Jefferson Descendant Calls For Removal Of Jefferson Memorial


We have previously discussed the destruction of statues and the refusal of mobs to allow society as a whole to decide what statues should be removed.  That debate is now occurring though the destruction has continued often with little comment, let alone action from universities or local governments. This includes the Columbus statue in Little Italy in Baltimore which was torn down and thrown into the harbor with no action from the police. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times, Lucian K Truscott IV, has called for the tearing down of the Thomas Jefferson memorial. As a descendant of the former President, his call has attracted considerable attention.  At the same time, leaders like Sen. Tammy Duckworth (R., IL.), a leading candidate to be the vice presidential candidate with former Vice President Joe Biden, has said that she is open to the idea of tearing down the statue to George Washington. There are also recent demands to remove the statues of Abraham Lincoln.

While this debate is welcomed, it is not clear that the full debate will be presented on the pages of the New York Times where editors publicly committed to barring opposing views like those recently of Sen. Tom Cotton.  Others in the media, most recently CNN’s Don Lemon, have rationalized the destruction of these statutes.  Lemon lashed out at American history as based on “propaganda” and dismissed criticism of the mob actions as an example of how “the chickens are coming home to roost.”  As for the statues of opponents to slavery that have been destroyed, Lemon simply said “movements are often messy.”  He further claimed that “nobody is erasing history . . . What people are trying to do is put it in context and these are conversations that we should be having.”

It is not much of a conversation after statues are torn down and thrown into harbors.  Some of us have been engaged in this debate for years. I called for the removal of some statues over two decades ago.  However, I have also opposed the removal of statues to leaders like Washington and Jefferson.  We learn from history not by wiping it away but placing it into context.  Washington and Jefferson are honored not because of their ownership of slaves but despite that terrible wrong.  Indeed, the history of both leaders on slavery is complex, particularly for Jefferson who sought to include the following statement that was deleted by pro-slavery delegates as a condition for voting for independence:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.  Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.  And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.

Jefferson was a hypocrite on this issue and kept hundreds in bondage.  As we discussed recently, this part of his legacy is not ignored but emphasized in tours at Monticello.

Truscott insists that Monticello “is enough.”  He added: “And that is why his memorial in Washington should be taken down and replaced. Described by the National Park Service as ‘a shrine to freedom,’ it is anything but.”

While I respect Truscott’s view and appreciate his thoughtful column, I cannot disagree more with that premise.  The memorial is a “shrine to freedom” because it celebrates Jefferson’s legacy in such acts as drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It is not a memorial to his legacy as a slave owner. That legacy should be part of the context in viewing Jefferson but not a reason to tear down this memorial.

Truscott joins others, including a CNN analyst for calling for tearing down the memorials, including the Washington monument.  Often these calls are examples of rage overcoming reason.  Historical legacies tend to be complex and include elements that many of us find deeply offensive or immoral.  We can discuss all of these elements in considering the history, and historical figures, that creates this country.

Washington’s view on slavery has long been debated. He was without question of slavey owner and there are shocking accounts of the mistreatment of slaves under bondage at his estate.  There is no act that erase that immorality.  As I noted in a prior column, some of his friends however saw Washington as regretful over slavery and his failure to break from it.  After the war, Washington continued to discuss ways to convert his plantation from slaves to tenants at the suggestion of his close aide (and outspoken opponent of slavery) Marquis de Lafayette. By 1786, Washington wrote his friend Robert Morris, “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of [slavery].” In the end, Washington was the only one of nine slaveholding presidents (and the only slaveholding founder) who freed his slaves upon his death. Washington freed as many of his 317 slaves as possible. Some 123 slaves were his to emancipate while neither he nor Martha could free the so-called “Custis Dower slaves” (who remained property of the heirs to the estate of Daniel Parke Custis, Martha Washington’s first husband). He further ordered that all of the elderly or sick slaves would be supported by his estate for the rest of their lives.

CNN Angela Rye stated Rye insists that all of these statues must come down because  “We have to get to the heart of the problem here and the heart is the way many of us were taught American history. American history is not all glorious.” As we discussed earlier, it is not all glorious but it was a glorious experiment with a people committed to self-determination and individual liberties.  The hypocrisy of stating such ideals in a nation with slavery was not lost on some of that generation like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay.  However, the system that they created allowed for a nation to finally end this disgraceful practice.  Indeed, hundreds of thousands of white and black soldiers would die together ridding the nation of this scourge.  While aspects of our history are not glorious, we have had glorious and redemptive moments of a people struggling with our own failures.  We can learn from that history, but not if we tear it down in a blind rage against our past.


188 thoughts on “Jefferson Descendant Calls For Removal Of Jefferson Memorial”

  1. It’s obvious that better educated people of the past held more nuanced and complex views than people today. That Thomas Jefferson did not completely embrace a post-modernist view on humanity and the different races should not be surprising. Blacks were the most primitive people on earth, found in a state of simple existence, living as small hunting and gathering tribes in huts. They had no written languages, no two story buildings, no apparent historical record. They were seen as as lesser beings, not able perhaps to be even civilized. while he was calling for freedom, he was referring to White civilized men, who for the first time in 1258, under the Magna Carta, had put a limit on the right of a King to force servitude on others with no restraint. That moment set in motion hundreds of years of philosophical and physical debate and war over the rights of man. Concepts evolved, and those concepts still evolve. Why Jefferson must be held to a modern standard and expected to hold modernist views, yet Native people who lived in the Stone Age and raped and pillaged with no regard for civilization are idealized is quite bizarre.

