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June 11, 2024 92 mins

Robert and Prop talk about Jefferson's wild years as a slavery debate bro in Paris, and also the fact that he was for sure a pedophile.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Also media.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
Thomas Jefferson more like Thomas.

Speaker 3 (00:08):
Jerk jerk jerk made sons that.

Speaker 1 (00:13):
Come on, I don't what are we doing?

Speaker 2 (00:16):
What are we doing here? Tried?

Speaker 3 (00:18):
You know, likes Anderson? How about the mass?

Speaker 2 (00:21):
And there you go.

Speaker 3 (00:24):
He apologize, the queen apologize, and I'm getting a very
dirty look.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
This is this, This is like.

Speaker 3 (00:37):
Hold up, caught a stray over there? I apologize.

Speaker 2 (00:41):
This is like when when two climbers trying to do
like Killimanjaro, but is a surprise storm apologize like because
because what we do, I would say, is like the
emotional equivalent of climbing kill him and Jarro, which I
assume is one of the hard mountains.

Speaker 3 (00:56):
I don't know much exactly the same.

Speaker 2 (00:58):
Yeah, it seems like it's difficult. You know what else
is difficult?

Speaker 3 (01:01):
Prop what else is difficult?

Speaker 2 (01:04):
Talking about the life and many moral compromises of Thomas Jefferson.

Speaker 3 (01:10):
And we're gonna do it four hours several.

Speaker 2 (01:13):
More hours to go. Yes, I hope you're feeling nice
and rested after our first two parts, because we are
getting into well, I guess we already got into the
meat of it. We're getting into more of the meat
of it. It's like like an RB's sandwich. There's a
lot of meat. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:29):
Did you have a nice birthday?

Speaker 2 (01:30):

Speaker 3 (01:31):
I did? It was fun. I went fly fishing for
a little bit. Then I came home and I wrapped
at the La County Fair. Oh cool. Which they're now
like they're curating the stage a little better. So it's
like usually if you're not like War or Steely Dan,
it's like it's not worth your time, like to perform
at the fair. Yeah, but now like you're usually you're

going after like a Journey cover band, But now like
they're curating the stages better. So this was like a
hip hop stage next best La And that was dope.

Speaker 1 (02:01):

Speaker 2 (02:02):
It is something every man has to ask himself at
some point. Are you more of a Journey cover band
or are you more of a Steely Dan cover band?

Speaker 3 (02:09):
Man? I think I think I'm a Steely Dan guy.

Speaker 2 (02:12):
I'm Journey. I've known that about myself for a long time.

Speaker 1 (02:15):
Yeah, I'm neither.

Speaker 2 (02:18):
Yeah, Yeah that makes sense, Sophie, I wouldn't.

Speaker 3 (02:21):
I mean, yeah, I.

Speaker 2 (02:23):
Feel like you could do a really good rendition of
Come sail Away by Sticks.

Speaker 3 (02:28):
I'd do a War, You'd you'd be a fun Telly
cover band. Okay, okay, I could see you do I
could see you in a George Clinton band like yeah,
in the base maybe, and.

Speaker 2 (02:37):
I could see you in the mov PCU like George Clinton.

Speaker 4 (02:41):
I can't do any of these performance I have no talent,
so I can't do any of these things.

Speaker 2 (02:47):
Being a boss, Jeremy, he was, Okay, you're right, Sorry,
we should stop. I shouldn't make my twelfth reference to
that movie.

Speaker 1 (02:56):
Yeah, don't, don't do it.

Speaker 2 (02:59):
So that's the cold open. We'll come back in a
second with some Thomas Jefferson for you, and we're back prop.
You would have guessed how many kids Martha Jefferson had
during the first ten years of her marriage to Thomas.

Speaker 3 (03:17):
How many kids Martha Jefferson? I wish I knew this. Ten?

Speaker 2 (03:21):
No, No, six, six, That's still that's still a lot
of kids.

