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Evaluating Thomas Jefferson and America’s Founding Documents

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“If we are made in some degree for others, yet in a greater are we made for ourselves.  It were contrary to feeling and indeed ridiculous to suppose that a man had less rights in himself than one of his neighbors, or indeed all of them put together.  This would be slavery, and not that liberty which the bill of rights has made inviolable, and for the preservation of which our government has been charged.”  —Thomas Jefferson

“Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it.  On the other hand it will be found to contain principles and purposes entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”  —Frederick Douglass

Evaluating Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson stands accused by many of being immoral, and his seminal role in America’s founding is often voiced as a valid reason for condemning America’s founding as racist from birth.  But this accusation is simplistic, lacking nuance or serious consideration of the historical context within which Thomas Jefferson lived.  It also ignores many important facts of Jefferson’s biography, many of which are quite striking.  While such an unsophisticated estimation may be excusable for neophytes, seasoned scholars and caring teachers have little to excuse them for such intellectual simplicity and counterfactual instruction.  Or dare I say dishonesty?  Absent from most erroneous evaluations of Jefferson is an honest accounting of Jefferson’s own personal actions to seek the abolition of slavery.

Teresa Sullivan, President of the University of Virginia, (http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2016/11/professors-ask-sullivan-to-stop-quoting-jefferson) has written of Jefferson’s claim that “all men are created equal” that “[t]hose words were inherently contradictory in an era of slavery, but because of their power, they became the fundamental expression of a more genuine equality today.”  Dr. Sullivan wrote those words in response to an accusation that it was inappropriate for her to quote the University of Virginia’s founder, due to the fact that Jefferson was a slaveholder.  While it is true that Jefferson owned slaves, the amount of good that he accomplished in his life—as well as the ongoing use of his words to promote equal rights—merits thoughtful reflection before ultimately deciding to condemn Thomas Jefferson altogether.

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Jefferson was, in fact, an energetic opponent of slavery, believing it to be contrary to Natural Law.  Jefferson referred to slavery as a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot.”  As the Revolutionary War was raging, Jefferson was actively working to abolish the slave trade.  Although Jefferson would succeed, by his leadership efforts, in 1778, in banning the importation of slaves into his home state, making Virginia one of the first jurisdictions worldwide to ban the practice, he would not succeed, as Virginia’s governor, in banning slavery altogether, although he would make the attempt.

Jefferson’s Denunciation of Slavery in His Original Draft of the Declaration
Despite the fact that Jefferson inherited slaves from his father and acquired slaves by marriage, he would fight his entire adult life to abolish the South’s Peculiar Institution, famously denouncing slavery in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, (https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/declara/ruffdrft.html) complaining about King George III’s unprincipled promotion of human trafficking: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain.  Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce.  And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die*, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.”  After the Revolutionary War was over, in 1784, Jefferson proposed a ban on slavery in the Northwest Territory.  Jefferson also devised a plan to improve the treatment of slaves and then to emancipate slaves by degrees, making every child born after a certain date a free person.

Jefferson wrote that hanging onto slavery was like holding “a wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.”  Jefferson thought that America, the world’s first true democratic republic, might eventually be destroyed by slavery, if the institution were not ended.  And Jefferson turned out to be right.  The Union was indeed brought to an end over slavery, dying a bloody death in a terrible civil war.  It was Abraham Lincoln who would eventually restore the Union as a country with freedom for all, according to the nation’s original promissory note.

During Jefferson’s time as President of the United States, it was he who, in 1807, would sign a law criminalizing the importation of slaves into the United States, in line with the 1808 Clause of the US Constitution, an action which, in concert with England’s decision to do likewise, would effectively abolish the legitimate international slave trade.  While Jefferson lived an imperfect, often conflicted, human life, his more judgmental critics tend to convict him in their minds as a villain through and through, typically with very little to offer in the way of complex analysis—let alone an appreciation—of this Founding Father’s righteous accomplishments.  Any attempt at a nuanced approach to Jefferson is generally seen by Jefferson’s most severe detractors as racist on the face of it, a view which tends to oversimplify the issue unfairly.