    Thomas Jefferson is remembered as a man who articulated a conceptual leap forward made by the founding fathers, in the struggle towards the recognition of human equality, not for being a perfect man who possessed a modern view regarding the nature of all men. .

  2. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped.”

    – George Orwell (1984)

  3. The Afghanistan Taliban were way ahead by blowing up a 1500 year old statue in 2001.

    Everyone else is just a copycat. There she blows @ the 0:25 video mark.

  4. I enjoy your column so much I look forward to reading each and every one of them. It’s just a shame that American history is no longer being taught in schools. Children now grow up with no knowledge of the history, of the wars that have been fought and the men who have fought and died ( both black and white ) so that they could have their freedom and their liberty. Unfortunately there are those in society Who would try to fill their heads with hate against people who had nothing to do with the unfortunate and inexcusable transgressions of our ancestors. There are hate mongers in our society who profit by continually instigating a racial divide, and live a luxurious life at the expense of those who are being indoctrinated by their propaganda. Them even have the audacity ton proceed their name with “Reverend” Yet they incite racial hatred and divide among people from their pulpit or podium when the Bible says to forgive and to love. They preach racial hatred with the message and are truly not worthy of being called ministers.

  5. Seems to me the question should be “Why is the statue or erected?” There was a movement afoot to remove the statue of Gandhi because he held prejudice views. But that isn’t the reason for the statue. The statue was built because of his tactics of non-violence.

    By contrast, why is a statue erected of Robert E. Lee. It looks like the reason for it is that he chose to lead the confederate army. You don’t erect a statue for him because he chose to do that.

    1. SteveJ – Lee’s stategy is taught at West Point where he was Commandant. He was offered command of the US troops but turned it down because he was a son of Virginia first.

      1. In other words, he succumbed to peer pressure. Sometimes doing the right thing means being an outcast in your hometown or home state. He didn’t have the courage or ethics to do that in this instance.. I don’t consider the man evil incarnate. But there would be no statue for him if it were not for his moral failing in choosing to do the wrong thing.

        1. SteveJ – Lee did not make an easy decision, but his is not a moral failing. Remember they don’t call it the War of Northern Aggression for nothing.

          1. Ah yes, The confederacy was not about slavery. It was about state’s rights. Right, Paul?

            Tragic. At some point that will die out. Or maybe not. It’s been one and a half centuries now. And the African-American community has been more than patient about it.

            1. SteveJ – it was about states’ rights and slavery. Remember, slavery was legal in the North during the Civil War.

              1. Slavery was at the heart of the dispute — period. It was that issue alone. The South revolted because of the slavery legislation and for no other reason.

                1. SteveJ – If it was about slavery, it would have been abolished in the North. However, it wasn’t. Even the Emancipation Proclamation only frees slaves in the South, not the North.

                  1. Nowhere in the North was there any intention to ignore something passed by Congress and supported by the President with regard to slavery legislation. It was the election of Abraham Lincoln and his intention to sign slavery legislation passed by Congress that was the sole reason for the revolt.

                    That’s just the way it is Paul. I don’t excuse bad behavior in the North. Nor do I know of any statues to people in the North for the sole reason that they owned slaves or supported a revolt to maintain slaves.

                    1. Paul yearns for the confederacy. His tough luck. Historical accuracy demands that if the flag of the confederacy is to be flown, it will be a white flag.

                    2. Anon – like my Irish ancestors, I probably would have been a draft dodger. However, as a historian, I want to honor the men and women who died for their ideals.

                    3. SteveJ – I am going to put it to you the same way I used to put to my high school students. A fine field hand was worth the price of today’s combine. I have 20 of those, let’s say (some people way more). The North is going to declare the use of combines illegal without paying me for it. Now other countries had stopped slavery by buying the owners out, however the North was not intending to.

                      Now, Steve, look up the price of a stripped down new combine and decide how much money you are going to lose. Oh, and you borrowed money to buy that so you still owe the bank.

                2. That is just wrong. Slavery was the primary and ubiquitous, the enmeshed cause, but it was a complex civic thing including state’s right and the genuine question of secession. If forced to give a one word answer, yes, that answer is slavery, but it’s not really that simple.

              2. It was not about State’s Rights. That would have been the South’s description of that issue, not the North’s and the South clearly seceded over slavery. They said so, over and over. For the North, it was for the Union with strong abolitionist overtones – Grant was an abolitionist.

                1. slavery was most definitely the issue, but states rights were a valid legal theory. the states existed before the United States and they still are co-sovereign entities, however subordinate they are on specific federal issues.

                  nonetheless the civil war shows how all political legalities are resolved in the end– with organized force.

                  this was true in the time of Plato’s Republic and ever since

                  I recommend Carl Schmitt’s “Theory of the Political” for a more up to date take on the subject

                2. Anon – here you go.

                  An Ordinance
                  To repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, by the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution.

                  The people of Virginia, in their ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by them in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution, were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern slaveholding States.

                  Now, therefore, we the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain,That the ordinance adopted by the people of this State in Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified; and all acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby repealed and abrogated; that the Union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty, which belong and appertain to a free and independent State. And they do further declare,That said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the Citizens of this State.

                  This ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day when ratified by a majority of the votes of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken thereon, on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a Schedule hereafter to be enacted

                  Done in Convention in the City of Richmond, on the seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

                  [signatures of the delegates]

                3. Like all wars, it was about money.

                  Specifically the tariffs imposed on the Southern States. Which also folded into States rights.