Speaker 3 (03:26):
For Test's still a gang of kids, dude. After now,
I've obviously I've never given birth to a child, but
I watched it once and if I were a female,
I would be like, yeah, never get yeah, never akin,
Am I going to do that?

Speaker 2 (03:42):
Yeah? I don't feel like I would want to, and
I especially wouldn't want to if I had the kind
of track record Martha has, cause you want to I
want you to guess how many of those six kids
do you think made it to adulthood?

Speaker 3 (03:51):
Oh my god, five, two, two.

Speaker 2 (03:58):
They didn't do great. This is a difficult time to
have kids. But that's not a good race. Six kids
two out of six is not good, man. And it's
some of this is I think Martha. Martha has from
what we can tell, difficult pregnancies, like and this is
going to do a lot of permanent damage to her,

right she.

Speaker 3 (04:20):
Just had Obviously, you know we've we've said this many times.
You're considering the state of like, let's sit racism aside
for a second, but considering just the state of medicine,
there's no other air i'd want to live in.

Speaker 2 (04:36):
Absolutely not.

Speaker 3 (04:37):
Yeah, there's no thank you, But there's some like sorry,
I'll pass. I'm just yeah, I'm like, okay, uh, you
got to cut on your arm. We just have to
chop it off. And there's this, here's some whiskey and
a stick to bite down on. Nah, I'm good, No,
I'm good.

Speaker 1 (04:57):
From that narrative, Yeah, I.

Speaker 2 (04:58):
Would give up modern medicine for one thing, and it's
if they could send me back far enough to see dinosaurs.
I would give up most things for dinosaurs, Like even
if they immediately come after me and eat me, Like
I mean, I feel thirty seconds would be worth it.

Speaker 3 (05:13):
Yeah, your thirty seconds would be worth it because whatever
ancient mosquito that bites you immediately, right, it's.

Speaker 2 (05:19):
Like yes, super super yellow fever. Yeah, yeah, your malaria
gets malaria, yeah immediately. Oh yeah, just just ruined. So anyway,
the Jeffersons, I don't know if I want to say,
like give him too much shit for this ratio. I

kind of a get we get so little from Martha
in part because Thomas destroys a lot of her correspondence
after she dies. So maybe she was super as much
into having kids as he is. It's kind of hard
for me not to look at how he treated the
people he owned and the fact that Martha was basically
pushed into having so many kids until her body gave out,

and like, yeah, kind of drawing a line between those
two maybe wow, But maybe that's not fair because we
just don't know anything about what she really felt on
the matter. Yeah, you know, sure, as a result of
you know the fact that Martha's in ill health this
whole time, the whole time that they're married and trying
to have kids. But Jefferson's engaged in an activity that
was very common for American slave owners, and in fact

very common for rich people using like not enslave, but
like peasants and stuff over in Europe too, which is
having a wet nurse. Right in their case, the wet
nurse was Ursula, who's again, you know, one of the
people that Thomas owns, and she is the wet nurse
for basically the entirety of the time that Thomas has
kids and grandkids. Ursula is almost as much of an

unknown as Martha, or is actually more of an unknown
even than Martha, because we do get a little bit
from Martha, but we can assume from the facts that
she was almost super humanly tough. She nursed for base
twenty five years straight, both je kids and his grandkids.
That's a lot sheesh, Yeah, that's that's a lot of nursing.

Speaker 3 (07:10):
That's a lot of milk. Her poor boobs, got it?
Ya know?

Speaker 1 (07:15):
It hurts to hear that, Yeah, it does.

Speaker 3 (07:17):
You're just in and I still don't understand how you
can I mean, I don't. I don't know how how
a person can laxate when it's not their child. I
know it's a normal thing, but like idea, Yeah, I
just there's there's parts of science and me me being
a girl dad with like a wife and two daughters.
I'm still there are still parts of Therefore, I'm sorry.

I'm one of those basic men where it's like I
feel like I'm pretty progressive, but there are certain things
that I'm just like, aw, that's a mystery. I don't
know how you do that magic.

