slaves.

Jefferson was later instrumental in making sure there was a ban on slavery in the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 and it was Jefferson who as President initiated the legislation that banned the importation of any more slaves.

Thomas Jefferson did own slaves. So did George Washington and Andrew Jackson for that matter.

In other words, the two people that the Democrats celebrate as the founders of their party were both slave owners. If they are serious, why don't they wash away both of those names and change the name of the Democrat party while they are at? Everything is tainted if you look at it that way Mayor Pete and these left wingers see it.

Of course, the reality is that all men are imperfect. Jefferson and Washington and our founders inherited a world that was imperfect but they did their best to change it for the better.

Did they make it perfect? Were they perfect? No.

However, they made it a whole lot better than it was. They also established a foundation of freedom that endures today. Should that not account for a fair and balanced view of the contributions of Jefferson, Washington and others who founded the United States at great risk and cost to themselves?

The framework they established also provided a model that has provided rights and freedom for billions of other people on this earth that was unheard of before these men made that Declaration in 1776.

This subject should not even be the subject of any debate after nearly 250 years.

Jefferson, Washington and the others should be celebrated, not denigrated.

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