                  Slavery had nothing to do with the cause of the Civil War. Which is clearly evidenced by the Northern States where slavery was still legal even after the war was over.

                  You know nothing worth knowing.

                  1. Like all wars, it was about money.

                    It wasn’t and they aren’t.

                    1. That’s what you consider a cogent and well thought out reply?

                      Consider this.

                      Lincoln wanted all of the freed slaves to go back to Africa. (I.E.- Liberia). Later he also included Central America as another option. The key being that Lincoln did not want free black people living with white people in the United States.

                      Many of the freed slaves who did choose to go to Liberia immediately built plantations modeled after the plantations where they had been enslaved.

                      Then they forced some of the indigenous Africans already there into slavery working on the plantations.

                      Fast forward 100 years and LBJ created his “Great Society” welfare state. Which was nothing more than a virtual plantation designed to pay poor black people a pittance (that still left them in poverty) to become lever pulling Democrats.

                      That is where we still are today, and it is why Malcolm X loathed white liberals..

  6. Tammy Duckworth reeks of hypocrisy. She loves to wrap herself in her father’s ancestry to family that fought in the Revolutionary War. Tammy was born in Thailand. Her mother is Thai/Chinese. The Daughters of the Revolution put Tammy on a stature in Mount Vernon, IL because of that connection and for a tribute to her own military service. One of the original founders of DAR was George Washington’s niece. Maybe Tammy should be confronted with this and asked again about the Washington statutes coming down. Tammy Duckworth continued to use her fathers last name after her marriage. Seems to be protecting that Revolutionary War relationship. Wonder if her Wikipedia credits will be scrubbed of this relationship if she is chosen to run with Biden. Kamala Harris has had her Wikipedia entry cleaned up.

    1. Gabby, Senator Duckworth, who left 2 legs in Iraq, did not say she was open to “tearing down Washington’s statue”, she said she was open to a discussion about taking it down. I personally oppose the former but wholeheartedly support the latter. Is that too subtle for a law professor and you?

  7. Let’s keep things in perspective. People will believe whatever they want to believe if they are not held to some threshold of credibility.

    If you need an example, visit an art museum displaying post modern ‘art’. In order to appreciate why they think it’s art, you’ll need to go through an education/indoctrination process where they simply redefine what most people would expect art to be.

    They did it there, and they are doing it places where it now matters.

  8. The only question is, which will come down first, the Jefferson Memorial or Trump’s Border wall?

    1. Are you under the false impression that there was no border wall before Trump?

      Apparently you are unaware that Obama was called “The Deporter in Chief” by Latin Americans organizations that want an open border.

  9. In the UK a statue of Churchill had to be protected and there were calls to remove statues of Gandhi, Baden-Powell and ancient Romans. This is puzzling. What has this to do with the original claims of BLM against generally recognised bias in the police against blacks? The justifications for taking the statues down have been along the lines of historical ties to slavery or racism, although attacking the Churchill statue seems very strange. Would the protestors have preferred to live under the Nazis? Their revulsion against slavery is perfectly reasonable, but it would seem a wasted effort as the wrongs of the past cannot be undone, but present day slavery is common and increasing. If they care about slavery why are they not using their considerable public support to deal with present injustices. You might find the following of interest.
    on Phil Ebersole blog, WordPress
    on Aletho News, WordPress

    Of course it is common political practice to hi-jack grass roots movements to another’s political agenda. The usual suspects are Marxists. But the destruction of cultural icons has until now been the trademark of Islamists destroying the cultural heritage of non-Islamic cultures. Perhaps this is just copy-cat behaviour, but it does make you wonder whose objectives would be promoted by this.

    1. In my opinion con, there should be a distinction between mobs tearing down anything, including statues, and a reasoned discussion of our past, including who past generations – or powerful groups or politicians – erected statues for.

      1. Very true. One comment after a statue of a slave dealer was dumped in the river in Bristol was the question what legal method exists for the removal of statues? Statues were commonly raised to people to effectively bought their honours, a kind of thank you. Not very creditable, but can you imagine the wrangling that will result if a way of legally removing statues was introduced? There is always someone who will object. I can think of a few statues which should never have been installed.

      2. You don’t even know American history, and you want to have “a reasoned discussion of our past”?!

        The dumbing down of America is complete.

    2. Attacking Churchill is purely an example of that anyone earlier on the social evolution curve is open for criticism. Churchill was a racist and caused misery and death of Indians and others. Churchill was part of the British Empire, that saw themselves as policing the world, the White Man’s Burden, when in fact they were policing that which they pirated. The first rule of a colonial power or thief/no difference, is to lower the recipients of your gifts to a level where they simply need you. Sometimes you can wipe them out, but the dominant power always needs a reason. We’re not savages. Indians were slaughtered and starved to teach them lessons, for the greater good. The greater the distance from the everyman, the easier it is to bear this responsibility. Churchill was born at the top and always stayed at the top. The greatest move Gandhi made was to visit England and put his argument for equality to the workers in the textile mills. At the time England imported raw materials from India, manufactured textiles and then sold the cloth back to the Indians, in a closed economy. The rich got richer. It was the English textile mill worker that understood. That’s how that practice stopped. That’s how the oligarchs in Parliament were persuaded, by the English voter, the everyman. It had much less to do with the token invitation to speak in Parliament.