Speaker 2 (07:51):
I don't know how like emotionally because it's it's it
seems like it's such a head fuck, right, yeah, you
really you can't even like these are the kids of
the people who own you. You can't nurse a baby
and not develop a connection to the baby. Like it's
just it's a baby. You're nursing it. That's like what
people do.

Speaker 3 (08:11):
An incredibly intimate moment, yeah, of bonding, which is like
why we the humans do it? You like you bond
you know?

Speaker 2 (08:22):
Yeah? Yeah, it just feels like almost unavoidable. And Thomas
has a habit of crediting in his writing Ursula's milk
with almost supernatural power writing that when one of his
children was sick, a quote a good breast of her
milk would heal them almost instantaneously. That's how he writes
about the quantity a.

Speaker 3 (08:41):
Good breast.

Speaker 2 (08:43):
Of breasts. Yeah, wow, yeah, one a unit of breast.
I get. Yeah, I don't know, it's weird. Seems like
a weird way to write it, but I don't actually
know how else you'd write it. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (08:54):
Is he trying to be poetic?

Speaker 2 (08:55):
I think he usually is. Yeah, in this case it
comes across off putt it doesn't y y.

Speaker 3 (09:02):

Speaker 2 (09:03):
And it's one of those things, like, you know, we
have to keep a couple again, of kind of complex
things here, which is that this is on Jefferson's part,
you know, obviously a system based on violence. On Ursula's part,
this is also like her family, and that might be
how she, at least from what little we know about her,

that may very well be kind of how she felt
about these kids that she's nursing. Yeah, and again kind
of saying that I'm not saying that like Jefferson was
a good slave master because that didn't exist, or that like, well,
this was one of the good places to be in.
But if you're nursing two generations of babies, you probably
feel something for those kids, And that seems to be
the case. And one of the reasons I like Henry

Winseck's book Master of the Mountain is that he reflects
on the complex dimensions of this relationship with a line
that I think is really useful to parsing out what's
going on here on a moral level. Quote asked to
reminisce about Jefferson, several summoned up warm memories of their master.
On the other side of the divide. However, Jefferson left

no intimate account of the Monticello slaves. In other words,
members of the Hymmings, Granger Evans families expressed affection for
Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson relied utterly on these people for the
health and safety of his family, and, based on the
writing We left Behind, never gave them a second thought.
Beyond that, there's no real evidence he thought of them

as people. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (10:28):
Function, They were able to see him as a person,
which I think is interesting. Yeah, yeah, complete function. Transaction
in the way that you would take care of your car,
right right, the way Cato thought of slaves, Yes, exactly.

Speaker 2 (10:42):

Speaker 3 (10:42):
Man still hung up on like the mother part of this,
I'm like, because again, like my organizing premise is that
people are just the same. As long as the time changes,
it's still the same. So like, is it vanity for
you're a woman to be like I'm not gonna nurse

my own child because I want to keep being a
part of like the social life. Is this like is
my baby like a is it like an accessory? You
know what I'm saying. So like I caught them out
to impress the other girls, but far be it for
me to let my figure look weird now, Like, so
I don't want my boobs to sag? Or is it
like are you jealous? Is it a sign of status

that someone else's nursing your child? Like, I just I
want to know so much more about like what's the
mindset on that, which, of course is like.

Speaker 4 (11:32):
It's actually like super com it's not super uncommon even
in today's day and age.

Speaker 3 (11:37):
So no, that's why I was like, it's got to
be I'm like, it's got to be a thing because
clearly we still do it now.

Speaker 1 (11:42):
Yeah, a lot of times it's health based.

Speaker 2 (11:45):
Yeah, I think everything that you said, all of the
different reasons are reasons why people in the past and
probably the sumach sent today have had nurse maids, especially
when you're talking about like we are talking about enslaved
people being used as nurse maids here, but like in Czarist,
you have people who are not slaves, they're not really
fully free, and they're used as nursemates by like the
wealthy families, the czar and stuff. And sometimes it is

it like, well, I don't want to be doing that,
you know, I don't want to take this onto my body.
I don't have time but a lot. I think with
Jefferson in particular, and with with Martha Jefferson, it's that
she's just not well, she's not yeah, and they're they
think that this will help make the children more because
the kids are also not healthy.

