If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The New York Times)   Thomas Jefferson was a dick   (nytimes.com) divider line 286
    More: Interesting, Monticello, Jon Meacham, visiting professor, state legislators, independent scholars, Criminal Code  
•       •       •

29230 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Dec 2012 at 5:16 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



286 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-12-03 12:38:08 AM  

DamnYankees: This is a really odd thing to say when comparing someone to a slaveholder.


As much as we'd like to think otherwise, slavery was not the issue way back then. We had more pressing issues to face, and taking the assets of half the states would hardly have been a unifying factor, as we later discovered.

Would it be better if I said white, land-owning common man?
 
2012-12-03 12:45:57 AM  

NewportBarGuy: As much as we'd like to think otherwise, slavery was not the issue way back then.


It was probably a pretty big issue to the slaves.
 
2012-12-03 12:48:55 AM  
Trying to compartmentalize people as all good or all bad is really stupid.
 
2012-12-03 01:20:12 AM  
You damn right he's a dick, he still owes me $2.
 
2012-12-03 01:29:26 AM  
People are critical of Jefferson for having slaves, which is unfair in my opinion. I believe it was mostly for the hot slave sex, and you really can't fault him for that.
 
2012-12-03 01:59:27 AM  

DamnYankees: GAT_00: Mangoose: But yes, Jefferson was a weird, strange, corrupt, slave-owning freak of a human being. His saving grace was his intellect. To which, one day, hopefully, we will be indebted.

According to Adams he was also more than a little self-centered and self-serving who wasn't interested in doing the hard work.

To be fair, John Adams was, by all accounts, an annoying, self-centered dude also who thought everyone was lazier than him.


Adams was especially hard on himself, but he was admired and respected. As McCoulough pointed out- he was given a wide range of important duties throughout the Revolution and performed them admirably.
He also kept us out of a disastrous war. Started up our navy- which he realized was the key to the future. At the same time he singed the Alien and Sedition acts- wich he regretted many years later.

Jefferson actions are complex. He wrote eloquently and had a fine mind- but he betrayed Adams for purely political reasons. But he manage to take advantage if Napoleons problem in Hati to make the Louisiana Purchase.
 
2012-12-03 02:32:43 AM  

DamnYankees: It was probably a pretty big issue to the slaves.


just as child labor was important to child laborers, and the lack of rights for women was important to women. But, as was said, these things weren't an issue at the time.
 
2012-12-03 02:36:34 AM  
Neither Mr. Meacham, who mostly ignores Jefferson's slave ownership, nor Mr. Wiencek, who sees him as a sort of fallen angel who comes to slavery only after discovering how profitable it could be, seem willing to confront the ugly truth...

So forget those guys and buy MY book!

...um, how about no?
 
2012-12-03 04:35:22 AM  
I forgot where I read it but there was an interesting article that Jefferson really backed away from his ideas of freedom when his nail factory (pun not intended) became the main money source for his estate. He even increased his slave holdings to increase it's production as it needed young boys for the works. He didn't even free his slaves in his will. Mind you, the ideas should be independent of the person; once they are uttered they belong to the world and his ideas were greatly important to our nascent country. There was only one Cincinatus and he might even be mythical. ;)
 
2012-12-03 04:38:20 AM  

dickfreckle: Mangoose: But yes, Jefferson was a weird, strange, corrupt, slave-owning freak of a human being. His saving grace was his intellect. To which, one day, hopefully, we will be indebted.

/didn't read

You basically summed up the article without reading it. I think anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the individual Fathers already knew he was a particular nasty sonofab*tch, though they certainly won't be teaching that in high school Western Civ. classes anytime soon.

My admiration is of Jefferson is his body of work, not the man himself. We all love certain books or even music written by reprehensible reprobates. I don't see why this should be different just because he was an eight cylinder bastard.


dickfreckle says: " My admiration of Jefferson is his body of work, not the man himself. "

Just that soon in a FARK thread and I find a reasonable observation which I can, on the surface, support.

People, people, people... ol' TJ was not all what ya'lls teachers made him out to be.

/dick, how well do you know TJ?
//no, he wasn't doin' sally 

(Choose where to begin, Jefferson congregation)
 
2012-12-03 04:54:08 AM  
That said, the discussion could be fun but, the linked article was quite disappointing.
 
2012-12-03 05:07:21 AM  

The_Sponge: You damn right he's a dick, he still owes me $2.


download.gamespotcdn.net
 
2012-12-03 05:17:44 AM  
images1.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2012-12-03 05:30:17 AM  
Was he the guy on Movin on Up?
 
