If Jefferson was wrong, then America is wrong… This was the foundation for a generation of Jefferson scholarship. James Parton to Dumas Malone to Joseph Ellis- all were able to succinctly explain the Jeffersonian contradictions regarding slavery by following this simple guideline.
Modern scholars see America as wrong…. therefore, Jefferson was wrong. Not only was he wrong, but his attitudes and actions were utterly repugnant and hold no place in our national conscience. The sooner we expunge his legacy, the sooner we can move closer to a true America. Jefferson has no place in the history of our country’s quest for civil liberties…..they want you to believe this, from Leonard Levy to Fawn Brodie to Annette Gordon-Reed and Paul Finkelman.
Jefferson did say this about slavery… in the only book he ever published:
“The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other…Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”