Did Thomas Jefferson own Slaves? #204

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Thomas JeffersonThird President of the United States

Series on Presidential Slavery

Thomas Jefferson was born at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia. His father Peter Jefferson was a planter and surveyor.  Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation’s owner the Jefferson’s returned to Shadwell, where Peter died in 1757; his estate was divided between his sons Thomas and Randolph. Thomas inherited approximately 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello. He assumed full authority over his property at age 21.

In 1768, Jefferson began constructing his primary residence Monticello (Italian for “Little Mountain”) on a hilltop overlooking his 5,000-acre plantation.  He spent most of his adult life designing Monticello as architect and was quoted as saying, “Architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements.”  

Construction was done mostly by local masons and carpenters, assisted by Jefferson’s slaves.  He moved into the South Pavilion in 1770. Turning Monticello into a masterpiece it was his continuing project.

On January 1, 1772, Jefferson married his third cousin,  Martha Wayles Skelton, the 23-year-old widow of Bathurst Skelton, and she moved into the South Pavilion.  During their ten years of marriage, Martha bore six children.

Martha’s father John Wayles died in 1773 and the couple inherited 135 people of color who were legally enslaved, and 11,000 acres.   Martha later suffered from ill health, a few months after the birth of her last child, she died.  Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, owned more than 600 African-American slaves throughout his adult life.  

Jefferson consistently spoke out against the international slave trade, outlawed while he was President, while he advocated gradual emancipation and colonization of domestic slaves. He believed black people were inherently inferior to white people and thought it was best the two races remained segregated.

Jefferson was a lifelong advocate of ending the slave trade and as president led the effort to criminalize the international slave trade that passed Congress and he signed in 1807, shortly before Britain passed a similar law.  This type of individual is a “fence rider”; they have slaves while trying to free them?

Jefferson supported gradual emancipation, training, and colonization of African-American slaves, believing that releasing unprepared people with no place to go and no means to support themselves would only bring them misfortune. In 1784, Jefferson proposed federal legislation banning slavery in the New Territories of the North and South after 1800, which failed to pass Congress by one vote.  

Jefferson expressed the beliefs that slavery corrupted both masters and slaves alike, supported colonization of freed slaves, promoted the idea that African-Americans were inferior in intelligence, and that emancipating large numbers of slaves made slave uprisings more likely.

After the death of his wife Martha, Jefferson had a long-term relationship with her half-sister, Sally Heming’s, a slave at Monticello.  Jefferson allowed two of Sally Heming’s surviving four children to “escape”; the other two he freed through his will after his death.  The children were the only family to gain freedom from Monticello.

In 1824, Jefferson proposed a national plan to end slavery by the federal government purchasing African-American slave children for $12.50, raising and training them in occupations of freemen, and sending them to the country of Santo Domingo.   

In his will, Jefferson freed three older men who had been forced to work for him for decades.  In 1827, the remaining 130 people who had been kept as slaves at Monticello were sold to pay the debts of Jefferson’s estate.

Although Jefferson is regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy, some modern scholarships has been critical of him, finding a contradiction between his ownership and trading of many slaves that worked his plantations, and his famous declaration that “all men are created equal.”

Yet, Jefferson continues to ranked high among U.S. presidents.


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Did John Adams own slaves? #203

Series on Presidential Slavery

John AdamsSecond President United States of America

He was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second President of the United States. He was a leader of the American Revolution and served as the first vice president of the United States.

Many of the Continental Congress and the Founding Fathers voiced their opinion on slavery including John Adams. He and especially his wife Abigail, were opposed to slavery, but it seems that his views on race were mostly in line with the times. 

Yet, he did not own slaves, his family was of modest wealth, and Adams was morally opposed to slavery and refused to employ slaves. His wife, Abigail Adams, went so far as to employ free blacks for labor as opposed to the two domestic slaves owned by her father. She also helped educate a young African American man in an evening school and their own family home while living in Philadelphia.

However, during the War of Independence, he was opposed in the use of black soldiers out of fear of losing Southern support for the Continental Army.  For John Adams, slave owner opinion seemed to nullify his approach to the subject during his political career.

Unfortunately, John Adams’ views on slavery were not so proactive. As a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature, Adams openly opposed legislation on the abolition of slavery in the state on the grounds that the issue was too conflict-ridden. He even wrote that legislation opposed to slavery should “sleep for a time” until it was less troublesome. Little did he know how many people would die settling the issue some decades into the future?

