Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

What do you think of accounts that have Thomas Jefferson as their avatar, and criticize Obama?

The Slaveowners in Your Wallet

http://www.nas.com/~lopresti/wallets.htm

Thomas Jefferson on slavery

http://www.nas.com/~lopresti/ps3.htm

"1807: TJ told an English diplomat that the Blacks were “as far inferior to the rest of mankind as the mule is to the horse, and as made to carry burdens.” "

"(approximately) 1814: “The amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent.” "

"1820: (Discussing slavery) “We have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale and self-preservation in the other.” "

Sally Hemings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Hemmings

http://images.google.com/images?gbv=2&hl=en&safe=o...

Opinions of Early Presidents about Slavery

http://academic.udayton.edu/race/02rights/slave05....

As for those who bleat "It was the times", here's this:

"Were the Presidents who owned Slaves “Men of Their Time?”"

http://www.nas.com/~lopresti/mentime.htm

"Many slave owners in the Federal Era admitted (at least privately) that slavery was a bad thing. (Positions hardened later as the cotton gin made slavery more profitable and abolitionists became more vocal.) Most slave-owners held onto their slaves.

But not all. Men like Carter and Coles talked the talk and walked the walk. If our leaders were “men of their time” then these others must have been “ahead of their time.” But if they could do it, why not Jefferson, Lee, Henry, Madison and Monroe? (Credit where it’s due: Washington arranged for most of his slaves to be freed after the death of him and his wife.)

Our founding fathers may have felt they had good reasons (political, social, financial, legal, even religious) for not freeing their slaves. But we can not claim that the reason was that no one else was doing it. That is an insult to men like Robert Carter III , who, as Andrew Levy suggests, may be ignored in the history books simply because he embarrasses those of us who esteem the founders.

Carter and Coles deserve their places as well."

Update:

.

texaslibsticker,

So you're saying that he didn't own slaves?

btw, I'm Canadian.

Update 2:

justgoodfolk,

Good answer--as usual.

Didn't Theodore Roosevelt refer to Tom Paine as a "dirty little ateist"?

http://www.tomandrodna.com/Nick_Gier/Tom_Paine_012...

Here are some more of his quotes:

Theodore Roosevelt

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Theodore_Roosevelt

Here's a similar, open, question:

"Who really cares what the founding fathers would think?"

http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylc=X3...

Update 3:

.

justgoodfolk,

"As some of your very own links make clear he was certainly not a totally unapologetic

excuser or supporter let alone militant defender of slavery"

and some murder convicts are not totally unapologetic excusers or supporters of murder.

Update 4:

I'm unsure about the legacy, or at least the lionization, of Jefferson;

and I'm certainly not opposed to criticizing Jefferson;

but avatars mean something to me.

For instance, if someone with Leon Trotsky as an avatar wants to have a go at Obama, chances are, that person is one well-aquatinted and appreciative of leftist and progressive issues

--and is probably mad at the hypocrisies and inadequacies of Obama.

If, however, someone criticising Obama has a Confederate Flag, or the portrait of a former slave owner--however pretty were his words, or how more wisely he spent the profit from his slave labour--then there's a decent chance that the person has some issues with racism.

Update 5:

As for the Constitution and the DOI.

The Constitution was so bad, Jefferson had to include the Bill of Rights, which allow you to own guns (arguably), but also permits slavery.

The DOI had some racist comments about Native Americans and the Bill of Particulars was pretty one-sided.

The fact is, he and his ilk--including more conservative variations--owned perhaps 1/3rd of

American males as property--women's lack of volition was largely presumed.

Meanwhile, in the British empire, slavery was outlawed a few decades before the US Civil War, which was arguably, partially a result of over a disagreement interpretation of the US Constitution--thus indicating flaws.

I believe it was Gloria Steinem who said, "The personal is the political"

Update 6:

Thomas Jefferson and slavery

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_...

Thomas Jefferson

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson

Talk--Native America genocide:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Thomas_Jefferson...

Talk--Slavery:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Thomas_Jefferson...