2012-12-03 05:37:28 AM  
So a story about a coddled leftard professor attempting to come to grips with the idea the world was different at some point in the past. This history professor should consider a different line of work if he can't cope with the past. May I suggest puppeteering.
 
2012-12-03 05:40:26 AM  
i am not saying that it is space aliens but i'm saying it is space aliens.

and this is Buggs Bunny reporting from Jupiter.
 
2012-12-03 05:42:51 AM  

Scott_Free: Jefferson was a god of his time. Compared to the rest of our founders, he was very progressive. fark all of you all who say otherwise.


The personal traits of the American Founding Fathers?

s13.postimage.org
 
2012-12-03 05:47:13 AM  
Thomas Jefferson was a great man.
 
2012-12-03 05:55:09 AM  
Dolly Madison was a tart.
 
2012-12-03 05:59:37 AM  
All of the founding fathers were great Presidents who paved the foundation for the greatest nation the world has ever seen. (Yes we are better than you)

Its sad that we have lost our way do to a rapidly expanding ignorant population. The movie Idiocracy comes to mind.
 
2012-12-03 06:03:23 AM  
Lincoln would have so butt-raped TJ over the slave thing.
 
2012-12-03 06:03:24 AM  
I understand next weeks column has something to do with FDR supposedly being somewhat weak on his feet. I'll believe it when Ric Romero there writes it, though.
 
2012-12-03 06:04:59 AM  

Scott_Free: DamnYankees: Scott_Free: Who else put us where we are now?

Every other founder? And the leaders who came after?

Right. I'm wrong. They stuck their neck out and wrote a constitution for our country. Hell we must have 50 or so of them floating around somewhere. He was the MAN that started this country. Get over the things of the day that all people did. He was a great man, and better then you or I will ever be.


I think the thing that we're missing out on here, is that most people at this time in history didn't believe that black people actually are PEOPLE. To even the people who had the balls to put this country together, black people were less than human. It took a few more generations to extend the same rights that white men got to black people, and to women, and so on and so forth.

These people had great ideas, even though some of their beliefs were completely farked. Now, we work to extend those great ideas so that they apply to everyone, and we recognize that we are all people, regardless of our skin color, our sexual plumbing, and now our sexual preferences. What will be the next group for civil liberties to be extended to?
 
2012-12-03 06:05:20 AM  
I feel like a slave.
 
2012-12-03 06:07:50 AM  

david_gaithersburg: So a story about a coddled leftard professor attempting to come to grips with the idea the world was different at some point in the past. This history professor should consider a different line of work if he can't cope with the past. May I suggest puppeteering.


It makes somewhat more sense knowing that he's a legal history professor. So it'd be about the same as receiving a course in painting from a professor of liberal arts.
 
2012-12-03 06:08:33 AM  

bronyaur1: DamnYankees: dickfreckle: My admiration is of Jefferson is his body of work, not the man himself. We all love certain books or even music written by reprehensible reprobates. I don't see why this should be different just because he was an eight cylinder bastard.

I think its because his personal actions aren't merely incidental to his espoused philosophies, but in direct contradiction to them. It's be like if Roman Polanksi was really famous for making The Accused.

This. Exactly. Nicely said.


Agreed.
 
2012-12-03 06:09:43 AM  
Not sure why we're still pretending to be shocked when finding out that a random historical figure was actually a dick. It's... pretty much the same for every historical figure, basically it's a good thing that you don't have to be a saint to do something important.
 
2012-12-03 06:11:56 AM  
Deep Contact
I feel like a slave.

Jefferson's slave? that would explain your screen name.
 
2012-12-03 06:11:57 AM  
I am glad that someone had the balls to say it (finally).
 
2012-12-03 06:15:28 AM  

revrendjim: Ambivalence: GAT_00: Yeah, but reading the bio McCullough wrote about him, the two people who really stick out are Jefferson and Franklin, both of which he pretty much loathed, at least from the Revolution era.

Adams can shut his whore mouth! Franklin was unequivocally awesome.

Franklin was a huge dick, but rather than denying it he reveled in it. Being an ornery bastard was part of his public persona.


Apparently, Franklin also *had* a huge dick, if the old women of Boston, Philadelphia, and Paris are to be believed.

I read McCullough's biography of Adams, and I'm waiting with anticipation for a bio on that level of Mr Franklin and Mr Jefferson. Sadly, neither will come in my lifetime...
 
