|About the Book|
We should not be so hasty to charge the historical figures of yesterday by the moral standards of today. Without Jeffersons Declaration of Independence, human society would be so much worse off, in so many ways. To besmirch his memory as is most constantly done with the usual tagline ...but he owned slaves! is ignorant and only proves that whoever is talking probably has never even read his work.Just as someone claiming Benjamin Franklin was an atheist only proves the same point, when Franklin absolutely made no such claims and in fact said quite the opposite. Modern critics and persons interested (as I am) in preserving Native American culture would be no less horrified at Jeffersons desecration of an Indian Burial ground noted in his Notes on Virginia. However this appears to a modern eye Jefferson was only making in his mind an honest scientific inquiry. Much the same might be said of some of his perceived conclusions that blacks are in some ways different than whites, while all the whiles- and in every sector- acclaiming the rights of man and the abhorrence of slavery. Without which this country could never have been begun. It was not Jefferson who pulled the anti-slavery language from the Declaration, but other members of the Continental Congress. He himself reproached the slave trade and in fact makes note it was the British who inflicted it on America while still colonies, not that it was an American oppression of Africans.That he himself had familial relations with one of his own slaves says less that he abused his property sexually or he was somehow hypocritical, than he respected their humanity and made their freedom a condition of one of his last bequests. This earth would never have known such a thing as the Declaration of Independence to begin with, without Thomas Jeffersons courageous beliefs. They helped to found a great nation, which has, over the course of 200+ years, strayed quite far from the vision of Jefferson and Franklin. So all Americans would do themselves a Great Favor by re-reading the Declaration of Independence in its initial form (as published here) if only to recognize how far that straying has taken place, mostly unnoticed, in the halls of the very institutions Jefferson helped immeasurably to create.