Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
This collection captures Jefferson as a polemicist for liberty -- the poet of the glorious cause and the rights of man. Jefferson’s pen elevated the American Revolution into something higher than an anti-colonial quest for independence. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “all honor to Jefferson - to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.”
An account of how Jefferson was elevated into the American Pantheon, joining Washington and Lincoln as sacred figures in the American mind. Peterson sees Franklin Roosevelt as a key figure in the rehabilitation of Jefferson’s image, which reached its nadir during and after the American Civil War. FDR led the effort to build the beautiful Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, helped to restore Monticello, and insisted that Jefferson’s visage adorn the nickel. Roosevelt believed that Jefferson’s elevation into America’s secular trinity would serve as a healthy counterweight to the Federalist George Washington and to the Republican Abraham Lincoln.
The remaining books I am recommending tend to be more critical of Jefferson and more sympathetic toward his Federalist rivals:
Ellis portrays a complex Jefferson who was able to “compartmentalize” the various contradictions in his life, contradictions which were quite pronounced. For instance, President Jefferson violated his own embargo which was designed to pressure Britain and France to cease their harassment of American shipping on the high seas. The President ordered an expensive piano from England but massaged his conscience by “keep[ing] it in storage” until after the embargo was lifted. Ellis offers an insightful account of the Sage of Monticello’s shifting stance on the place of slavery in the new nation – toward the end of his life Jefferson came to believe that northern hostility to slavery was part of a scheme to oppress the southern states.
A critical account of Jefferson’s presidency from a historian who is sympathetic to Alexander Hamilton. McDonald once described Jefferson’s embargo of 1807 as having the same effect as “a flea trying to stop a dog-fight by threatening suicide.” McDonald notes that President Jefferson met with considerable success in his first term, in part by overcoming his constitutional scruples and acquiring 827,000 square miles of the Louisiana territory from France for 15 million dollars. However, Jefferson’s attempt to purge a hostile Federalist dominated judiciary and undo much of Hamilton’s financial plan met with less success. Jefferson deftly controlled Congress from behind the scenes, although over time the more radical wing of the Jeffersonian coalition began to question the President’s commitment to the Democratic-Republican ideology. Jefferson and his allies gutted the American military in order to cut federal spending and balance the budget – actions that had near-catastrophic consequences during the War of 1812.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
This is only a brief account, and readers are encouraged to read and examine all of the evidence For example,“. . . Robert Turner's 'The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy: Report of the Scholars Commission' (Carolina Academic Press, 2011) . . . presents a substantial argument for the position that Hemings's paternity is still unknown.” — Alan Pell Crawford, Wall Street Journal, Sat., April 14, 2012, p. C8.
However, while for some doubts may persist, an honest review of the arguments leaves one to wonder why the claims are so often accepted as truth.
By: J. David Gowdy, President & Founder, The Washington, Jefferson & Madison Institute
See also: "Thomas Jefferson vs. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation" https://wjmi.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-thomas-jefferson-foundation-vs.html