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Author Topic: American History  (Read 29472 times)
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caclark
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« Reply #180 on: May 18, 2007, 05:29:06 PM »

"The author of the Minority Report of the DNA Study Committee would like to conclude with a statement: If the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the DNA Study Committee majority had been seeking the truth and had used accurate legal and historical information rather than politically correct motivation, their statement should have been something like this: "After almost two hundred years of study including recent DNA information, it is still impossible to prove with absolute certainty whether Thomas Jefferson did or did not father any of Sally Hemings five children." This statement is accurate and honest and it would have helped discourage the campaign by leading universities (including Thomas Jefferson's own University of Virginia), magazines, university publications, national commercial and public TV networks, and newspapers to denigrate and destroy the legacy of one of the greatest of our founding fathers and one of the greatest of all of our citizens."

The above paragraph concluded Wallenborn’s reply to the response. I wish he had explained what he meant by "politically correct motivation” on the part of fellow committee members he took issue with. More troubling is his suspicion of a broad-based campaign encompassing academia, publishing, and broadcasting to “denigrate and destroy the legacy of one of the greatest of our founding fathers."

I would not describe his frame of mind as dispassionate, much less collegial when he was composing that.

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weezo
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« Reply #181 on: May 18, 2007, 06:43:00 PM »

Lucinda C. "Cinder" Staunton was the historian at Monticello who helped me research the details of Jefferson's life for my story on Jefferson when he was considering the Louisiana Purchase: http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/books/History/Louisiana.html

Cinder is the one who told me that TJ kept a mockingbird in the white house, and explained the culture of the Monticello Muffins for breakfast. I had thought with his pechant for things French, he may have had waffles made on his imported waffle-maker, but Cinder said that at the time, waffles were a desert, not a breakfast.

I think Cinder did a great job of refuting the "minority report", which was not at all enhanced by the rebuttal to the refutation of the minority report. It is just more posturing about a Virginia man. And, as I have learned since I moved to Virginia, far too many Virginia men think with their middle leg!
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caclark
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« Reply #182 on: May 18, 2007, 06:50:14 PM »

"....are all TJ's achievements negated by his acting the way others before and since have acted?"

Not as far as I'm concerned. It was Jefferson's gifted pen that wrote much of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most remarkable political documents of all time. Whatever the truth is about his relationship to Miss Hemmings is not going to change that. If he sired every one of her children, that wouldn't diminish his standing in my eyes. And if he was never once intimate with her, I wouldn't think any more highly of him than I do. But I guess it's important to some people.

Wallenborn made some well-reasoned arguments that must be considered. But he doesn't help his case by impugning the professional integrity of his academic colleagues, which he did by questioning the Foundation's and the DNA group's desire to seek the truth. His dissenting view was solicited and included by the chairman. No point of view appears to have been suppressed and that's how it should be in a collaborative academic effort. But Wallenborn ends his solo contribution on such a shrill note that it grabs one's attention right away.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2007, 06:55:57 PM by caclark » Logged
weezo
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« Reply #183 on: May 18, 2007, 07:02:26 PM »

NY Temp,

I have never heard anything about that one, ever, ever, ever. What son would they be referring to? TJ had two daughters. Unless they are saying he had built such contraptions for his mullato sons.

While TJ did invest some stuff, calling them contraptions would be a bit of an exaggeration. He collected scientific devises such as telescopes and such, and he had a table made which could be called a contraption, that let him write a copy at the same times as he was writing an original by a connection between the pen he was using and a pen writing the copy. I don't think I'd call his double-paned windows, the first storm windows a "contraption", nor would I consider the seven day clock a contraption.

But, if you really want to find out, I'll look up Cinder's address for you, or you could just write to the Monticello web page and someone will surely answer your question!!!
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weezo
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« Reply #184 on: May 18, 2007, 07:13:06 PM »

The following article is a statement about the condition of research in history at the crossroads of the 20th and 21st century. Fausz mentions a number of the books we are reading about Pocahontas and the Powhatans, and makes negative statements about most including Rountree's book. Fausz has been on the Virgniia History list for some time (as appropriate for someone researching Virginia history who lives half a country away). She was in Jamestown for the big celebration last weekend, and shared her comments with us. She was most underimpressed by the Virginia highway system.

http://hnn.us/articles/38375.html
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weezo
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« Reply #185 on: May 18, 2007, 10:24:43 PM »

Someone on the History list just commented on the article and mentioned that Fausz is a she not a he. I've corrected my post, and thank you for pointing out my error. She speaks in a scholarly way and does not drag anyone through the mud, IMHO.