Yet, he was on the record as critical of the “privileged” Southern society whose power depended on human bondage. His slavery views became more obvious as he condemned the practice as “an evil of colossal magnitude” and worried about the effect slavery would have on the nation in the future. For him slaves were human beings and fully deserved the rights ordained by God that all men were granted.


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President George Washington on Slavery…#202

First President – George Washington

Series #1 on Presidential Slavery

George Washington’s stand on slavery was what he believed in and politically supported.   He never publicly talked against slavery, or for it. 

Washington had a strong work ethic and demanded the same from both enslaved and hired workers. He provided his slaves with basic food, clothing and somewhere to live which was not always adequate, and with medical care. In return, he expected them to work diligently from sunrise to sunset over the six-day working week. Some three-quarters of his slaves labored in the fields, while the remainder worked at the main residence as domestic servants. They supplemented their diet by hunting, trapping, and growing vegetables in their free time, and bought extra rations, clothing and house wares with income from the sale of game and produce.

His slaves built their own community around marriage and family, though because Washington allocated slaves to farms according to the demands of the business without regard for their relationships, many husbands lived separately from their wives and children on other plantations. Washington used both reward and punishment to encourage and discipline his slaves, but was constantly disappointed when they failed to meet his standards. Slaves resisted enslavement by stealing food and clothing, pretending to be ill and running away.

Washington’s first doubts about slavery were entirely economic, prompted by his transition from tobacco to grain crops which left him with a surplus of slaves. As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1775, he initially refused to accept African-Americans, free or slave, into the ranks, but reversed this position due to the demands of war.

Privately, Washington considered ending his ownership of slaves in the mid-1790s, but could not realize this because of his economic dependence on them, the refusal of his family to cooperate toward emancipation of the dower slaves(slaves fathered by owners), and his own principled aversion to selling slaves like cattle.

Some of George Washington’s slaves legally became free on Jan. 1, 1801. Martha did not choose to free these people.  George Washington’s Will provide for the emancipation of his slaves, he was the only slave-owning Founding Father to do so.

Because many of his slaves were married to Martha’s dower slaves, whom he could not legally free, Washington stipulated that, with the exception of his valet William Lee, who was freed immediately, his slaves be emancipated on the death of Martha. Martha Washington freed some of the slaves in 1801, a year before her own death, but her dower slaves were passed to her grandchildren and remained in bondage.

It is not surprising as civil war loomed on the horizon, that both North and South would claim Washington as their patron of democracy. Throughout the antebellum period he was beloved by Northerners and Southerners alike and by 1861 had come to symbolize all that was virtuous and heroic about the American Revolution.

Not opinion, fact!


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Mayhem in Madison, Wisconsin…#200

Madison, Wisconsin is only a couple miles away, I live in a small town adjacent to Madison.  Protesting continues in Madison.  The Beltline on the southwestern edge of the city has protesters almost daily.  The latest being a trucker, local not a big rig, was stopped on the Beltline by protesters.  They went up to his side window telling him they would let him though if he said what they wanted him to say.  It was never know what!  When he tried to move slowly forward, a protestor fell to the ground screaming that he had hit her with the truck.  When police and EMT have arrived, they could not get to the protestor because the crowd would not let them through. 

When they did manage to get to her, she was transferred to the hospital with “no injuries”.  These things are not just in someone else’s backyard, they are covering America like a Locust plague, locust moves from one area t the next destroying all vegetation in their path.  I am beginning to think that the peaceful protest are now gone and have been replace by some small out of control movement that is crossing America one block, one road, one business at a time.

Tuesday night, a man was protesting inside a restaurant downtown Madison with a megaphone and a baseball bat.  The male protester was using his megaphone to disrupt the peace; the baseball bat on his shoulders was a threat as he yelled at customers and restaurant staff at point-blank range.  His arrest looked eerily similar to George Floyd, but this time police were handling him with kid gloves, patient and mindful of what could happen.  I believe these protesters are deliberately testing law enforcement, waiting for them to make a mistake.

The man struggled with police and was not cooperating, he did yell I cannot breathe and no one was anywhere near putting this man in such a position.  He apparently was using the George Floyd words to call attention to himself.  Bystanders demanded officers release him claiming he had done nothing wrong, he was only exercising his First Amendment rights.  Bystanders with cameras did not give up, yelling let him go free.  He was officially detained for disorderly conduct while armed (with baseball bat), resisting arrest, and attempting to escape.

