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leigh's picture
Joe User's picture
This is interesting.
Joe User
Joe User's picture
Very useful FAQ.
Joe User
Fred Fichman's picture
Hello to the community! I just joined and wanted to say hello. I hope to become a regular participant with information, comments and contributions to the discussion. To learn a bit more about me you can go to my website(s). Happy to meet all of you here online. Fred, and
Frederick Fichman
APGifts's picture
. Please Note -- Sarah ("Sally") Hemings was NOT a 'Black' person! . .
H2Times's picture
To free the slaves or not free the slaves? This question, about why Thomas Jefferson did not ultimately free his slaves has intrigued me for a long time, not to mention his intellect and hypocrisy. His views on slavery had a very good surface quality but ultimately he lived most of his life as a slave owner. Jefferson, a great man of American History presented a strong argument against the practice of chattel slavery. However, his views about Africans in general were typical for the times and collided with his desire to free people in bondage. Jefferson helped to instill into White culture the notion that Blacks were inferior. Men who viewed themselves as superior and as the civilizers of cultures showed great hubris with their racist views even though there was no evidence supporting race inferiority based in science. Jefferson was conflicted about slavery and manumission perhaps because the financial repercussions of freeing his slaves would have caused him financial hardship. To his credit, he eventually freed a handful of slaves but not enough to make a difference. One thing I do agree with is his assertion that the slave population needed to be trained for life outside of bondage. Perhaps his contention that Blacks were inferior and dumb made him feel as though he needed to save them from themselves. Why did men like Thomas Jefferson view Blacks with such little regard? Jefferson studied the works of the 18th century Swedish scholar, Carl von Linnaeus. In 1735 Linnaeus produced a work called Systema Naturae. In one section of the work Linnaeus classified four races of people, American Indians, Whites, Asians and African. Without the benefit of even a shred of science Black people were classified as lazy, phlegmatic and governed by caprice. Linnaeus unwittingly set the groundwork for generational racism without having any proof. Justifying slavery became easy for the superior Whites because after all the Blacks were not human. Jefferson’s theories of Black inferiority continued the theme of non-scientific stereotyping when he suggested that if White blood were mixed with Black blood the person would be more capable both mentally and physically than a pure Negro. Was that his reason for his interest in Sally Hemings? Jefferson was also very practical because he knew he could not part with the free labor force. Without the slaves he could not sustain his lifestyle. Let’s take Jefferson’s claim that African’s required less sleep. Well, if one’s livelihood depended on a free labor force that worked from sunrise to sunset each day, saying that slaves don’t require sleep makes the reality less hurtful. Remember, the slaves did not have souls and did not feel pain like humans after all. He could not understand that slaves needed to socialize after having been out in the fields all day. Jefferson said, “A Black, after hard labor, through the day, will be induced by the slightest amusement to sit up till midnight, or later, though knowing he must be out with the first dawn of the morning.” How could he know that the slaves needed to bond with one another and assure family and friends that somehow they will make it through the torturous times ahead. It must have made Jefferson feel good about himself to think he was not straining and overworking slaves because after all, they required less sleep. This cognitive dissonance was prevalent among the majority of slave masters and consequently society at large. The wounds of slavery have been slow to heal since they were opened in the 17th century.
cwollerton's picture
Dr. De Anda, That is probably Hope with Cupid -
cwollerton's picture
Peggy, It will be on the West Lawn. We expect a big crowd, but maybe not as a large as our July 4 ceremonies. We will have several hundred chairs out.
Chad's picture
Where wil the 9:30 event be held? And will there be enough room for lots of people? Peggy Van Yahres
PraiseDrummer's picture
To all those that argue over Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. Those saying no to the liason, and those that say it existed really need to look deeply at the history, both oral and what "little bit" of written history there is. This is what is written and proven. Sally (SARAH) was the daughter of Elizabeth Hemmings, who was known by written history to have had a sexual relationship with John Wayles, Jefferson's father in-law. This would make Jefferson's wife the half sister of Sally. More than one source says that Martha (his wife) made him promise not to re-marry, probably because of her life with step-mothers and not wanting her children to endure such a life. When Jefferson was in France, Sally accompanied Patsy, Jefferson's daughter to France when Sally was around 14. She spent three years there with her primary friend being her brother James. She could have asked the French Government to become free and left, but she didn't. In that period, it would have been approved. Conjecture says that she learned a great deal in France. Sometime in those years, she and Mr. Jefferson are supposed to have become more than Master/Slave. For all of those that think this strange, remember that the age of consent for "white" girls at the time was 10. Mr. Jefferson persuaded her return to Virginia, even promising to release all of her future children at age 21. HE KEPT THIS PROMISE! Sally was pregnant at the time they came back to Monticello. Since she was a slave in the home of Jefferson in France, it is doubtful she ran around at 15-17 looking for someone to have sex with, especially since for most of the time, she didn't even know the language. This leaves Jefferson. It is written that she was beautiful, probably had a resemblance to Martha, very importantly, had her mannerisms, having been part of his wife's inner-sanctum since her birth. With all that said, here is the truth of everything. In looking at the man that was Thomas Jefferson, one needs to walk in his shoes. He lost his wife to childbirth. It was written that “he was morose for months.” In Sally, he may have found something he lost. We will never know. However, it makes no difference as to who he was. His place in the founding our nation remains unchanged. His granddaughters adored him and called him “Grand Papa.” His service to our new country was invaluable. He was the “notoriety” of the neighborhood when he was home from Washington City and really got tired of being the center of attention. Let me put it this way. We may never know the WHOLE truth of the Hemmings/Jefferson connection. I propose this. None of you lived during his time, went through his trials and hardships. None of you can even attempt to imagine Sally's feelings, why she made the decisions that we know about, and know enough about her opportunities to know why she made the choices she did. Let's address the dignity of each, the stations they lived in life, and realize that we will NEVER really get it. Those are my thoughts. The loneliness of Jefferson, the uncertainty of a young enslaved woman's life, may have made the match more possible or less possible. WHO KNOWS?
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