      For every statue of a Churchill there should be at least one qualifying statue of the real reason for victory. Most edifices to history are simply not complete. Those that are outright wrong like Lee and Davis should be taken down.

      1. Churchill certainly gave a lot of people good reason to detest him, but the statue was raised due to his contribution in the 2WW. To be fair, there should have been a statue of Roosevelt raised beside him.
        I agree. A lot of statues are redundant by todays values. I think most people had forgotten they even existed until the demonstrators started to tear them down.

    3. Had Nazi Germany and the two axis powers won the second world war, then there would be no
      “persons of color”, in whole or in part (part Caucasian) living today to complain about how badly
      some of their ancestors were treated.

      1. Which makes one wonder who has subverted the BLM cause. I remember a study of some advertisements in the sixties. The ads were very memorable and very popular, the trouble was people remembered the ads but not what the ads were addressing. It seems to me that now BLM has become a body mainly concerned with toppling statues, rather than a body concerned with black rights, anti-slavery and social justice. Have they been hi-jacked? They are drawing antagonism to their cause, not gaining supporters by this. The latest statue target covered with BLM graffitti, is Robert the Bruce, accused of being a racist king. He died a couple of centuries before the issue of black slavery occurred, although white slavery by Barbary pirates was fairly recent. There goes support from the Scots.

    4. It’s not puzzling at all. They are working up a fit of rage against white men. When they feel emboldened enough they will come for living white men instead of dead ones.

      You must surely understand this. Being puzzled at this point is obtuse. Survival requires insight. Develop it soon, please.

      1. Dude, they’re mostly white men … and women.

        Buy the program with the scorecard. You need it.

      2. Fair comment. They are certainly instigating hatred against innocent targets. None of us are responsible for the actions of our ancestors, especially the ancestors of the upper classes who had and have a consistent record of exploiting everybody, This justifying striking at any person of a group where some individuals caused you harm are not Western rule of law values where people are held responsible for their own acts, not the acts of their relatives, ancestors, family, community, tribe etc. These are feudal/tribal values, seen still in some parts of the world. For instance in India, if a woman is raped by a man of a different section of society, it is considered satisfactory for a woman of the wronged group to be raped. These values enable the guilty to escape scot free as innocent scapegoats are punished for their crimes. I don’t want to live under such feudal/tribal values. I don’t attack men on an arbitrary basis because some men have abused me in the past, so I certainly don’t want to be targeted because some of the ancestors of the present day ruling class were moral retards and criminals.

  10. During the French Revolution the madness and fervor to erase the past caused the destruction of much of France’s heritage. Churches were defiled. The largest basilica, Cluny, was almost completely erased and its material used for new construction. Statues, 500 years old were destroyed. Ancient kings were dug up and dumped.

    The first move of a despot is to turn history into a void and then fill it with whatever is needed to support the new regime. In this case removing some statues, those of leaders of the tyranny of the South, might be acceptable but memorials to the soldiers that fought and died for a cause they never understood should be maintained but enhanced with the full story. The ignorant soldier that died for a cause that was reduced to simple patriotism is no different from the soldier that went to Vietnam or the German that fought for his fatherland. Society must recognize the difference between the evil that manipulates patriotism and patriotism itself. Tear down Davies, Lee, and all the other oligarchs that fought to enhance their class dependent on slavery. Those that were of a different time should remain but with adequate educational additions. Charlemagne, after conquering a tribe, would offer the choice to the beaten soldiers, the Priest or the chopping block. The beaten warrior could denounce his pagan religion and join the new order or die. Charlemagne’s statues should remain. Jefferson’s and Washington’s as well should stay. The fight against racism should be addressed through the educational system and plaques.

    Jefferson gets dug up from time to time and exposed for the hypocrite he was. Perhaps this clearer view of what drove the ambitions of the mercantile and privileged class of ’76 to include the common man, ignorant and removed from those ambitions; should be focused upon. John Hancock, with his uncle, serviced the British Navy with ships and supplies to remove the Acadians from their lands of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to serve the then colonial United States. Over a thousand died. Those that were installed in the Caribbean and South watched their heritage of two hundred years burn as they sailed away. Shortly afterwards Hancock saw the writing on the wall and made his fortune supplying the revolution. The American Revolution was not the idea of the average farmer. Those who made up almost all of the fighters of the South did not own slaves. It was the idea of the privileged and enlightened upper class. Ben Franklin was a retired businessman, the quintessential ‘amateur’ of his time.

    If we are to make changes beneficial to the people of this country we need to understand its history more clearly and accurately. Blind patriotism and polarized allegiance is not the answer.

    1. Im surprised that Isaac the Canadian interjecting his foreign influence has actually formed a couple paragraphs that I generally agree with, finally. For the most part.

      Here I was thinking that my reference to the Massacre of Verden by Carolus Magnus two weeks ago would go unappreciated. Gee thanks Isaac,the%20massacre%2C%20the%20entry%20reads%3A&text=There%20he%20called%20to%20his,induced%20the%20people%20to%20rebel.

  11. It goes without saying that no human is or has been perfect, and some less so than others, and we should weigh accomplishments against sins in judging. What Jefferson left us that lasts – and Washington – in my opinion and I think that of history – far outweighs his sins regarding slavery, ugly as they were. A discussion of the case each way before a decision on monuments would be further enlightening and hopefully help illuminate the principles at stake. Bring it.