Frederick Douglass Believed in America’s Founding
The truth about Thomas Jefferson is that he—along with other Founding Fathers—was, and is, an important influence upon the way Americans conceptualize freedom to this day.  Frederick Douglass, a famous American abolitionist and lecturer who escaped from slavery, valued Jefferson’s words as written in the Declaration of Independence, as well as believing in the language of freedom contained within the US Constitution (http://thefederalist.com/2017/02/16/yes-frederick-douglass-american-patriot/).  Douglass did not believe that America’s founding documents were racist but saw, instead, a blueprint for freedom that all men—being “created equal”—had the right to enjoy.  Douglass comprehended the Constitution in all its subtlety, seeing it as the blessing that it is and understanding the intentions of the 3/5 Clause as a reward for any slave states that might free their slaves (since freemen would count as an entire person in the census, thereby increasing a state’s representation in the Congress as a consequence of freeing slaves).

What Frederick Douglass understood about full-blown Americanism was this: While the Declaration illuminates the philosophy of American liberty, by using 27 complaints against injustice to shed light upon crucial issues, it is the Constitution that eventually provides permanent solutions to those issues, by establishing a free republic that protects the rights of every individual equally.  The plain language of the Constitution, to borrow the words of George Washington, “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”  And Douglass knew it.

America’s Ever-Unfolding Promissory Note
Whatever their shortcomings, America’s Founders understood they were not perfect.  They knew, however, that even an imperfect birth of freedom would provide America with the opportunity for a great and, hopefully, unending experiment.  The blueprint for this experiment in individual liberty, that they wrote into the US Constitution, would provide its inheritors with an ever-unfolding promissory note for the sustenance and enlargement of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness throughout the ages.  It was a freedom big enough to encompass any and all races, creeds, and colors, so long as they would only make common cause with lovers of liberty.

The Constitution America’s Founders bestowed upon their country is written in a neutral style, without specific references to race or gender.  President Reagan referred to America’s constitutional republic as a “shining city on a hill” and the “last best hope for man on earth.”  If those words are to remain true, American patriots must jealously protect the promissory note embedded in the US Constitution for every American generation yet to come.  Thomas Jefferson would have wished it, Frederick Douglass would have approved, and modern-day patriots should all strive to pass on America’s rich heritage and the lessons learned from the country’s history that blesses every free American.
_____
*distinguished die [honorable dye] = venerable color
“And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die*, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them.”
[“And that this assemblage of horrors might lack no fact of honorable (skin) color*, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them.]

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Culture

Hollywood Moonbat: GOP Legacy Will Be ‘the Many Deaths of Innocent People’

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Rosanna Arquette falsely blames President Trump and the GOP for the coronavirus’ deaths in the US.

“The United States of America has more cases of coronavirus then any country in the world. this all could have been avoided had we had a real leader who cared about the American people and not just profit. this will be the Gops legacy. the many deaths of innocent people. shame .”

Breitbart:

Actress Rosanna Arquette said that U.S. coronavirus deaths could have been avoided if the country had a “real leader who cared about the American people.” She also said the “deaths of innocent people” will be the legacy of the Republican party.

In a tweet on Thursday, the Desperately Seeking Susan and Pulp Fiction star cited reports stating that the U.S. now has more cases of coronavirus than any country in the world. But those figures have been met with widespread skepticism due to the unreliability of China’s reporting.

Rosanna Arquette made a veiled attack on President Donald Trump, implying that he doesn’t care about the American people. More

Rosanna Arquette is a despicable, ignorant person. She should have blamed China, you know, that place of origin!
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Culture

George Soros is Funding the Anti-Trump Coronavirus Campaign

Anti-American billionaire George Soros has just pumped millions of dollars into a campaign to attack Trump over the coronavirus.

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Another reason not to believe what the media is saying about the coronavirus is the fact that anti-American billionaire George Soros has just pumped millions of dollars into a campaign to attack Trump over the coronavirus.

One of the Democrat Party’s leading super PACs is set to start attacking Trump over his response to the coronavirus, and they are getting a lot of help.

