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The homes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – Monticello and Montpelier respectively – will “wake up”.
The engine of a rewriting of the legacy of these two great presidents revolves around the subject of slavery.
Certainly, there is nothing more abominable or more obscene in the history of our republic than slavery. Nothing.
JAMES MADISON’S VIEW ON SLAVERY IS A MUCH MORE “NUANCED” HISTORICAL TOPIC THAN MANY UNDERSTAND IT: TURLEY
Recognizing this, it is irresponsible and problematic to view the lives, achievements, sacrifices and mistakes of men born over 300 years ago through the clouded and biased prism of today. And yet it seems to be playing out ominously in both homes thanks to the dictates of some liberals and democrats who help run both the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, owner of Madison’s beloved Montpelier.
Jefferson’s Monticello is being redesigned to “finish the restoration of the landscape from slavery” – there are signposts and interactive displays that endlessly connect Jefferson on this. One of the main tours now at his house is called: “Slavery in Monticello”. On the internationally acclaimed house’s website, visitors see: “Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘all men are created equal,’ yet enslaved over 600 people in his lifetime.”
Visitors to Monticello are now greeted by a faceless black man framed in a very large painting that was commissioned in honor of Juneteenth. Complementing these works of art are books sold on the Monticello property by critical proponents of the race like Ibram X. Kendi and Ta-Nehisi Coates, as well as several non-fiction works on Jefferson’s slaves. Where houses once listed job descriptions for servants, all are now preceded by the word “slave”.
President John F. Kennedy seemed to see Jefferson differently in 1962 when he said at the White House in honor of Nobel laureates: “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever never been reunited at the White House, except perhaps when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” Now some want Jefferson’s vision, genius and courage downplayed or outright dismissed in favor of imprecise or incorrect images projected through today’s skewed prisms as his name is elsewhere smeared, his statues removed and his name removed from various buildings and schools.
The same treatment applies to James Madison – only the man known as the “Father of the Constitution” who was the force behind the Federalist newspapers and the Bill of Rights. Yet in his own home he is now labeled “The Enslaver”.
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The houses of Jefferson and Madison being reimagined raises the obvious question, “Which Founding Father is next?”
As I wrote in my recently published book which aims to prevent the undoing of our founding fathers and the 4th of July, we must engage in honest and civil discussions regarding the shameful practice of slavery. But in doing so, we must not forget some of the contradictions or even the empathy of imperfect human beings engaged in a tragically common practice of their time.
As has been reported, much of the reimagining of Monticello and Montpelier appears to be funded by Democratic billionaire David Rubenstein. While he apparently helps finance the dismantling of Jefferson and Madison’s reputations, Rubenstein seemed to be optimistic about economic investments in China – a communist country that enslaves, tortures and executes innocent men, women and children. Namely, here is Rubenstein at a recent World Economic Forum: “Long term, China has a very bright economic outlook, it has a large population, very hard-working, well-educated people, etc.
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With the decision to turn Monticello against Jefferson and Montpelier against Madison, it is clear that those on the left who are undoing American history, toppling statues and sandblasting the names of our founding fathers of schools and universities are upping their game of intolerance.
As we debate our history, it is always our duty to stand up for our founding fathers whose vision, genius and courage created the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
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