    1. PS Senator Duckworth, who left 2 legs in Iraq, did not say she was open to “tearing down Washington’s statue”, she said she was open to a discussion about taking it down. I personally oppose the former but wholeheartedly support the latter. Is that too subtle for a law professor?

      1. bythebook, I keep hearing that there should be a “discussion.” This looks like a reasonable solution and yet, if those same people who support a “discussion” don’t allow for those with opposing POVs the ability and freedom to engage in such “discussion,” then those advocating “discussion” really don’t support it at all. “Discussion” cannot be done when thugs are taking things into their own hands (and ropes) to tear everything down. “Discussion” cannot be done when people lose their livelihoods for stating an opinion. Why not just admit that you prefer “force” over “discussion?”

  12. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”(John 8:7b xref Deut. 17:6, NASB).As long as we have imperfect people, virtue signalling is just preference. A moral code (universal) is not found by popular opinion. It has to be initiated by an impartial being outside of the human sphere who has the good of ALL people in mind. Just like the founders said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” That is not what is happening today. People are taking it upon themselves to decide what the rights of others are. We have laws for a reason.

  13. Anderson Cooper is another perfect product of a diminished gene pool.

    1. Thomas Jefferson is also the author of the Declaration of Independence and his words set the stage for equality for all. It’s a complicated story just like all of human history. It’s important that people understand both the good and bad. Unfortunately there is an entire generation growing up to think our founding fathers were monsters and therefore they did nothing good. And now those kids seek to tear everything down. If you tear down the statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, etc then there is no limit to what you’ll do.

      1. His words obviously had no meaning for many including those he kept enslaved throughout his lifetime. (He did free two slaves while alive, one of whom purchased his freedom). After his death, most of his remaining slaves were sold to pay off his debts. Lofty words that only applied to some are just words.
        I haven’t made a statement about tearing down Jefferson’s statues, had it not been for COVID-19, I would have visited Monticello this summer though admittedly I would have been on the lookout for how truthful the tales they tell are. There are those who say keep the stories but tell the whole story to put them in context. I’m putting them in context.

        1. His words have long-term meaning.

          They set the stage for emancipation and women voting.

          They put rights into the human condition, as endowed by our Creator, rather than from the government, and that our government is to preserve and defend said rights.

          He fell terribly short of the ideals he set forth, but as a legacy to humanity, it is our job to keep reaching.

          ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?’

            1. I think you’re wrong on this one Enigma. Jefferson was responsible for ideas and a government that made valuable contributions to millions of lives. including blacks after the CR movement. We can hold his actions regarding slaves against him and recognize his positive and important contributions at the same time.

              1. I can recognize his positive contributions, he did a remarkable job in agriculture and architecture. His words regarding equality and freedom did not apply to all and giving him credit for things that happened well over a hundred years later isn’t my thing if it wasn’t anything he intended.

                1. Establishing principles others extend to their logical conclusions is no small thing.

                  1. Creating the legal framework whick made slave-breeding more profitable and raping his own slaves is no small thing either. The very first day he could end the International Slave Trade (Article 1 Clause 9, Section 1 of the Constitution which was a deal between South Carolina slavers and primarily Virginia slavers to protect the import of slaves for a minimum of twenty years) Jefferson did so which immediately enriched he and fellow Virginia slaveowners. No small thing either.

                    1. Are you suggesting that you would have preferred him to keep International Slave Trade legal in the US??? If there is some background or nuance I’m missing, please let me know b/c I haven’t heard this viewed negatively before.

                    2. View it as protectionism to increase the price of domestic slaves in contrast to the cheaper African imports. Virginia and Maryland had excess slaves as tobacco was already needing less slaves because failure to rotate crops and other reasons had forced farmers to turn to less labor intensive crops. At the same time, the increased need for slaves further south to harvest rice, sugar, and cotton made slaves a cash crop. Slaves became Virginia’s greatest export, far exceeding tobacco as a result of ending the International Slave Trade. It might have happened earlier but South Carolina legislators only agreed to join the Union if they got twenty years of assurance the International Slave Trade would continue, protecting Charleston which was the nation’s largest port at the time for receiving African slaves.
                      My preference would have been there be no slavery at all but that was never an option.

                    3. [replying here because of of word press limitations]

                      thanks for the reply about my question regarding the International Slave Trade. We can both agree that we wished there was no slavery. But you didn’t answer my question about if you would have preferred Jefferson to not end International Slave Trade.

                    4. One approach was to brimg millions of people across the ocean, a high percentage of which lost their lives during the passage and those that survived were destined to a lifetime of slavery and most likely brutality.
                      The other approach was to force domestic slaves to give birth every two years on average, 20% of these women died in childbirth and most of those forced pairings were either rape or pairings at the behest of their master.
                      Jefferson ended the International slave trade to enrich himself at the expense of the female slaves who would endure repeated rape. It was a heinous act that replaced another heinous act. I’m at a loss to choose one over the other but have no problem condemning the man and mind that could conceive of what he did.

              1. What did he do in his life to suggest he meant them to include everyone then? You might think it bitter, can you claim it’s not accurate? Forced slave breeding for profit, what’s going to make me forget that part?

                1. enigma – white Irish slaves were forced to breed with black male slaves in the hopes of mulatto slaves for the household. We don’t forget either and we are expecting reparations both from whites and blacks.

