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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson

de bene esse: literally, of well-being, morally acceptable but subject to future validation or exception

We can be forgiven for interrogating Jefferson posthumously about slavery. We are not judging him by today’s standards; many people of his own time, taking Jefferson at his word and seeing him as the embodiment of the country’s highest ideals, appealed to him. When he evaded and rationalized, his admirers were frustrated and mystified; it felt like praying to a stone. The Virginia abolitionist Moncure Conway, noting Jefferson’s enduring reputation as a would-be emancipator, remarked scornfully, “Never did a man achieve more fame for what he did not do.”
A new portrait of the founding father challenges the long-held perception of Thomas Jefferson as a benevolent slaveholder
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM

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