Two of the officers suffered minor injuries during the arrest.  The question…was there a more peaceful way to handle the situation.  The customers did feel threatened.    

Later in the evening, protesters marched from the county jail downtown to the state capitol, blocking traffic and promising that it would not be a peaceful protest.  They tore down one statue called “Forward” the state motto and another of Col. Hans Christian Heg, an abolitionist who died fighting of the Union in the Civil War; they dragged them into Lake Monona. 

Later, fury exploded outside the Wisconsin State Capitol as protesters smashed windows at the statehouse, attacked a senator, then tearing down the statues.  State Senator Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee took a picture of the protestors.

Protesters, chanting for the release of the man who had been arrested earlier, also broke glass at the Tommy Thompson Center on West Washington Avenue, and set a small fire at the Dane County jail before police arrived just before 1 a.m.

Assembly Speaker robin Vos, R-Rochester tweeted of being sad at the “cowardice” of Madison officials to deal with the thugs.  Well, the public and our Nation as a whole have tied the hands of Law Enforcement.  They are “fearful” of what may happen to them if they show any force.  Listen people, you either want law enforcement that protects and handles “thugs”, or you want “thugs” to be set free or not touched at all no matter what they do, burn, loot, beat up people.

After 1 a.m., a line of about 20 police officers stood in riot gear as a crowd of about 100 remained, breaking into occasional chants; police played a recording stating the gathering was unlawful and telling people to leave.

I have not been out in six months due to health problems, not Covid-19, I do not know if I am lucky or not.  However, all of this is what is happening in my neck of the woods along with a few of my own opinions tossed in.


Defacing America…#198

Statue of Theodore Roosevelt is to be removed from in front of the American Museum of Natural History.  The statue shows Roosevelt on a horse, with a Native American man and an African man on his sides.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “That while Roosevelt was a “complex” figure, there’s an important distinction between the statue and the man – and the statue itself is especially problematic, in this case.  The statue clearly presents a white man as superior to people of color, and that’s just not acceptable in this day and age, and never should’ve been acceptable,” de Blasio said.

Well no Mayor…the man and the statue cannot be separated as you say, they represent the same.  Just because he is on a horse with the Indian and Black man at his sides does not mean the statue represent racism.  This is the perception of someone who alone believes it is so and gathers people together to protest.

Protestors are “on a roll” and God help anyone or anything get in their path that they dislike.  America is now talking about changing everything from street names, parks, you name it; an instant dislike it’s gone.

Maybe we should start a protest against fat and remove all fast food places, change restaurant menus, candy and soft drink companies.  Let us shut down everything regarding to “fat”.  Now, you will say that is ridiculous, it is, but there is a lot America needs to change.  Fat kills!

Mayor De Blasio’s hands are not clean.  He and his wife as co-mayor, wasted $1.8 Billion of the taxpayer’s money.  De Blasio and ‘co-mayor’ wife Charlene McCray have wasted $1.8B of taxpayer money, he was not removed.  Chirlane McCray, who has just been revealed as a world-class boondoggler in her own right.  Both have been involved in activity or projects that are unnecessary and wasteful of time or money, and undertaken for personal or political gain.  De Blasio has a history of campaign finance scandals; he is no stranger to fundraising scandals. Therefore, a protest should be started to remove him from office that would save taxpayer money.  However, that involves voting!

Prejudiced and ignorance appears to be unchecked by local authorities. Several of the defaced monuments are of abolitionists, including the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln.  America’s education institutions do not merely keep kids ignorant, but actively teach them to hate their country for its past.

Federal Law Prohibiting Removal or Defacing of all Historical Statues has gone to the wayside.  I am ashamed of what is happening in our country and how people are so blinded by the attempts to split our Nation in half.  This movement of hate is like a cancer growing in our country, it is destructive and history is being destroyed by those truly ignorant to the facts and encouraged by public figures and media.

Slavery in any form is deplorable and is truly the most disgusting thing I can think of.  However, thousands of people are under the cloud of slavery today, in the Middle East and Africa.  In addition, every race in the world has been in chains of slavery at one time or the other.  If we know our history, see the results of history and are taught factual history the good and the bad, then we have less chance of repeating it.