2012-12-03 06:17:20 AM  

MagicMissile: All of the founding fathers were great Presidents who paved the foundation for the greatest nation the world has ever seen. (Yes we are better than you)

Its sad that we have lost our way do to a rapidly expanding ignorant population. The movie Idiocracy comes to mind.


That and politicians no longer work together and come to a compromise, rather both sides propose demands and publicly state that they are unwilling to waiver.

I watch Idiocracy every election night, it somehow seems appropriate.

/Camacho 2016
 
2012-12-03 06:19:19 AM  

DamnYankees: GAT_00: He was and wasn't. He hated slavery, but didn't want to end it for fear of mass revolts.

Thomas Jefferson pretty clearly didn't hate slavery. He just wrote that he did.

Jefferson is an interesting figure, and certain parts of him are admirable, but I find it a little uneasy that people tend to be willing to give his words more credence than his actions. Jefferson never did a single thing, as far as I'm aware, to end slavery. He took zero positive steps in that regards, and was not a particularly good slave-master. He abused his actual slaves, both sexually and otherwise. There's simply no reason to think he was a secret lover of black people at heart, any more than you actually believe Mitt Romney loves poor people.




When I read this highlighted section, the name and scenario that popped into my mind is Joe Paterno and pedophilia enabling. Tom made public pronouncements about something, took different actions in private, and history is revisiting his reputation. JoePa followed virtually the same path, with the only difference that JoePa's hypocrisy was revealed before his death.  Jefferson was deeply flawed, as are the rest of us, so stop trying to turn him into some sort of demi-god.
 
2012-12-03 06:26:26 AM  

GAT_00: DamnYankees: Thomas Jefferson pretty clearly didn't hate slavery. He just wrote that he did.

Ok, now you're claiming to know what was in the head of a man 200 years dead and how it contradicted what he wrote. Step back from the ledge of crazy.


Well, to be honest, Jefferson successfully revolutionized the slave trade. He expanded it in ways that no one else was doing and then taught others how to best maximize their slaves. If he was truly repulsed by owning slaves then why expand slavery?
 
2012-12-03 06:28:04 AM  

DamnYankees: GAT_00: DamnYankees: Thomas Jefferson pretty clearly didn't hate slavery. He just wrote that he did.

Ok, now you're claiming to know what was in the head of a man 200 years dead and how it contradicted what he wrote. Step back from the ledge of crazy.

I don't claim to know what's in his head - that's what you're doing. I'm just looking at his actual actions.

You're the one saying that - despite owning slaves, treating them badly, failing to free them, and failing to take any actual steps in his life towards abolition - he hated slavery in his heart. And you claim to know this because...he said so a couple time?

Think about what you're saying, please.


Jon Meacham mentioned on the Daily Show that Jefferson tried to reform slavery as a young lawyer and then just gave up. I haven't read his book.

Here's the link: Link. Entertaining interview. Relevant bit comes at 28:25.
 
2012-12-03 06:32:52 AM  

MagicMissile: All of the founding fathers were great Presidents who paved the foundation for the greatest nation the world has ever seen. (Yes we are better than you)

Its sad that we have lost our way do to a rapidly expanding ignorant population. The movie Idiocracy comes to mind.


Specifically what makes the US the greatest nation the world has ever seen? Our freedom? We have higher incarceration rates than any other modern country.
 
2012-12-03 06:36:56 AM  

cherryl taggart: with the only difference that JoePa's hypocrisy was revealed before his death.


The difference is, being a pedo isn't looked at as normal and legal, slavery was.
 
2012-12-03 06:38:13 AM  

cherryl taggart: DamnYankees: GAT_00: He was and wasn't. He hated slavery, but didn't want to end it for fear of mass revolts.

Thomas Jefferson pretty clearly didn't hate slavery. He just wrote that he did.

Jefferson is an interesting figure, and certain parts of him are admirable, but I find it a little uneasy that people tend to be willing to give his words more credence than his actions. Jefferson never did a single thing, as far as I'm aware, to end slavery. He took zero positive steps in that regards, and was not a particularly good slave-master. He abused his actual slaves, both sexually and otherwise. There's simply no reason to think he was a secret lover of black people at heart, any more than you actually believe Mitt Romney loves poor people.



When I read this highlighted section, the name and scenario that popped into my mind is Joe Paterno and pedophilia enabling. Tom made public pronouncements about something, took different actions in private, and history is revisiting his reputation. JoePa followed virtually the same path, with the only difference that JoePa's hypocrisy was revealed before his death.  Jefferson was deeply flawed, as are the rest of us, so stop trying to turn him into some sort of demi-god.