Priorities USA Action has just accepted $3 million from the world’s leading enemy to the American people, George Soros.

According to the Washington Free Beacon:

Priorities USA Action—the Democratic Party’s largest super PAC—will spend $6 million this week on advertisements criticizing Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The ads will run in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The PAC received $3 million in contributions from Soros’s Democracy PAC on Feb. 21, new filings show. Soros’s seven-figure donation accounts for 77 percent of the $3.9 million the PAC reported hauling in last month.

The Priorities USA Action campaign is part of an upcoming effort to use the coronavirus as a weapon to destroy Trump… in a long chain of weapons that have thus far failed to inflict any lasting damage to the president.

The Beacon adds:

As part of this plan, Priorities USA has said it intends to spend upward of $150 million against Trump in states like Michigan and Wisconsin. The PAC has hauled in $27 million since January 2019. Its largest donor has been billionaire hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, who has given the group $8 million this cycle. Soros is now the group’s second-largest donor at $5 million.

So, there you have it.

Even as the Democrats refuse to help Americans through this crisis by voting to pass the relief bills, they are using the virus as a weapon to attack their opponents.

Democrats do not care about you, America.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Culture

Pelosi and Schumer Making Non-Coronavirus-Related Demands While Holding Up Relief Bill

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Senior GOP source: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are making non-coronavirus-related demands while holding up a relief bill to help Americans.

(1) Direct checks to American workers, (2) hundreds of billions in loans to small businesses, and (3) aid to hospitals. Yet the hastily-cobbled-together Democratic talking points pretended as if these consensus provisions had been gutted in favor of a secret corporate giveaway, with no safeguards or strings. This was a fabrication and a wild mischaracterization of reality:

Townhall:

I’d call this unbelievable, but is it? On Sunday evening, Senate Democrats filibustered a bill designed to provide immediate relief to American workers and businesses, in the midst of a global pandemic and its resulting economic stoppage. The upper chamber worked through the weekend to hammer out a legislative outline, on a bipartisan basis. Ideas from both parties were put into the plan, leading to an agreement in principle on a broad framework. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived back in town and announced that she would torpedo the bill, then her Senate counterparts abandoned it.

They blamed a “slush fund” for corporations. Republicans dispute this claim — but even setting it aside, the bulk of the bill was bipartisan (Schumer himself hailed the bipartisanship over the weekend) and contained: (1) Direct checks to American workers, (2) hundreds of billions in loans to small businesses, and (3) aid to hospitals. Yet the hastily-cobbled-together Democratic talking points pretended as if these consensus provisions had been gutted in favor of a secret corporate giveaway, with no safeguards or strings. This was a fabrication and a wild mischaracterization of reality. More

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Culture

Taliban Commander Blown Up By His Own Bomb

Jihadi work accident!

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The provincial government in a statement said an explosion triggered by a roadside bomb, ripped through the vehicle of Mawlavi Zakir alias Mutmaeen, one of the commanders of Taliban, reported Khaama Press.

Khamma Press:

A roadside bomb explosion killed a Taliban commander and his security guard in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial government in a statement said an explosion triggered by a roadside bomb, ripped through the vehicle of Mawlavi Zakir alias Mutmaeen, one of the commanders of Taliban.

The statement further added that the incident took place on Wednesday morning in Marki Khel area of Sherzad district.

The explosion killed the Taliban commander and his security guard but did not hurt anyone else, the statement added. More

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Culture

Breakthrough: Drug Study Show Chloroquine May Defeat Coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced that the first trial vaccine for the coronavirus is already being tested.

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The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, announced that the first trial vaccine for the coronavirus is already being tested.

The trial taking place in Seattle, one of the places where the virus has been at its worst in the U.S.

The test, which includes 45 people age 18-55, consists of two injections, one at zero days, one at 28 days. The individuals will then be followed for one year. The trial results are still months away.

However, Fox News host Laura Ingraham revealed that the decades-old anti-viral drug Chloroquine has already been found to cure the virus in infected patients.

Ingraham spoke to Dr. Gregory Rigano, who is involved in the study, to talk about the drug.