If this destruction of historical monuments continues to be allowed how long until other things like, our historical literature is burned in town squares. None of us is responsible for what our ancestors did or did not do period! I stand firm in the belief that anyone that destroys any type of monument of our history should face legal charges. What’s next, National Park, Battle Ship, Mount Rushmore?

And, if you destroy, the symbols that mark our history people will forget and can easily repeat the mistakes of the past. 


Calls for reparations are growing louder…#196

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the Union General William Sherman confiscated land from Southern States and mandated it be re-distributed in 40-acre plots to the freed slaves.  Thus, the term “40 acres and a mule” came to be and that mandate was never filled.   Since the freed slaves refused to join work gangs to help restore the South, most landowners divided their fields into plots and rented them out to blacks and whites alike. In exchange for use of the land, the tenant would turn a portion of their harvest over to the landowner.

The debate has raged for almost 200 years that America owes the descendants of slave’s reparation money because their ancestors were slaves.  The argument is that African-American’s built America.  This is questionable; all of American citizen’s ancestors help build America.

Ever since a Union Army general announced in Galveston, Tex., that “all slaves are free” on June 19, 1865 — a day now commemorated as Juneteenth — the question of how to compensate the country’s formerly enslaved people has hung over the United States.

Are we opening up Pandora’s Box?   A  Congressional subcommittee held a hearing on the legislation, which would develop a commission to study the long-lasting effects of slavery across generations and consider a “national apology” for the harm it has caused.

Once reparation becomes Law, will it go far beyond slavery?  With the definition of reparation being “For wrong doing”, and with all the MEGA “wrong doing” by the US government, Federal, State and Local, many will want to jump on this Bandwagon.



Offensive is out of control…#194

It would appear that our society is submitting to a spirit of offense with increasing regularity.  Many harbor bitterness and resentment, it manifest into hate, anger, intolerance, violence and yes, fear.  With all of these in place, it distorts views on truth, some become ignorant.  Ignorance produces more of the same!  Offensiveness exists but it is not necessary to pick it up and run with it.  Hate exists but we do not have to act upon it.  We do not have to assume a victim mentality, if we know the truth.  When we know the truths damaging side effects cannot touch us.  We then become part of the solution and not the problem.

Americans find many, almost everything offensive, and here are only a few researched, and the most offensive are not at the top of the list.

  1. Offering an 18-Year-Old a Drink
  2. Leaving Kids in Strollers Outside Stores
  3. Talk in the Imperative Form
  4. Saying Certain Words
  5. Not Leaving a Tip
  6. Letting your child play nude in fountains, pools.
  7. Not smiling at people
  8. Discussing salary
  9. Eating certain foods
  10. Commenting on weight
  11. Hiring someone based on looks.
  12. Standing too close to another person
  13. Topless women
  14. Staying at a restaurant visiting after finishing a meal
  15. Letting a birthday person pay for on food
  16. Waving at a waitress or waiter
  17. Slurping food
  18. Sitting through the National Anthem
  19. Putting money on counter when paying
  20. Kissing on the cheek
  21. Speaking another language in front of others
  22. Clothes-less people on TV
  23. Cursing on TV
  24. Using Metric
  25. Sitting in front of a cab
  26. Offensive nicknames
  27. Smooching in public
  28. Red light districts
  29. Staring
  30. Sharing cultural things
  31. Public baby feeding
  32. Not glorifying the military
  33. Having more than one wife
  34. Disrespecting the National flay, wearing it on clothing for example
  35. Friendly banter
  36. Not replying back
  37. No swearing, vulgar language
  38. Discuss your sex life
  39. Laughing at accents
  40. It’s offensive to make racial slurs
  41. It’s offensive to make  sexist comments
  42. Why don’t you have kids
  43. Gay relationships, which of you are the man/woman
  44. Will you tell your child he/she is adopted
  45. Death – they are in a better place
  46. I will pray for you
  47. Are you pregnant (overweight people you just met)
  48. Your just a housewife
  49. I’m not racist, but
  50. Calling someone retarded


Lies catch up with you…#193

Why does Trump not want to have the Bolton book published, for one reason it is no doubt damning and another is it is too close to election to have yet another damaging cloud hanging above his head.  Trump’s accusations are that Bolton’s book contains classified information.  The President has warned Bolton of possible criminal charges.  Trump is saying that Bolton did not have a pre-publication review. 