Speaker 3 (12:25):
Oh yeah, because they keep dying and they keep they
keep things. Okay, yeah, obviously, like the health stuff is
like I mean, every woman can't like to it like that.
It is what it is, you know what I'm saying.
So I totally understand that. Please guys, don't come at
me like I know like you, I'm a dad. I
know that, like everybody can't make milk, But it just
seemed like this was a strange, like yeah, the grankiest cuz,
like you know what I'm saying, Like you tell me

nobody in this family, you know. So that's why I
was like, what's going on?

Speaker 2 (12:50):
You know? I wonder too if someone what's going on
with like ursula is Obviously, when you're a slave, you
are being constantly taken advantage of by all of the
people who own you, right, But these babies, even though
like they're their parents, obviously are taking advantage of you. Yeah,
the babies, they're babies, right, Like they need milk, you know.

And so to a degree, maybe I understand like why
that would be that would make the whatever you have
connection you have to them like stand out more because
like it is this thing that needs you that is blameless.
I don't know, I don't know, can't get it. You know.
There's probably a million different ways people felt when they
were in this situation, and we'll never know because they
were denied the ability to like express themselves anyway. So

that's a bummer. And the eighteen nineties, du mas Malone
writes a six volume history of Thomas Jefferson. This is
generally considered to be like the first definitive biography of Jefferson.
It still gets cited quite a lot to the present
day because obviously the eighteen nineties you're probably not talking
to a lot of people who knew Thomas directly, but

a lot of people who's like parents knew Thomas you
can still talk to, right, So you do have a
lot closer access to a lot of those sources. And
obviously Dumas's book there's a lot of scholarly value to it.
But Dumas Malone also very much wants to pretend slavery
is not happening, right, or not that it's not happening,

but that it wasn't Jefferson was not a bad example
of a slave owner. Right. Part of how he does
this is he really emphasizes all of the things Jefferson
would say about how ugly slavery was, like this quote.
No one could find in his words any ground whatsoever
for the opinion that slavery in eighteenth century Virginia was
or would ever become a beneficent institution. He regarded it

as fundamentally cruel and was in no possible doubt that
it undermined the morals and destroyed the industry of the
masters while degrading the victims. So we see, even decades
after the Civil War, you've got this respected historian parroting
Jefferson's line. And we talked about this in the early episodes.
Jefferson would always be like, Yeah, slavery's bad because of
all of the bad things it does to white people.

It makes the masters lazy, and it makes them like
worse people.

Speaker 4 (15:03):

Speaker 2 (15:04):
I find it interesting that Malone is carrying that forward
kind of and not really he doesn't do what a
historian should, which is examine what wine Seck is going
to do more than a century later, which is actually examined, well,
how did Jefferson actually behave in his life? Did he
act like a man who felt like it was unethical

to yet these people he owned do all of the
work for him, and he doesn't, you know. Yeah. Malone
goes on to quote another line from Notes on the
State of Virginia, which he describes as perhaps the most
erudent summary of the evil of slavery, and can the
liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have
removed their only firm basis a conviction in the minds

of the people that this liberties are of that these
liberties are of the gift of God, that they are
not to be violated but with his wrath. Indeed, I
tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,
that his justice cannot sleep forever. That considering numbers nature
and natural means only a revolution of the wheel of
fortune and exchange of the situation is among possible events.

That it may become probable by a supernatural interference. The
Almighty has no attribute which can take a side with
us in such a contest.

Speaker 3 (16:14):
That that's the quote, that's the one who that's the one? Yeah, yeah,
at least that I've been refercent where I'm just like, bro, yeah,
if if God is just, he's not on our side. Yeah,
Like what like how you let that come about your mouth? Like, well,
I mean it's true, you know what I mean.