Dr. Rigano said his study found that those coronavirus patients who took hydroxy-chloroquine were free of the disease in 6 only days.

Dr. Rigano also appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show and said that the treatment seemed to be 100 percent effective.

Forbes magazine also reported:

An old malaria and autoimmune drug is showing promise as a potential treatment for COVID-19 – although health officials are urging caution until clinical trials are done.

The drug, hydroxychloroquine, sold under the brand name Plaquenil, was reported March 9 in Clinical Infectious Diseases journal to be effective at killing the virus in laboratory experiments. In a letter in Cell Discovery Wednesday, the study’s authors, mainly from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, wrote, “(W)e predict that the drug has a good potential to combat the disease.”

“Repurposing established drugs like Plaquenil — which was approved in 1955 — may be a quick, safe and economical way to attack emerging illnesses,” the magazine added.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Culture

DOJ Drops Case Against Russian Troll Farm Indicted by Robert Mueller

Now the U.S. Department of Justice has finally dropped the case against the Russian troll farm that Robert Mueller indicted two years ago.

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It was always a meaningless case, and now the U.S. Department of Justice has finally dropped the case against the Russian troll farm that Robert Mueller indicted two years ago.

You may recall that when special council Mueller indicted the troll farm, he essentially claimed they were the heart of the “attack” on the U.S. elections in 2016.

This was always a bunch of do-nothing nonsense meant to make it look like Mueller was “doing something.” After all, there is no way that the U.S. government was going to get a whole bunch of “Russian trolls” to the U.S. to put them on trial.

Now, the DOJ has finally decided to take a pass on the prosecution.

According to Fox News:

Late Monday, with jury selection in the case set to begin in just two weeks, a federal judge granted the DOJ’s motion to kill the prosecution for several counts of conspiring to defraud U.S. agencies tasked with combating election interference. The government acknowledged the Russian companies were never likely to actually face punishment anyway and cited possible national security risks with going forward to trial.

Mueller indicted 13 individuals and alleged criminal action.

But despite Mueller’s overexcited proclamations, not a single bit of evidence ever came to light that these people changed any votes or even affected any voters.

Of the 13 Russians and three Russian companies charged by Mueller in the social media disinformation effort, Concord was the sole defendant to enter an appearance in Washington’s federal court and contest and the allegations. Mueller’s 37-page indictment said the actions detailed by prosecutors dated back to 2014. (Mueller later brought separate charges in the summer of 2018 against other entities related to a hack of Democrats’ emails.)

The truth is, there was never really any proof that these “Russian trolls” had any effect whatsoever on the 2016 elections.

The case was always window dressing to make it look like Mueller was succeeding in finding out what happened.

Dropping the case made sense. It was meaningless in the first place.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Culture

People Also Lining Up to Buy Guns and Ammo During Coronavirus Scare

The media is filled with stories of runs on hand sanitizer, food, and toilet paper, but people are also lining up for guns and ammo.

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The media is filled with stories of runs on hand sanitizer, food, and toilet paper, but people are also lining up for guns and ammo.

One gun buyer told USA Today that he is ready in case the looting starts.

“There’s so much uncertainty and paranoia but you’ve got to protect your own,” Ralph Charette, 71, told the paper.

Charette says he spent $1,500 at a gun shop in Germantown, Wisconsin, after seeing stories on TV about panic buying going on across the country.

Of course, there have been stories about toilet paper disappearing off the store shelves, people trying to corner the market of hand sanitizer, and food being whisked away by panicked customers.

So, Charette is taking precautions.

Germantown, Wisconsin, is not the only place gun buyers are lining up:

Per the paper:

Lengthy lines formed outside the Martin Retting Guns store in Culver City, California, on Sunday morning, before the store opened. People said the line Saturday was so long, extending around the block, so they decided to come back and try again.

“People are scared,” Los Angeles resident Drew Plotkin said. “There’s a lot of panic in the world and people want to be protected for the worst-case scenario.”

“It’s better to be prepared than to not be prepared. I already stocked up on food. Ammo was just the next step,” another gun owner said.

Hard to fault the logic, isn’t it?

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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