Author Topic: History, how to deal with it?  (Read 700 times)

jumbojak

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Re: History, how to deal with it?
« Reply #45 on: September 11, 2017, 09:41:05 PM »
^ That's exactly the sort of myth making I'm talking about. Jefferson used his office to expand slavery into the Louisiana Territory, while banning the importation of slaves from outside the US to the new territory. It seems enlightened enough until you realize that there was a major glut of slaves in Virginia and elsewhere - only South Carolina allowed the importation of slaves at this time - and that he sold much of his excess labor to the newly developing cotton industry in the deep south. If you are genuinely concerned about someone's well-being you don't engineer an opportunity to make a quick buck off of their misery.

He even went as far as proposing that the northern parts of the Louisiana Territory be turned into a giant Indian Reservation. It was convenient that these territories were unsuitable for plantation agriculture, and that barring new settlers would have indefinitely maintainted the stranglehold on political power that the southern states enjoyed.

The deeper you dig into any politicians career, the more reprehensible they seem to become. In fact, to address Bruce's question about monuments, I wouldn't be opposed to making Mount Rushmore a plain mountain again. I'm not sure I would be in favor of doing so, but have to ask, what purpose does a monument to any individual man or woman serve?

You create a space for people to put that person on a pedestal and make up wild stories like Jefferson Davis being opposed to slavery. You wind up with politicians trying to make "disparaging" one of the founding fathers a crime. It's absolutely ridiculous. Even the suggestion of a plaque added to a monument to give a more balanced view gets some folk's  red up.

 

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Dave

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Re: History, how to deal with it?
« Reply #46 on: September 11, 2017, 09:45:20 PM »
^
Yeah, who writes the accurate history? Is there any such beast? Even documents can be interpreted with bias.
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Dave

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Re: History, how to deal with it?
« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2017, 08:31:57 AM »
Not sure if it applies here but there is one aspect of politics that, in my mind, potentially makes all politicians two-faced, lying hypocrits.

This is the support of policies that they personally feel or know to be wrong but they speak or vote in favour of because it is party policy - and their party must remain in power. Rebelling against a party policy that is not declared a free choice is political suicide.

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Ecurb Noselrub

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Re: History, how to deal with it?
« Reply #48 on: September 12, 2017, 04:17:11 PM »
A monument to a person is a symbol - it basically enshrines some idea or narrative about that person that promotes national identity or patriotism.  Jefferson, for all his faults on the issue of slavery, is a key person in defining what it is to be an American.  As the principle author of the Declaration, a Secretary of State, the 3rd President, and a prolific contributor to the political philosophy of the early Republic, he has a significant role in our existence and continuance as a nation.  His words were alluded to by Lincoln at Gettysburg.  Removing monuments to him chips away at the foundation of national identity.  You don't need to praise everything he did, but without a positive narrative about who we are as Americans the whole concept of nationhood becomes meaningless.  Jefferson helped define what we are - I'm focusing on the positive parts - and I would not be in favor of removing him from the public arena.  Lee and Davis are another matter - we are not the Confederacy and should not be celebrating that failed attempt at a nation.

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Re: History, how to deal with it?
« Reply #49 on: September 12, 2017, 05:47:55 PM »
A monument to a person is a symbol - it basically enshrines some idea or narrative about that person that promotes national identity or patriotism.  Jefferson, for all his faults on the issue of slavery, is a key person in defining what it is to be an American.  As the principle author of the Declaration, a Secretary of State, the 3rd President, and a prolific contributor to the political philosophy of the early Republic, he has a significant role in our existence and continuance as a nation.  His words were alluded to by Lincoln at Gettysburg.  Removing monuments to him chips away at the foundation of national identity.  You don't need to praise everything he did, but without a positive narrative about who we are as Americans the whole concept of nationhood becomes meaningless.  Jefferson helped define what we are - I'm focusing on the positive parts - and I would not be in favor of removing him from the public arena.  Lee and Davis are another matter - we are not the Confederacy and should not be celebrating that failed attempt at a nation.

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Re: History, how to deal with it?
« Reply #50 on: September 12, 2017, 06:21:27 PM »
[Jefferson] is too often described as someone who owned slaves but was in principle opposed to the practice of slavery. This couldn't be further from the truth. He was a slave owner who used his office to expand slavery and even attempted to economically cripple the northern states.

Whatever his personal failings and hypocrisy, Jefferson was indeed opposed to slavery in principle. His writings are peppered with comments that show this. While we can't ignore actions which served to further his own interests and those of the country as he saw them (which perpetuated slavery) neither can we ignore his often expressed position on the institution of slavery in the US. Nobody was forcing him to write these things and it's unreasonable to think that he didn't believe them. The US during that era was already divided regarding the issue, and though he didn't do as much as he could to end slavery, neither was he all talk. His draft for the constitution of Virginia prescribed the end of slavery in that state.

Quote
The General assembly shall not have power to . . . permit the introduction of any more slaves to reside in this state, or the continuance of slavery beyond the generation which shall be living on the 31st. day of December 1800; all persons born after that day being hereby declared free.

He proposed to ban slavery in the Northwest Territories.

Quote
That after the year 1800 of the Christian æra, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the said states, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted to have been personally guilty.
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