Thomas Jefferson was a man of his time, a slave owner yes, but much more importantly a man of the Enlightenment. The people who are calling for this statue’s removal at Mizzou are not forward thinking people, though they likely think themselves as such. They are not “progressive” in the good sense. They apparently have little understanding of historical context. They are reactionaries in a sense, countering the ideas of liberty and freedom (embodied by Jefferson) because their sensibilities have been offended. Better to remove this symbol of revolution and rebellion because, gasp, he had slaves like everyone else of his social status in the world in which he lived. This is the kind of thinking which has found safe harbor in many of our universities. And it’s dumb.
Many people believe that the ideas Jefferson championed actually hastened the death of the institution of slavery. Kind of hard to have slaves, when “all men are created equal.”
(From The Missourian)
But Little said he felt it was necessary to show “the other side of Thomas Jefferson” — not only the man depicted in mainstream history textbooks. Little said Jefferson was also a slave owner and rapist of a 16-year-old slave named Sally Hemings. Historians still dispute whether or not Jefferson fathered any of Hemings’ children, according to Monticello.org.
** After months of the petition not getting the attention they wanted, Faloughi and Little teamed up with a group of students, including seniors Aliyah Sulaiman and Bryant Hill, to create #postyourstateofmind — a Twitter campaign dedicated “to engage people in a critical conversation” about sexual assault and racism.
…“Every day that is sits on campus, students are affected,” Faloughi said. “It’s a symbol of violence to many students. We talk about wanting to fix the culture of sexual violence and racism on campus, but that sits here. What really are the values of the University of Missouri?”
I certainly hope that they aren’t anti-intellectual politically correct bullying.
Editors additional note:
Let’s also keep in mind that slavery was yet another example of crony capitalism. It could not have survived without day to day assistance from government in enforcing runaway slave laws. Those laws were an egregious example of special interests getting government to do their work and government expecting favors in return. Unfortunately crony capitalism is as old as our Republic. But that isn’t a reason to remove a founder’s statue.