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By Robert F. Turner. Mr. Turner, the associate director of the Center for
National Security Law at the University of Virginia, chaired the Jefferson
Hemings Scholars Commission, whose report can be found online at
www.mindspring.com/~tjshcommission.

Five months ago, a Gallup poll asked Americans to identify the "greatest
U.S. president." Thomas Jefferson received just 1% of the vote -- about
one-tenth the percentage who answered "Bill Clinton" and one-fourth the
response for Jimmy Carter.

It was not always thus. Jefferson was long celebrated as one of the greatest
men in history, but since the world was told he fathered children by one of
his slaves his stock has dropped sharply. The saddest thing of all is that
he's probably getting a bum rap. As tomorrow marks the 225th anniversary of
the Declaration of Independence and the 175th anniversary of the death of
Thomas Jefferson, its principal author, it seems a fitting time to set the
record straight.

New 'Evidence'

Jefferson's damaged reputation may have less to do with Sally Hemings than
with a cultural struggle taking place in contemporary academia, as well as a
bit of bad timing. As Joseph Ellis -- historian, Pulitzer Prize winner and
the point man among senior scholars in the assault on Jefferson -- explained
last year in the William & Mary Quarterly, Jefferson is "the dead-white-male
who matters most," and the "most valued trophy in the cultural wars."


Prof. Ellis, readers may recall, made the papers again last month when the
Boston Globe disclosed that for years he has lied to his students about
serving in Vietnam. In fact, as he now admits, Prof. Ellis's military
service was spent teaching history at West Point.

As recently as 1996, Prof. Ellis had concluded in his Jefferson biography,
"American Sphinx," that the likelihood of a Jefferson-Hemings sexual
relationship was "remote" and based upon "flimsy and wholly circumstantial"
evidence. This is essentially the same conclusion reached by other leading
Jefferson scholars since the allegation was first published in 1802. Prof.
Ellis reversed his position in late 1998, with the release of DNA evidence
that Nature magazine wrongly alleged proved Thomas Jefferson fathered at
least one of Sally Hemings's children.

Here is where the unfortunate timing may have played a role. The new
"evidence" was rushed to press in the middle of the congressional
impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. Prof. Ellis actively opposed the
impeachment effort, and he repeatedly used his new position to draw
parallels in defense of Mr. Clinton.

In fact, the DNA evidence merely showed that Sally Hemings's youngest son,
Eston, was likely fathered by one of more than two dozen Jefferson males in
Virginia at the time. Eugene Foster, who organized the tests, acknowledged
that the results did not point to the then-64-year-old Thomas Jefferson any
more than to his much younger brother, Randolph, or for that matter any of
Randolph's five sons.

Indeed, the less cerebral Randolph would seem to be a far more likely
candidate for Eston's paternity than the aging president. Randolph is
documented by a 19th-century slave account to have spent his evenings at
Monticello playing his fiddle among the slaves and "dancing half the night,"
and there is evidence he fathered children by his own slaves. We know that
Randolph, who lived only 20 miles away, was invited to Monticello only days
before Sally Hemings likely conceived Eston.

Furthermore, the oral history passed down for generations by Eston's
descendants claimed he wasn't Thomas Jefferson's child but the son of "an
uncle." Jefferson's paternal uncles died decades before Eston was conceived,
but the president's brother was widely known at Monticello as "Uncle
Randolph" because of his relationship to the president's daughters.

Finally, all of Sally Hemings's known children seem to have been born
between the death of Randolph's first wife and his remarriage at about the
time Eston was born. About the same time as this remarriage, Thomas
Jefferson completed his second term and returned to live full time at
Monticello; the 34-year-old Sally conceived no more known children.

Three months ago, a distinguished group of more than a dozen senior scholars
concluded a year-long investigation of the Jefferson-Hemings issue with a
550-page report. The diverse group included highly respected Jefferson
scholars and other historians. Forrest McDonald -- a history professor at
the University of Alabama, the author of "The Presidency of Thomas
Jefferson," and one of several scholars in the group who were admitted
critics of Jefferson -- said that for nearly four decades he had believed
Jefferson to be the father of Hemings's children. But after careful analysis
of the evidence, he reversed his position, concluding "Thomas Jefferson was
simply not guilty of the charge."

With but a single mild dissent, the scholars' conclusions ranged from
"strong skepticism" about the allegation to a conviction that the charge was
"almost certainly false." They demonstrated that most of the "evidence"
cited to establish the relationship was either factually false (such as the
charge that Jefferson freed all of Sally Hemings's children when they turned
21) or was explained on other grounds. For example, Sally and her children
did receive "special treatment" at Monticello, but no more so than the many
other descendants of Sally's mother, Betty Hemings. All but two of Betty
Hemings's sons and grandsons living at Monticello when Jefferson died were
freed in his will, and Sally's two sons received by far the least favorable
treatment.

Sally Hemings was eventually freed by Jefferson's daughter and lived for
several years in Charlottesville, Va. Yet there is no surviving account that
she, or any of her children, ever said that she had been sexually involved
with Thomas Jefferson until nearly 50 years after Jefferson's death, when an
aged Madison Hemings was alleged by an anti-Jefferson newspaper editor in
Ohio to have made the claim. Most of the relevant facts attributed to
Madison Hemings occurred long before his birth. Meanwhile, several of his
factual allegations -- such as that Dolley Madison was present at his
birth -- can be established as false by available records.

In contrast, evidence on the other side includes the eye-witness testimony
of Jefferson's highly respected overseer, Edmund Bacon, who noted that he
had frequently seen a man other than Thomas Jefferson leaving Sally
Hemings's room early in the morning when he arrived for work.

The scholars commission also disclosed that a key letter from Jefferson's
granddaughter, used by revisionist historians to tie Jefferson to Sally
Hemings, was altered in transcription, with 13 words in a key sentence
changed to reverse its clear original meaning. The transcription was
included in the appendix of Annette Gordon-Reed's highly acclaimed book,
"Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings," which also suggested that the reason
earlier generations of Jefferson scholars failed to give proper weight to
Madison Hemings's alleged "memoirs" was because the historians were white
and Madison was black.

Sad Reality

In rejecting this conclusion, five of the scholars wrote that "the tendency
of many people to embellish their own histories transcends racial lines."
They noted: "Indeed, the sad reality is that people of all colors and races
occasionally find it desirable to falsify their background. This fact was
recently brought into focus brilliantly in the book 'Stolen Valor,' which
discusses hundreds of cases in which American men falsified claims involving
alleged military service in Vietnam." The tragic revelations about Prof.
Ellis merely emphasize the point.
_______________________
WSJ 7/3/01



 

TRAITOR McCain

jewn McCain

ASSASSIN of JFK, Patton, many other Whites

killed 264 MILLION Christians in WWII

killed 64 million Christians in Russia

holocaust denier extraordinaire--denying the Armenian holocaust

millions dead in the Middle East

tens of millions of dead Christians

LOST $1.2 TRILLION in Pentagon
spearheaded torture & sodomy of all non-jews
millions dead in Iraq

42 dead, mass murderer Goldman LOVED by jews

serial killer of 13 Christians

the REAL terrorists--not a single one is an Arab

serial killers are all jews

framed Christians for anti-semitism, got caught
left 350 firemen behind to die in WTC

legally insane debarred lawyer CENSORED free speech

mother of all fnazis, certified mentally ill

10,000 Whites DEAD from one jew LIE

moser HATED by jews: he followed the law

f.ck Jesus--from a "news" person!!

1000 fold the child of perdition

 

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