Thomas Jefferson Radical and Racist.

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/96oct/obrien/obr...

"In the multiracial American future Jefferson will not be thought of as the Sage of Monticello. His flaws are beyond redemption. The sound you hear is the crashing of a reputation."

"Obama is not a descendant of slaves and his race should really be irrelevant to the question who gets to criticize him and who doesn't."

It is, insofar that he's black, and American slavery was justified by blackness--and yes people, I know his mother was white.

Doesn't matter.

Sally Hemings was a quadroon.

Update 7:

I'm unsure about the legacy, or at least the lionization, of Jefferson;

and I'm certainly not opposed to criticizing Jefferson;

but avatars mean something to me.

For instance, if someone with Leon Trotsky as an avatar wants to have a go at Obama, chances are, that person is one well-aquatinted and appreciative of leftists and progressive issues

--and is probably mad at the hypocrisies and inadequacies of Obama.

If, however, someone criticism Obama has a Confederate Flag, or the portrait of a former slave owner--however pretty were his words, or how more wisely he spent the profit from his slave labour--then there's a decent chance that the person has some issues with racism.

Update 8:

oops,

I meant

"and I'm certainly not opposed to criticizing Obama;"

Sorry.

:-D

Update 9:

Sorry about some duplication here and a mix-up.

There was a storm when I was posting the extras and Yahoo has done this before.

Update 10:

.

justgoodfolk,

Typical of your explanations of views that I don't completely aggree with,

they are too well thought-out to give them a quick answer

--so I won't

--they deserve much better.

I'll print this and others out and peruse them over the weekend.

However, I wonder if "color", if you will, influences things.

If we had Thomas Jefferson avatar going on against the Pope, excesses in Communism (or popular conceptions of Communism), Islamic fundies, et al; I wouldn't mind.

I even tolerate the Confederate flag avatar, if the person kept their questions to the music of, say, John Lee Hooker vis-a-vis BB King.

But this flaw of Jefferson, however it may be redeemed overal by the more positive aspects of his legacy, is too specific to the issue of the black president, however bourgeois-fied he, and pal Ophrah, might have become, to be ignored.

8 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I see nothing wrong with it. As some of your very own links make clear he was certainly not a totally unapologetic excuser or supporter let alone militant defender of slavery but even if he would have been he's a whole lot more than that

    The declaration of independence he wrote is one of the most liberating and progressive documents in history and the language chosen in the US constitution allowed for the further emancipation of minorities later on.

    Thomas Jefferson like the rest of the Founding Fathers was a man, not a God

    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-reverence.htm

    I don't believe the many flaws he had disqualify the enormous good he did for humanity and understand people who pick him as an avatar and don't see a racial connotation to their choice

    Obama is not a descendant of slaves and his race should really be irrelevant to the question who gets to criticize him and who doesn't. I'm siding with Teddy Roosevelt on that one

    "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

    "Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149, May 7, 1918

    EDIT I have to disagree with equating a confederate flag and Thomas Jefferson. I draw the same conclusions as yyou do about the confederate flag but don't extend that to Jefferson. I disagree with the article that says his sins and so on. I don't share that opinion. He was backward, people who lived hundred of years ago usually are. I'm not gonna project my contemporary judgement on people who lived then and ride my high horse of moral superiority to condemn this great man. That's too easy. How many people have the guts to go against the delusions of their time? Almost none. All it takes to see that is one honest look at the world as it is.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Ao5LB...

    Yet here is a guy who recognized several values at a time they were unthinkable I still hold high today and the world sees as self evident by now yet we should reject him because he doesn't live up to our contemporary idea of right and wrong. I disagree with that reading

    The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, had an ambivalent relationship with the institution of slavery. During his lifetime, Jefferson attempted twice, one time in the Virginia General Assembly, 1769, and the another in the Continental Congress, 1784,[1][2] to legislate the emancipation of slaves. Jefferson also railed against King George III of Great Britain and the slave trade in his draft copy of the United States Declaration of Independence, 1776.[3] Yet Jefferson, himself, acquired and sold hundreds of slaves throughout his lifetime, owning as many as 267 in 1822.[4][5] A profligate spender, Jefferson was deeply in debt and had encumbered his slaves by notes and mortgages; he could not free them until he was free of debt, which he never achieved.[6] All but one of Jefferson's slaves were sold after his death to pay his debts

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_...

