Don Lemon and Ashleigh Banfield spoke for many... “public intellectuals” when they questioned Thomas Jefferson’s place on our National Mall. Paul Finkelman for years has called for a reformation on Jefferson’s place in our national identity.
Jefferson detested slavery, as did most of our Founders… but to a fine point, he did not free many of his slaves. This theory was a bridge too far in an already frightful display of propaganda. Jefferson doesn’t need the likes of David Barton to argue the issue of slavery for him. Near the end of his life, the Sage of Monticello knew that the crime of slavery was set for extinction…..
“A good cause is often injured more by ill-timed efforts of its friends than by the arguments of its enemies. Persuasion, perseverance, and patience are the best advocates on questions depending on the will of others. The revolution in public opinion which this cause requires, is not to be expected in a day, or perhaps in an age; but time, which outlives all things, will outlive this evil also. My sentiments have been forty years before the public. Had I repeated them forty times, they would only have become the more stale and threadbare. Although I shall not live to see them consummated, they will not die with me; but living or dying, they will ever be in my most fervent prayer.” Thomas Jefferson, May, 1826