                  1. While there certainly were Irish indentured servants, most of whom voluntarily entered into contracts to earn passage to America. I’ve seen no evidence of Irish slaves in America, not that some weeren’t treated as such. The vast majority of mulattoes were the product of white masters, friends, and family, rapint their Black slaves. The Colonists changed the laws to make slavery follow the mother’s bloodline ensuring every child of a female slave was also a slave. I have seen dozens of articles disputing the myth of Irish slaves, none documenting the alleged phenomenon.

                    1. enigma – 1) as far as I can tell G. Maxwell is still alive so the non-prize is not yours 🙁 2) I have a good article that I have dropped on Turley twice, I will keep looking for it.

                    2. There are tales of Irish slaves in the Caribbean but I’ve yet to learn of any in America. Also, by law, children born to white women would be legally free according to Partus Sequitur Ventrem, though when some white women on the plantation “accidentally” gave birth to a brown child, it was more convenient to sell them off to another plantation despite their technical freedom.

                    3. enigma – I think the book is out. Stelter is doing an audio version on his show.

                    4. Some journalists and tv hosts have the book, I’ve heard plenty of excerpts including how the family perpetrated a massive tax fraud, and how Trump debates women, nothing you don’t already know.

                    5. honestlawyer – I hope they have her on tape and have the tapes by then, assuming you are correct.

                  2. Paul C……..instead of a nonprize for correctly predicting Maxwell’s “accidental death”, why not offer two tickets to “Hamilton”? 😎

                    1. If Paul has tickets to Hamilton, I am entitled to first dibs. Paul, if youre out there and you are seeing this, I am owed 2 tickets to Hamilton.

                      Let me know, thanks.

                    2. Cindy Bragg – Broadway is closed until 2021, My local theatre is closed for the year. And who is going to pay?

                  3. Paul C…….I thought I heard that Hamilton was closing anyway?? So the tix were just a joke. Maybe ther’ll be an all-white version? 🙂


                  Frederick Douglass made the point more elegantly than you. And he actually personally physically suffered it.

                  I am not sure why black people today in 2020 so far hence, feel the fresh anger as if they all suffered precisely what Douglass did. do you consider that whatever slights and harms you count on your ledger, are equivalent to, or perhaps may be added to, his, to be collected with interest, so many decades and generations later?

                  This would be a little bit like Irishman walking around these days complaining nonstop about the potato famine as if they personally had starved. And the English owed them a restitution. Is this reasonable? Perhaps you think it is.

                  Shall we all cherish our ancestral grudges? I have a few of my own I could grind if it was worth the bother.

                  1. I am not sure why black people today in 2020 so far hence, feel the fresh anger as if they all suffered precisely what Douglass did.

                    1. Some of them don’t, but it’s a conformist culture and they don’t say anything.

                    2. Some of them do for all the reasons in their lives people feel anger, justified and unjustified. This is a socially sanctioned means of expression. That’s it’s asinine and non sequitur notwithstanding.

                    3. For some of them, it’s just performance art. They need a bloody good hiding.

                3. Enigma,
                  You do not have to forget. It shouldn’t be.

                  The words are True. They shook the foundations of a world that had at all times before not conceived that ‘all men were created equal’ or that rights are simply part of being human, as endowed by our Creator, rather than granted as privileges by the government, a king, and that people can govern themselves rather than be governed.

                  Jefferson felt the contradiction. “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” I do not know why he persisted in the hypocrisy when he hated what it meant for the concept of liberty.


                  His words have had positive ramifications for all peoples. His words resulted in freedom for millions.

                  His words were ensconced into our system of government and the philosophy of the American people.

                  The man was not perfect. He is not memorialized for perfection but for his contributions to humanity via the Declaration of Independence and his ideas about liberty and education.

                  Should he never have written these things? The values have gone unuttered?

                  1. “Should he never have written these things? The values have gone unuttered?” If he only intended them for white males, his words might as well have been unuttered.

                4. Overall, do you think Jefferson helped or harmed the ability of slaves to become free? I’m not asking if he could or should have done less, but if you think he helped at all.

                  1. I think Jefferson was of no hel[p whatsoever in helping slaves become free. His alleged wringing his hands about the situation while he did nothing says it all. Actions speak louder than words.

                    1. OK, I can respect your perspective and opinion because yes he did wring his hands but didn’t free his own slaves.

                      I think it’s fair to conclude that he still helped end slavery itself because slavery was an English institution that he inherited and by being a key player in the revolution against England, he helped end slavery. We don’t know if or when slavery would have ended had the US not won the revolution, and some historians make the point that England was trying to abolish slavery anyway. However, their anti-slave laws didn’t apply to their colonies and they were at the heart of the international slave trade after the American Civil War. As such, I do think that Jefferson, despite his personal hypocrisy, did indeed help end US slavery.

                      But again, I see your point and we need not agree.

                    2. You know slavery ended in the United States long after England? The Revolutionary War extended slavery in America and slavery was embedded in the Constitution created afterward. Jefferson did write the Virginia Constitution which perpetuated slavery as opposed to say, John Jay who helped if New York of slavery though he himself was a slave owner. Jay also freed many of his slaves during his lifetime, something Jefferson hardly considered. I don’t see any action Jefferson took to end slavery but definitely can point out how he extended it.

                    3. If I’m not mistaken, manumission under Virginia law then in effect required posting bonds, which Jefferson was unable to do because he was a net debtor. Washington could free his slaves posthumously because Mt. Vernon was a going concern commercially.

                    4. [replying here due to WP limitations]
                      Legalized slavery ended on English soil in 1772, but it was still legal in their colonies including their American holdings.

