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03_thomas_jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Now Politically Incorrect at the University He Founded

A group of students and professors at the University of Virginia want to give the founder of their school the shaft. In a letter to the university’s president, Teresa Sullivan, they asked her to remove Thomas Jefferson quotes from messages to students, according to the Washington Examiner.

“For many of us, the inclusion of Jefferson quotations in these emails undermines the message of unity, equality, and civility that you are attempting to convey,” the group wrote. Sullivan said in a response that she would not backpedal from quoting Jefferson, according to another report from the Examiner.

The Sage of Monticello—as the author of the Declaration of Independence has often been called in tribute to his home in Charlottesville, Virginia—had such high hopes for the school that he wrote of the students toward the end of his life, “they will exhibit their country in a degree of sound respectability it has never known, either in our days, or in the days of our forefathers. I cannot live to see it. My joy must only be that of anticipation.”

Jefferson was so proud of his creation that he put it on his tombstone, and left off the fact that he was president of the United States. Many generations of students and faculty have shown their appreciation for their school’s founder. According to stories told on campus, students rushed into the school’s rotunda to save a statue of Jefferson in an 1895 fire.

Unfortunately, a few of UVA’s current students think Jefferson’s legacy is problematic.

This is not the first time Jefferson has come under attack. Local chapters of the Democratic Party, which used to celebrate Jefferson as one of its antecedents, have increasingly removed Jefferson’s name from their annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners. Jefferson’s detractors have generally cited his slave ownership as the reason he can no longer be championed.

Though Jefferson was a slave owner, no single document in human history besides maybe the Bible has done more to undermine slavery than the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln was sometimes privately critical of Jefferson, but he gave enormous credit to the Virginian’s philosophy for sealing the institution’s fate.

Lincoln wrote for a Jefferson birthday celebration in 1859:

All honor to Jefferson—to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men at all times, and so to embalm it there, that today, and in all coming days, it should be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

It is particularly sad, but not unexpected, that Jefferson has come under fire at the university he held out such high hopes for. There has been a concerted effort to remove any mention of symbols or great leaders of America’s past who have fallen out of favor with the current political climate.

In the past year alone, activists have attempted to remove monuments across the country: from more controversial Confederate monuments, to Andrew Jackson’s statue in New Orleans, to even paintings of progressive hero Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University.

The justification in most of these cases was that the figures were racist and supported values that are no longer accepted, so they need to be removed from the public sphere entirely.

When does this war on American history stop? If every figure must be held up to the constantly evolving values of the times, we will eventually find that we’ve purged all of the good along with the bad elements of what made this country what it is. We may even find that tomorrow, we are the ones being erased from history. (For more from the author of “Thomas Jefferson Now Politically Incorrect at the University He Founded” please click HERE)

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College Student Labeled ‘Uncle Tom’ for Defending Thomas Jefferson Statue

A conservative student at the University of Missouri was the target of racially motivated attacks on Twitter Tuesday evening, merely for defending a statue of Thomas Jefferson.

“My political beliefs should not be determined by my race, as was suggested by the tweets received today,” Jasmine Wells, the subject of the tweet, told Campus Reform.

Members of the Mizzou College Republicans hosted a “Stand With Jefferson” rally Tuesday to show support for an on-campus statue of Thomas Jefferson. Campus Reform first covered the uproar on Oct. 13 after students defaced the Jefferson statue with post-it notes with phrases such as “Racist,” “Rapist,” and “Slave Owner.”

Today’s event was organized as a direct response to those activities, and somewhat predictably, sparked outrage on Twitter.

Along with the tweet directed at Wells, Twitter users complained that “#StandWithJefferson is fighting for a slave owning rapist’s statue instead of fighting for the ACTUAL RIGHTS of ACTUAL PEOPLE on campus,” and declared, “#StandWithJefferson because white people would rather celebrate a predatory slave owner than admit that #BlackLivesMatter.” (Read more from “College Student Labeled ‘Uncle Tom’ for Defending Thomas Jefferson Statue” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Why the Founding Fathers Matter

It has become typical in school text books, in public discussions, and in the smug wisdom of Progressives, to diminish the words and actions of those who led the founding of the United States. However, now that the nation has gone through what Al Gore called a “wrenching transformation” away from limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty (all major ingredients to making the US the freest and most prosperous nation in history) it’s time to listen again to their wisdom.

Thomas Jefferson warned us to …

Avoid Sustainable Development: “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”

Avoid the Welfare State: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Avoid Massive Government Debt: “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

Avoid Government Over-regulation: “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”

Read more from this story HERE.

Thomas Nelson Pulls David Barton Book on Thomas Jefferson

By Dave Bohon. Christian Bible and book publisher Thomas Nelson announced that it has pulled a book by noted conservative historian David Barton on Founding Father Thomas Jefferson for what it claimed were factual issues with the text. According to the Nashville Tennessean newspaper, Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies, “claims to expose liberal myths about Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation’s third president.”

The publisher began getting cold feet about the book when some historical scholars challenged its factual authenticity, and “a group of ministers from Cincinnati called on Nelson to cancel the book,” reported the Tennessean.

Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications for Thomas Nelson, said that after reviewing a number of complaints about the book, the publisher decided to cancel publication. “Because of these deficiencies, we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to cease its publication and distribution,” said Harrell.

When Thomas Nelson first published The Jefferson Lies, it promoted the book as Barton’s attempt to counter revisionist history and tell the truth about Jefferson. “History books routinely teach that Jefferson was an anti-Christian secularist, rewriting the Bible to his liking, fathering a child with one of his slaves, and little more than another racist, bigoted colonist — but none of those claims are actually true,” declared a Thomas Nelson press release about the book.

One of Barton’s chief antagonists appears to be Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, who is more recognizable as a onetime proponent of reparative therapy for homosexuals, but who took time enough to publish a book attacking Barton’s take on Jefferson. Throckmorton claimed to have closely checked Barton’s work on Jefferson and found that what he wrote didn’t match the available research. “We checked all the footnotes [from Barton’s book] and we found they didn’t support what he wrote,” Throckmorton told the Tennessean.  Read more from this story HERE.

Barton’s Response to the Accuracy of “Jefferson Lies”

By Billy Hallowell. Barton seemed anything but shaken by the controversy when he spoke via telephone with TheBlaze. He freely answered questions about the controversy and explained that he’s prepared to respond to some of the critiques, while dismissing what he believes is an “elevated level of hostility that’s not really rational in many ways.”

While he stands by his central arguments about Jefferson, Barton isn’t pretending to be immune from error. The historian said that the book has already gone through three or four printings and that there have been word and text changes based on spelling or grammar errors along the way. Also, he addressed a willingness to amend historical items, should they be pointed out and proven wrong by other academics.

“Our policy from day one on every book we’ve done [is] that if someone shows us valid things to change, we’ll change them,” Barton said.

He went on to explain that if only one percent of the 5,000 facts that were included in his book are incorrect, that would mean that 50 facts could be viably challenged. But he maintained that he and his research staff work hard to verify and back up each and every tidbit he writes and speaks.

While Barton is perfectly willing to fix errors, he believes that many of the items being raised by Throckmorton, among others, are simply overblown and — also — wrongheaded. He says that the next edition of “The Jefferson Lies” will have changes and additions: many of them will include more sourcing to corroborate his claims in the book (and disprove some of Throckmorton’s views).  Read more from this story HERE.