The Justice Department is requesting that a federal court order Bolton to have the book reviewed and to retrieve and dispose of existing copies in a manner acceptable to the government to ensure that there are no classified information.  Bolton is said to have covered many topics, showing chaos in the White House, major players, Trump’s inconsistent decision making and dealings with allies and enemies.

I find it difficult to find that Bolton wrote anything that the public throughout the world does not already know. 

The president decided the entire White House staff was working against him, running their own agenda, not his.  All of his business dealings have been under investigation one way or the other.  Trump held covet meetings late at night, avoiding official operations.  He has fired all of the White House staff from the beginning.  He is a volatile president who throws temper tantrums like a child.  His administration is filled with lies and chaos.

Trump is oblivious to the extent of the Virus; he avoids giving a straight and truthful answer or opinion.  He rolls his eyes at questions from the Media.  He has misled the American people.  Our Nation is living with uncertainty, fear and anxiety people want facts not assumptions.  Who does Trump see as enemies, to name a few, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Al Gore, Mitt Romney, Colin Powell, all news Media, The Democratic Party, and anyone who disagrees with him in the Republican Party.

Trump’s first views on American Protesters, after the killing of George Floyd, he threatened demonstrators with violence, vowing military actions against Americans.  He pushed for aggressiveness on law enforcement; He says and does anything that he believes will get him reelected.   

What will be Trump’s next move, in my opinion…

If Trump is in office another four years, we will be living under a dictatorship.  There is no economy so to speak, so tax cutting will be of no help, the economy is gone.  If you continue to live a life shut behind your door, you will become conditioned and told for your own good, you will then live under a tyranny.     


A President that no longer wants to acknowledge the Virus…#192

The normal facial expressions and body language of the American President.

The President of the US wants to stop testing for the Virus, his statement, if testing stops right now we would have very few cases.  Well correct, if we stop testing, we will not know the count, if we stop all data, deaths, hospital cases, etc., we will have low numbers in our statistics.  Just when I think he cannot come up with another brainless statement, he does.  It is election time, this is not the only reason for his stupid remarks, and he has been making them for the past four years.  His take on it, “it makes us look bad”.

Currently many states across the US since the reopening has spiked.  The one thing I do agree with, that masks are probably optional because the American people are truly informed about the Virus and can make their own decisions.  What I take issue with is their informed decisions will have the possibility of spreading the Virus. 

VP Pence has encouraged governors to downplay the spread of the Virus despite increased cases since “reopening” the country.  Like Trump, he too believes that testing will lead to cases that are more positive, are these two real.

It appears that Trump has convinced his base that the Virus no longer exists.  I, like many others ask the question, what happens to a country when its President no longer wants to acknowledge this Virus?


Remember these things when you go to vote…#190

The Trump administration on Friday formally rolled back an Obama-era policy that protected LGBTQ patients from discrimination and required robust language translation services, unnerving health experts who worry vulnerable populations will face further risks during the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is believed that he did this to mobilize his religious base, since he has had so much criticism over his handling of the Virus and death of George Floyd.  He reversed an Obama policy that banned health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients and women seeking abortions.  Remember this when you vote.

President Trump praised the use of tear gas and other force to disperse Minneapolis protesters, calling it a “beautiful scene” and describing the National Guard’s actions “like a knife cutting butter.”Trump praises law enforcement response in Minneapolis, says confronting bigotry will ‘go very easily’ at event in Dallas. Remember this when you vote. 

Trump also said, “I’ll never forget. You saw the scene on that road … they were lined up. Man, they just walked straight. Moreover, yes, there was some tear gas and probably some other things and the crowd dispersed. By the end of that evening, and it was a short evening, everything was fine.”  What scene was he watching, not the one I was watching.  Remember this when you vote.

President Donald Trump drew criticism for scheduling the rally on June 19, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where white mobs attacked black citizens and businesses in one of the country’s bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence.  Trump has been criticized for trying to militarize the U.S. response to the protests.  He denied that the date for the rally was on purpose, no he was thinking of the numbers of people he might bring out.  Remember this when you vote.

Now he has changed his mind, as usual and said that he is honoring the day by moving his rally to June 10, news on Trumps changes overnight…who can keep up with all the dumb things he says or does.  Think of this when you go to vote.

President Donald Trump is making sure that supporters who are set to attend his upcoming rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, understand that he is not responsible for their possible exposure to the novel Corona Virus.  Trump, cannot be held liable if anyone attending the rally contracts the Virus.   

Remember he is making sure that he is not responsible for anything, like he always does.