                      Because England knew the US was ending their international slave trade in 1807, England did the same and timed their prohibition accordingly. However slavery in British colonies remained legal until 1833.

                      Now, when you say that England banned slavery before the US, that is true, but only because the England lost their most profitable slave colonies and then gave up the practice. Moreover, because they didn’t give up on international slave trade until the US did, had the US not ended international slave trade the British wouldn’t have, either. That would have made it far, far less likely that they would have ended slavery in their colonies in 1833.

                      As such, it’s a rather meaningless point to make that legalized slavery ended in England before the US, because England was reacting to what America was doing – had the US not broken away and had the US not ended it’s own international slave trade, England’s own colonial slavery would have continued much longer and likely much later than 1865 since there were still lucrative markets throughout the Atlantic slave colonies.

                    5. England didn’t ban their International slave trsding because they were copying the United States, it was a reaction to the successful Haitian revolution where the slaves overthrew their French masters. That created a ripple throughout the world, it led to France dumping the Louisiana Territory to get rid of future slave problems. Of course, neither England or the US had any intention of ending slavery at the time. The thought that the British Empire followed the lead of their upstart former colonies is ludicrous.

                5. Enigma, I don’t think it necessary to imagine – pretend would be a better word – that he intended to include everyone for his accomplishment to be lauded and appreciated. The question can be not was he a good guy, but did he accomplish something of note that positively affected millions, and if he did, he should be remembered, in my opinion, bad parts and all.

                    1. You are endowed by your Creator with inalienable rights. You are created equal.

                      You are benefitting from a government that endeavors to preserve, defend, and protect those rights. Could it improve? Yes. Keeping a car on the road requires many small corrections over time.

                    2. My heroes are named Beowulf, and Achilles. They came before Tom Jeff’s time. And when his name is forgotten, theirs will live on.

                    3. enigma – I took a grad course in Ancient Warfare and one of the battles we took was Troy. Achilles existed and the war would not have ended if Zeus had not gotten the gods to stay out of the war. The Brad Pitt version was crap on a cracker. There needed to be gods zipping in and out of the battlefield protecting their favorites. That is half the fun of telling the story of the battle. And although Schliemann screwed up the first excavations, we now have a good idea which level of the ancient city was there for the battle.

                      BTW, parts of the remnants of the Greeks are probably the Philistines (Sea Peoples) who attacked and then conquered Egypt. The remnants of Troy stated Rome.

      2. Ivan phrased that as an if when really it is a then statement. they do tear down these statutes and then there is no limit to what they would do

        the real if statement is “if they could” …. and “if we let them”

        those are the real ifs not how far they would go. they would go all the way

        maybe we should go all the way too

        “If you’re going to try, go all the way.
        Otherwise, don’t even start.
        This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.
        It could mean not eating for three or four days.
        It could mean freezing on a park bench.
        It could mean jail.
        It could mean derision.
        It could mean mockery — isolation.
        Isolation is the gift.
        All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.
        And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.
        And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.
        If you’re going to try, go all the way.
        There is no other feeling like that.
        You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.
        You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
        It’s the only good fight there is.”

        1. enigma – blacks owned blacks. Cherokees took blacks with them on the Trail of Tears. If you were skilled labor, you might be allowed to have your own shop in town, with a percentage going to your owner.

          1. “If you were skilled labor, you might be allowed to have your own shop in town, with a percentage going to your owner” If you has an owner, how was it your own shop? It was only the pretense of liberty.

            1. enigma – didn’t Obama say you didn’t build that business?

    2. I am no great fan of Jefferson but more so for all his lofty talk in general and not so much just slavery as a particularly obvious form of hypocrisy

      and yet there is much to admire, he was an inventor and an agriculturalist. certainly he is a mixed figure. I would not favor breaking any historical site, regardless.
      I would suggest however, changing our nickel. Before Massa Tom we had the face of an Indian man on the obverse, and buffalo on the reverse. That one we could change back, happily. I think James Earle Fraser was the artist who crafted those images, a truly great sculptor.

      nonetheless bill m,akes a good point about the domestic breeding of slaves being enhanced in profitability by the ban on importation

      Frederick Douglass made much the same point in a speech from 1852 which I recently read. I forget the title.

      Of course some peaceful protesters ripped Douglass’ statute down too. Figure that one out.

      1. “Of course some peaceful protesters ripped Douglass’ statute down too. Figure that one out.”

        It’s the same sort of backlash that gave us Trump after Obama.

        1. are you saying trump voters pulled it down as opposed to BLM antifa and the rest of their mob who have pulled down a hundred or so other statutes the past 6 weeks?

          if so it would be a man bites dog story wouldnt it

          let us know if you have any proof of who did it btw or just speculating

          1. At this point, just speculating. Whether you agree or not, the motives for taking down other statues appears to be different in this case. We’ll see what develops. BTW, you give far too much credit to ANTIFA for their disruptive behavior and I don’t recall your acknowledging the Boogaloo Boys who thus far have had multiple arrests and murder charges lodged against them in the past 60 days. I’m only posting two examples because of blog rules. There are more.


            1. I I am not associated with nutjobs nor anarchists of any stripe.

              the press is serving up you a dish to your taste with those articles

              I say boogerloo bois are nutjobs and anarchists. just a different type who are fixated on guns instead of heroin perhaps.

              simply gun nut anarchists, that’s all. such little as I have seen of them online, they are loner misfit types whose only slogan is “break more gun laws” by which from their “memes” they appear to mean to use machine guns and explosives to commit murders. that is just pure malevolence, and it actually fits well with ANTIFA’s anarchist agenda.