To my way of thinking "contraption" is a Rube Goldberg sort of thing. Lots of levers, wheels, and chutes. Jefferson's inventions were practical things. One of his inventions was a lift to bring wine up from the cellar into the dining room. In the basement of Monticello are several wine rooms with access to that lift, and a beer room as well. Of course, they are no longer stocked. Across from the spirits, is a showcase of the china of the house - some very lovely pieces.

If you are asking about a bit of trivia, there is no reason to want to do so anonymously. You will not get a hateful response, but an honest one. If you really feel very embarassed about asking your question, I can ask it for you. I would probably put it on the VA History email List which is regularly read by the staff at Monticello. I may get a private response, or just one on the list so that others who have heard that trivia have an answer.
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Bob
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« Reply #186 on: May 19, 2007, 12:44:31 AM »

Re:Fred Fausz

Too freakin' bad everybody in this world is wrong about Jamestown. I guess he's the sole proud possessor ofthe truth. "Touched by the hand of God"  I suppose. The man gives the impression that everyone is an idiot. Well, I for one accept authors will make mistakes, perpetuate myths and generally err---after all, historians are just asw human as others. But, to give him his due, I'll read his book when it comes out--but I'm sure he'll make mistakes just like he others. I hope he can take the criticism.
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Bob
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« Reply #187 on: May 19, 2007, 01:03:23 AM »


[/quote]I was told another bit of trivia about Monticello ages and ages ago and had honest-to-God forgotten until just this moment and have no idea whether it is false: that TJ invented some contraption for his son's bed so as to be able to tell if/when he was masturbating.  Have you ever heard such, or was someone else's leg (3rd?) being pulled?[/quote]

I've read about 30  or so books on Thomas Jefferson and have scanned or looked at well over 100 duringthe course of the last 50 years. I never heard that one before.
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Bob
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« Reply #188 on: May 19, 2007, 01:28:20 AM »

http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://cti.itc.virginia.edu/%7Emeg3c/classes/tcc313/200Rprojs/jefferson%5Finvent/invent.html

Thomas Jefferson's inventions--nothing about the infamous M detector
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Dzimas
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« Reply #189 on: May 19, 2007, 01:40:20 AM »

Jefferson didn't have any boys, so someone was pulling your leg on that one, nytempsperdu.  What he did have was a bed that opened to both his bedroom and office as it was sandwiched in between a thick wall.  He apparently wanted to be able to crawl out of bed and go straight into his office in the middle of the night, so his ideas wouldn't escape him.  His wife had died long before he moved into Monticello (a fifty year process).  They spent their years together in a 16 x 16 foot building that came to be one of the gazebos of the hilltop estate.  McLaughlin describes how Monticello was more folly than a work of genius, as it would have made much more sense to build the classic-revival mansion at the base of the hill, rather than atop, as it would have been closer to the water source.  As it was his slaves had to haul water from the base of the hill to the top each day like a pack of mules.  He also tried a number of things which he hoped to parlay into business such as making his own nails.  None of his business efforts succeeded, and he amassed an incredible debt during his time.  So much so, that Monticello and his slaves were sold at auction to cover his debts.
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Dzimas
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« Reply #190 on: May 19, 2007, 01:54:47 AM »

As I understand it, the Hemings were mullato slaves to begin with, so Randolph blood already ran through their veins.  Sally was apparently quite a beauty with strong features that led many to assume that the Hemings family were as much descended from the Randolphs as they were themselves.  Most accounts show that Jefferson had a strong interest in Sally, like he would a daughter.  He had lost one daughter by this point.  Whether this interest changed once she grew older is anyone's guess, but there is no account to prove or disprove a sexual relationship between the two.  All one can do is speculate on the subject, which has fascinated historians to no end.  As a widower through most of his life, it is hard to imagine Jefferson not having sexual urges toward his slaves, especially one as beautiful as Sally, but there is no solid physical evidence to say that he did.  The best evidence McLaughlin put forward was some wood shutters Jefferson had placed on his north-facing bedroom which he assumed could only be placed for privacy.  However, symmetry was also very important to Jefferson, so the shutters probably were meant to balance the opposite sides of the building.  The Hemings descendants more than anyone else have fostered this "myth" over the last two centuries.
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Bob
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« Reply #191 on: May 19, 2007, 08:17:24 AM »