Right. Unfortunately, we tend to deify our previous leaders. Americans have difficulty humanizing history's giants. Hell, look at Jesus. It isn't merely enough to claim he was righteous, you have to believe in his perfection. Encasing leaders in glass isn't an American trait but we do it quite well.
 
2012-12-03 06:40:54 AM  

Chimperror2: He's also known as the first Democrat. Not hard to understand his 'do as I say, not as I do' approach to politics once that is made clear. Subby was spot-on (Spotted Dick?).


Jefferson was part of (founded, even) the Democratic-Republican Party. You could just as easily have said the exact same thing about him being the first Republican, as Democratic-Republicans of day were referred to simply as "Republicans".
 
2012-12-03 06:41:14 AM  
There is nobody, ever, who attained political power that didn't walk over a lot of people to get there. It's true today,it was true then. That in iteself would make him a ruthless man.
 
2012-12-03 06:46:47 AM  
Tea Party 2.0?
 
2012-12-03 06:55:41 AM  
Fun Fact: Thomas Jefferson invented chicken and waffles, the soul food dish.
 
2012-12-03 07:01:10 AM  

DamnYankees: Scott_Free: He was the MAN that started this country.

No, he really wasn't.

Scott_Free: He was a great man, and better then you or I will ever be.

He was an extremely complicated man, perhaps a great one, but probably not a good one.


This seems fair.

Amidst all the other trenchant moral relativism in the thread, I mean.

Napoleon was seen as devil, autocrat and liberator, dependent on which part of the old class structures of Europe one was attached and occasionally simultaneously. Caesar, the same. We remember these people from the big picture perspective of their long-term effects on the world around them, and less so from their personality traits or hypocrisies.

I find "Jefferson was a dick" to be as relevant as "Hitler liked dogs". It fails to understand that individuals whose actions can be perceived as positive (Jefferson) or negative (Hitler) in the world can exhibit contradictions or complexity, when in reality, very few people are 24/7 evil bastards or paragons of virtue. To expect that is naive.
 
2012-12-03 07:04:55 AM  

Scott_Free: Right. I'm wrong. They stuck their neck out and wrote a constitution for our country. Hell we must have 50 or so of them floating around somewhere. He was the MAN that started this country. Get over the things of the day that all people did. He was a great man, and better then you or I will ever be.


I've tried to roll a mental image that explains what I feel. If you see history as mankind dragging the ark of civilization out of the horror swamp of, ignorance and superstition, then you've got to admit, there are people back then who we would think of as sh*tstains, dragging hard on the ropes to pull civilization, which we all enjoy, another few inches out. And against them, a bunch trying equally hard to drag it back in.
 
2012-12-03 07:10:51 AM  

vernonFL: Fun Fact: Thomas Jefferson invented chicken and waffles, the soul food dish.


He was also the inventor of ice, The Macarena and Dave Coulier.
 
2012-12-03 07:12:35 AM  

Heist: Chimperror2: He's also known as the first Democrat. Not hard to understand his 'do as I say, not as I do' approach to politics once that is made clear. Subby was spot-on (Spotted Dick?).

Jefferson was part of (founded, even) the Democratic-Republican Party. You could just as easily have said the exact same thing about him being the first Republican, as Democratic-Republicans of day were referred to simply as "Republicans".


Despite the naming, the roots of the Republican Party are nowadays thought to have come from most of the Democratic-Republicans' opponents.
 
2012-12-03 07:13:53 AM  

Chimperror2: Sorry Godwin, you lose. Jefferson was a dick. It's now enshrined forever.


what is this even supposed to mean? It's been pretty common knowledge that he was a racist slave owner. How is this "now enshrined forever"?
 
2012-12-03 07:13:54 AM  
RTFA, sounds like the author has an agenda to press and nothing more.
 
2012-12-03 07:19:57 AM  

dickfreckle: eight cylinder bastard.


I'm stealing that phrase and claiming it as my own.
 
2012-12-03 07:20:54 AM  

Chimperror2: It's Godwins Law.


Godwins law says that the common knowledge that Jefferson was a racist slave holder is "now enshrined forever"? huh.
 
2012-12-03 07:21:43 AM  
Comparing morality in a different century is a little rediculous. Most of us wouldn't kill a person for being gay, or kill a black man for seducing a white woman, but a hundred years ago that shiat was pretty acceptable. In the reverse, I dont get called a slut for wearing a bathing suit but 100 years ago they would have arrested me. Times change. Jefferson was a defently moral man for the time.
 
Displayed 50 of 286 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report