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About MeI'm a high school American Lit./U.S. History teacher.
Actually, Jefferson never "fought that lie." He never responded to it. He let others do the talking for him. It didn't seem to mess with his political aspirations too much. I find it interesting that you don't want to entertain the idea that Jefferson could be the father of Hemings' children when that was common practice among slaveholders. Why would Jefferson be any different than his neigthbors? He was only forty-six when his wife died, plus she made him promise not to remarry (not cool). This seems like a decent compromise and it didn't break any sort of moral code of the South. I find it interesting that people don't want to see their heroes as humans with human frailties and character flaws. I think it makes them more interesting and as a history teacher, much more interesting to teach about. Yes, those of us who teach or study history know about Callender--Jefferson lied about having financed Callender's anti-federalist pamphleteering before he was arrested. And we also know about Callender's accusations against Jefferson, which included fathering Sally's children. But imagine Jefferson's dilemma while in Paris--he already had a flirtation going on with a French woman and then there's a sweet young thing that's practically Caucasian right under his nose. What's a guy to do? I don't buy that he remained celibate for the rest of his life; that's just not realistic. So what if he fathered children with a partly black woman? Does that negate anything he's done for our country? Of course not. And since when has even THIS become a political issue? Have even issues of historical interest become topics for conservatives and liberals to argue over? How pathetic is that?patty49er
September 24, 2011 on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: A Brief Account