Sally Hemmings had an uncanny resemblance to Martha Wales who was Jefferson's wife. It was more than apparrent that there had been  something going on in the generation BEFORE Jefferson entered the picture--(Got the picture)?
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Bob
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« Reply #192 on: May 19, 2007, 08:39:12 AM »

There is evidence that Jefferson had Aspergeres (sic) disease. These people are  loners by nature. I agree with Dzimas, there is no evidence to support the theorythat Jefferson had sexual relations with anyone after his wife died . He did fall in love with Maria Cosway when he alledgedy going to bed with Sally Hemmings at the same time. The behavior doesn't make sense at that time. it just doesn't fit that Jefferson, an eternal loner, suddenly had two "things" going at the same time. What we have evidence of is that someone in the Randolph/ Jefferson line went to bed with her at sometime in her life. What we have also is evidence through resemblance that Sally Hemming might have been a product of a union between Martha Wales' father and Sally's mother.

I waver back annd forth on the subject.

By the way, how did we get from the James River to Monticello, from 1607 to 1807?  Was there a glitch in the time continuum?

It is an interesting discussion. The subject is such that it reasonable arguments can be made on both sides. I just don't think we can rely soley on DNA to the exclusion of other factors.  It's like the Kennedy assassination and the reliance on "possibilities"  regarding  "possible"  other shooters who "might possibly" been involved in a "possible" conspiracy. All of which ignores probabilities and weighty evidence that nobody else was involved.  So,yes, it's possible Jefferson and Hemmings hit the sack together--but the probabilities run the other way---that is, you can't prove a negative--ie., you can't prove Jefferson DIDN'T go to bed with her and produce children. Hence, the question doesn't lend itself to any definitive answer, not now, not  ever.
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weezo
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« Reply #193 on: May 19, 2007, 12:23:17 PM »

Bob,

I think it is less that Jefferson was a loner than that he was a private person. He frequently entertained at Monticello and visited his neighbors on a regular basis.

Aspergers is not a "disease" it is a "condition". And, this is the first I have heard it asserted to Jefferson. The "affair" with Sally Hemmings, if it was, was of long duration since Sally had six children, all of whom were conceived when Jefferson was in residence at Monticello. She had no other children. Unlike you, I have little doubt that it took place. And, I do not think it diminishes TJ's major efforts in life any more than if he had married her, which was forbidden by Virginia law at the time. I refuse to dismiss the oral tradition of the Hemmings family so easily.

I am also thinking about the time Sally and Thomas lived in France. The French offered a home to Sally free of slavery, yet she chose to return to slavery with TJ. Sally and one of her sons were educated while in France, and her son opted for freedom after he had learned a good trade. Sally did not. Why not? I think, and it may be MHO, that she and Jefferson were in love, or at least she was in love and chose not to stay behind when he lover moved home.

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Bob
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« Reply #194 on: May 19, 2007, 01:41:34 PM »

It's actually a syndrome, but I apologize for the error. I meant to use the term syndrome and couldn't think of it at the time and went for disease (and I work in the field). Anyhow, there's a good book on it. Some call it speculative, but its an interesting proposition if true.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1885477600/doctorzebra-20

I'll go along with him being very private. I'll also go along with the proposition that there are very reasonable arguments  in favor of an affair. As to France offering her freedom I'll have to check, but my memory is that they did not offer her or the son freedom in the sense that some representative approached her or the son in writing or even verbally on the matter. Slavery was not allowed in France. Once she hit French soil she was free under French Law. As I understand it Jefferson either offered her freedom for herself and her family  at a later date oir that she just plain didn't exercise her right. She chose to return to America with him.  I have a couple of books on the affair. I'll check them whenm I come back home later in the day.

I also separate a person's accomplishments  free of much of their personal life. I would not allow the affair to detract from his greatness. The thing which bothers me most, though, concerning Jefferson is his proclivity to tell pepole what they want to hear and then act another way. It leads, validly, to charges of hypocracy. When dealing with Jefferson, look not at what he says, rather look at what he does. Look at his actual behavior, not his ideology.
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