    He was far from perfect at a time the world was a lot more barbarous than it is today. It's my belief though none of us are perfect and that most of us, the majority of the people who live today including myself, would be very arrogant when asserting we would have done better in his position. And that should be the standard. What would we have done if we were there at that time? Not with the knowledge we have now but there and then? My conviction is the majority of us would have done a lot worse than Thomas Jefferson. Even more so the people who are sure and certain they wouldn't have because they make it painfully clear, by that very assertion, they can see no further than their own nose and thus that they don't posses the intelligence, moral character nor independent judgement to question mainstream reality. A reality at that time that held slavery for normal but also that Kings got their authority from God and that's the way people should be ruled. Some people can't really imagine that, instead losing themselves in fantasies where they see themselves as some sort of Hollywood hero who alone stands up to everyone, but we should if we want to make an honest evaluation of Thomas Jefferson

    Furthermore as stated in the sources American liberals and other "leftists" are far too quick to draw the race card for the millionaire in the White House. It's no coincidence either but a direct result of identity politics, a deliberate tactic of American liberalism to obscure the class struggle. I feel giving any Jefferson avatar racial connotations falls into that category. I will judge them by their Q&A for now

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AgC03...

    EDIT2 I think reasonable people can disagree about things and that's what's happening here. I see what you're saying. Maybe you are even on to something and my judgement is somewhat clouded by the way liberals and other leftists overreact to race, specially in combination with their attitude when it comes to civlian deaths in Obama's war. That's a very hard pill for me to swallow that might cloud my judegement here. Maybe you are right. Food for thought

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think it actually makes some kind of sense from a racial perspective. Jefferson appears to have held those of African descent in low regard so if an account dislikes Obama based on race then it has a sort of consistency to it.

    However, if the account (in all likelihood) intends Jefferson to represent the 'principles' of the 'founding fathers' then it seems pretty self-contradictory because I believe Obama regards himself as something of a Jeffersonian and I suppose he is realistically somewhere in that neighborhood as a president (at least so far).

    P.S. the funny thing about Jefferson: People love to quote him because he was an eloquent and persuasive orator and some of his commentary on democracy is wonderfully written and quite poetic... but they never go on to quote the stuff about the 'obvious inferiority' of the 'beastly' African. I think the only way to truly appreciate everything he wrote in appropriate perspective is to read it all and consider it all equal. All them purdie wurds bout 'individual liberty' and 'self-determination' can take on some very ominous meaning when we appreciate the full perspective.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We should all respect Jefferson in many aspects of his life especially his work towards our democracy. However, people that try to draw similarities between the times of Jefferson and now, I feel are out of touch and not applicable. If we are to take Jefferson's words as law and rule of the land we wouldn't have progressed as a nation with regards to slavery etc. so the people who quote jefferson as a criticism of our current gov't system are comparing apples to oranges.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    What an interesting buch of hog wash you managed to put together. Thomas Jefferson was a man of deep thought and wisdom. It was because of his forethought and integrity that you are on this site spewing your bile.

    History has recorded many fantastic things done by true statesman, and they did these things with no thought of themselves. Today's statesmen know no such thing. Their first question is not of how this bill will benefit the American people, but of how it will benefit their pocket. This is treasonous, but people like you are more concerned with an avatar by a fictitious name.

    While Barney Franks robs you blind, while Joe Biden peddles influence, while Chris Dodd perjures himself, while congress debates Mylar balloons... you question your fellow citizen, but say nothing to your congressman.

    Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.

    Thomas Jefferson

    The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.

    Thomas Jefferson

    Source(s): Common sense...
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  • 1 decade ago

    they have no respect towards Thomas Jefferson.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think you are obsessing with people, instead of issues, and want them all to believe like you do.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think you are reading their codes quite well.

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