Fellow Redstater Jake has already commented on how the left is now exposing their true colors. Erasing the vestiges of slavery, beginning with the Confederate flag, is now turning to its logical conclusion. Calls for removal of the Jefferson Memorial are now being made by leftists because he owned slaves. Never mind the fact that no one is advocating slavery anymore. Never mind the fact that Jefferson abhorred slavery and freely admitted that many slave owners were trapped in the moral conundrum of denouncing slavery while not wanting to release slaves for fear of social upheaval. Our generation is indeed more enlightened when it comes to the evil of human chattel, and racism in general, but I do not believe in judging the past by the standards of the present; it will universally lead to denunciation and repudiation especially with the attenuated connections the left insists on making.
If the Jefferson Memorial should be removed because he owned slaves then the Washington Monument should be removed because Washington also owned slaves. Next should be the US Capitol. One historian has stated that his research revealed that at least 40o slaves were used in the construction of the Capitol while their owners reaped the profit from the government. Slaves were also used in constructing the White House so it should be left to crumble. Jefferson and Washington should be stricken from Mt. Rushmore. Washington, Jefferson and Jackson should all be removed from their respective dollar bills and coins. They should be replaced with good, democratic presidents who would never have owned slaves.
What are we coming to? One bad act, by today’s standards, is enough to condemn a man and cast off the rest of his life’s contribution to not only his nation but the world. Jefferson was the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence and was the catalyst behind the Louisiana Purchase. Madison, was a principal power broker in the constitutional convention and wrote the Bill of Rights. He led the nation in the War of 1812 and managed to observe his constitutional restraints while every other wartime President has expanded the grasp of the executive. Washington led our nation through its war for independence and served as its first president which provided a very needed stability for the young Republic. Many of his actions set precedents for Presidents still observed today.
Jackson, for all the vituperation he has suffered of late, is considered the man who began the modern presidency. He gets flack for the Trail of Tears but a proper historical analysis reveals that Indian removal was an idea supported by a good majority of the people of whom Jackson was the champion. Although poorly executed might be an understatement, forgive me for having the tenacity to forgive him. What many don’t understand about Jackson is that he single-handedly preempted the civil war from beginning in the 1830’s. When South Carolina prepared to secede during the Nullification Crisis it was Jackson who called for the troops and prepared to led them himself. He crafted, alone, the Proclamation to the People of South Carolina which outlined the flaws of nullification and became the centerpiece of Lincoln’s argument against the southern states thirty years later. After all, it was Lincoln who said the issue of secession was “fully discussed in Jackson’s time, and denied… by him.”
As Jon Meacham said “Not all great presidents were always good, and neither individuals nor nations are without evil.” We all recognize that slavery is wrong but we should also recognize that our founders were not without flaw and, despite those flaws, we should still continue to honor and memorialize those men whose individual contributions vastly surmount the total aggregate contribution of D.C. politicians today and the past decade or so, if not longer.