Thomas Jefferson and Me

I was going to write this as a comment on my last post but decided that it would be better if this idea got a post of it’s own.

I don’t think I’ve talked about my life before coming to Earlham, so I think this is a good time to do that.  In my previous academic life, I was a government/political science major, so Old ‘Massa Thom and I have a relationship and it started long before I entered college. I know the problems that are created by viewing/reading history through modern morality. However my belief that ‘Massa Thom would have a problem with a “half-breed” becoming President of the U.S. is not based on 20th and 21st century thought. I firmly believe that I’m using what we know of Jefferson’s OWN thought.

Let’s not forget that Jefferson (and Lincoln too for that matter) was for the re-patriation of Africans on the African continent, not keeping them here, should/when emancipation come/came. Jefferson (and Lincoln too) did not believe that Africans and Whites could live together if/once slavery ended. And in some of his writings Jefferson describes those of African descent as being below monkeys in terms of intelligence.

Forgive me if I think that Tuesday would not have caused happiness in Jefferson’s heart. I don’t think it would have.


3 thoughts on “Thomas Jefferson and Me

  1. Again, if we assumed that Thomas Jefferson hasn’t learned anything in the last 200 years, you’re certainly correct.

    My point was merely that these famous guys of the past, Jefferson especially, were very smart but didn’t have the information that we have that racism is not supported by science. During Jefferson’s time, most of the well-respected scientists didn’t even believe that the races had originated from the same place. Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive article on scientific racism that makes it pretty clear that Jefferson’s views were right in line with what the Stephen Hawkings and Albert Einsteins of his day were telling him.

    I have trouble believing that Jefferson, who was well-known for loving science as I’m sure you know, didn’t have most of his views because he thought they were based in scietific fact. And I have trouble believing that if he were allowed to catch up a bit on the science of today that he wouldn’t be won over.

    But yeah, if you woke Jefferson up and immediately asked him, I’m sure he’d be shocked and appalled. Just like if you woke up Newton and told him about chaos theory or woke up George Washington and asked him about modern foreign policy. Hell, Shakespere would be amazed that tomatoes weren’t poisonous. In his day, scientists believed that they were.


  2. “Forgive me if I think that Tuesday would not have caused happiness in Jefferson’s heart. I don’t think it would have.”

    After doing the initial research that led to my comments on that other post I don’t think there is any need to forgive you at all Kim. I was hoping that Thomas Jefferson might come out looking a bit better than Abraham Lincoln, if not a lot better than him. . . but was unpleasantly enlightened about his unquestionably racist “expressed attitudes” if not ideology. Amongst other things I found this readworthy AtlanticOnline article as a result of my free and responsible search for the truth and meaning of the “expressed attitudes” of Thomas Jefferson. I was already aware of some of the racist White Supremacist “expressed attitudes” of Abraham Lincoln. I really was hoping for better from Thomas Jefferson.

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