              There is no basis in fact or reason, based on these two freaks, to include them in the orbit of Trump voters.
              moreover they are a handful of insignificant number. but you guys always see a hood in every pillowcase perhaps, always the bogeymen.

              you might as well call Ted Kazinski a right winger too. Oh, I have heard the argument made!

              Now, I will admit the expression “boogaloo” is amusing to me, as I recall the original movie when it came out decades ago. Its resurfacing in this present time is ironic.

              You can speculate and imagine whatever you like .But if I am going to imagine who pulled Douglass down, I am going to imagine that it was some ANTIFA freaks who were planting a false flag to try and obscure things. IE lets go take this one down too and then people will blame it on Trumpers. Why, they might have even sent some false informant reports to that extent already, throwing a snitch jacket, if you will. Trust me, ANTIFA freaks are thick as thieves with informants and other assorted weaklings and freaks and misfits. Booger bois are just another flavor of the same kind of human dreck.

              1. I didn’t happen to link the Boogaloo Boys with Trump. I do lump them in to the groups that the FBI and Congress fail to hold responsible while they declare ANTIFA “Domestic Terrorists” and start investigating “Black Identity Extremists,” which sounds to me exactly like COINTELPRO from times past. When their little memo got leaked, the FBI now investigates racially charged groups which luimps BLM, the KLAN, NEo-Nazi’s and everyone else together without saying what resources they allocate where. As far as I’m concerned, Trump’s FBI and J. Edgar Hoover’s have much in common.

                1. FBI is indeed doing some of the naughty things that were banned after the Church committee reforms. perhaps they are far beyond where J Edgar was. I am not sure why you would blame that on Trump who is the target of many of their “investigations” the preceeding four years. taht makes no sense

                  i will not defend the FBI nor praise it. Without addressing your assertion about black whatever stuff, I just observe it has a bad track record going back decades for both alleged domestic terrorists and even some supposed foreign ones. their credibility is in shreds as much as ever now.

                  anyhow i found this speech, it was a readable and interesting viewpoint. you should credit Douglass for the source of some of your insights about the domestic american slave trade in the period from whence the importation was banned until the 13th amendment issued.,


                  I encourage my fellow white people to read this work, and to understand that society is not now, never had been, and probably never will be “color blind”
                  For my part I do not need it to be. I do not seek either to troll nor curry favor with black folks only to live in peace as Americans. As much time as I have spent discussing white group interests here, I am pleased to introduce this historical text which speaks to black american group interests.

                  And having read this, please consider, as easily as blacks now consider their own viewpoint, perhaps whites should more openly consider and address our own. It would be a good exercise for us and to practice it without any sort of self abnegation. I feel no debt I am compelled to pay for a social institution i had not part of, nor my parents nor grandparents, but for which my great grandfather lost three elder half brothers in the Yankee infantry. I would say, this mess was not of my making nor do I owe one red cent to be paid to its great great great grandchildren to be paid for it. Keep in mind that the last american born into slavery having been Eliza Moore who died in 1848 at the age of 105 years. So we are way way past it now, when it comes to “statutes of limitations” on collecting some sort of debt. It ‘s a debt that we are presumed to now owe merely because we are white americans as a new generation of black folks bang the pulpit and call us immoral because we are white legacies, in so many words. Which I totally reject.

                  Nonetheless, the words coming from Douglass, held a lot more power. So check them out.

  14. She is one of hundreds of descendants. And, these are not her statues to decide what to do with – they are the public’s. As with the other “mobs”, she is not the sole arbitor. We live in a democracy not a dictatorship. One person doesn’t decide for all of us. Most Americans understand human nature, context and the amazing legacy left by her ancestor. It would be better if she had inherited his wisdom, intelligence, strength and love the of US instead of her ego-centricity. She doesn’t decide because we are not fascists here (except many on the Left) – we are a democracy envisioned by TJ.

  15. Lucian Truscott IV was a staff writer for The Village Voice. He’s just another snide shmuck who gets paid for it. Prominent families have trouble regenerating talent and most disappear after a few generations. Some of the succeeding generations adjust to their inadequacies by trashing their ancestors.

    And what do we have here: a man from an occupational subculture (opinion journalism) that’s chock a block with people who haven’t the skill to produce anything other than words on a page, who don’t really know much about anything but the mechanics of publishing, and who lack the grace to appreciate the work of the people who do what they cannot do (among them, their own ancestors). Such people do not merit our attention.

    1. Well said! You are spot on about Truscott! The hypocrisy gene is still
      Going strong in the Truscotts!

  16. Trustcott is another Nut Job. How can he be related to Jefferson and call for its destruction. Duckworth is a fool? For a Senator? But there are many fools in the Senate and the House.

  17. Put up a photo of the terrorists in public restrooms at the top of the urinal so we can pee on them.

    1. If they’re making the conversation about the likes of Washington and Jefferson, they have us right where they want us. Who would dare say that they shouldn’t touch Confederate monuments some of which were erected, not in the name of white supremacy or intimidation, but reconciliation and healing. Lee did not want disunion and thought slavery immoral, though he could be called hypocritical on this point, just as Jefferson. Beauregard did much to help black Americans after the war. More importantly, secession was a genuine question/issue of the time it was solved only by the war’s end. The premise of regarding Confederates as treasonous is deeply flawed

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