Speaker 2 (16:32):
It's true, and it's it is good writing, like just yes,
structurally obviously as a piece of like craft, it's it's good,
except for I think you can't you can't view it
as craft in a vacuum. You have to look at
in part what he actually meant by this, And I
don't think it's often enough stated that what he's talking
about here is his belief that a race war is
inevitable if black and white people live too, true, right, Yeah,

Like that is what he's expressing, and that is something.

Speaker 3 (16:57):
He believes, and and they and a genuine fear at
the time. Yeah, you know, it's like we can't like
at this point, you can't let them because they're just
gonna there's more of them, and they're going to destroy
us because we've been treating them terribly. Yeah, obviously this
is such a sensitive topic, especially with like being like
all eyes on Rafa, you know, and just a sentiment

that I would venture to say is might actually be
a motivating factor for how you know, obviously I'm not
at the table, but how like some of the people
in the government of Israel might be thinking too in that, Like,

you know, every we've covered it so many times, a
hood put politics, like every piece of research, every piece
of research is like, when you have state sanctioned violence
like this, you inevitably radicalize and create insurgencies. What you're
doing will do this. And and if you are trying
to eradicate every possible threat to your safety, it's genocide.

That's your only option. You gotta kill everybody, you know,
what I'm saying because someone's you can't you know what
I mean. So it's like, so I wonder if they're like, well, shit,
we can't stop now, like we went this far. Like
if they do, they're gonna wipe us out because we're wrong,
you know. So I just I wonder if that thinking
is like a part of it, a part of their
calculation right now, Well, I mean, what are we gonna do?

Speaker 2 (18:27):
You know, I certainly, I'm sure, I certainly don't think
when we're talking about like net and Yahoo right that
I don't know that I think he's capable of thinking
that he's wrong on a moral level. And also, you know,
a lot of this comes down to like beliefs about
religion and God, which totally further kind of derange some
of that. Yeah, Jefferson expresses accurately why slavery is evil

and expresses a fear that that evil will rebound upon
white people in America. Yeah, and then he doesn't do
anything to even make a better situation for the people
he owns, right, And that is contrary to how he
is depicted. Even in Ellis's book American Sphinx, they had
this long passage where he's like there was no such

thing as good slavery, Like it was bad and it
was hypocritical of Jefferson, But among people who owned people
in the Americas, he treated the people he owned better
than most. And the case that win Seck makes is
that like he really didn't. And this is going to
bring me prop to a thing that I did not
know about, which is Thomas Jefferson, slavery and smallpox. Yes, yes, okay,

so you're are you yeah yeah yeah, yeah, yeah yeah,
give it to. At the time of the Revolutionary War,
there existed a fairly effective inoculation against smallpox. Now by
modern standards, it was brutal and dangerous, like by the
by the standards of a modern vaccine. This is basically
cutting someone's skin and sticking like the scab from like
what's called like either from cowpox or another like smallpox

or whatever, like under their skin, and it kind of
where it works basically the way that a vaccine works.
Obviously it is one or two percent of people die
that you need.

Speaker 3 (20:07):
Yeah, it's an analog. It's an analog vaccine, you know.

Speaker 2 (20:10):
Yeah, yeah, it's it's an anally. That's a good, A
good way to look at it. And it's it's pretty
unpleasant to receive, but it's also a one or so
percent chance of dying from this is wildly better than
your odds of just raw dogging smallpox. Right, Like, smallpox
is one of the worst things that human being never
in count vicious. So because if you are a slave owner,

the human beings you own are probably, if not most,
then at least a very significant chunk of your wealth,
a lot of slave owners chose to vaccinate the people
that they own right against smallpox, or inoculate, I think
is the more accurate term to use, and not because like,
you know, we're great people, but because like, this is
a sensible way to protect assets.

Speaker 3 (20:54):
You know.

Speaker 2 (20:54):
Yes, one of the slave owners who chose to vaccinate
the people he owned was George Washington. Now I don't
say that to like be like, look at all wonderful
George Washington hanging out vaccines. I say that to contrast
Thomas Jefferson, who refused to take the same preventative action
for the people that he owned, even though he could have,
and he was not. This is not because you, I think,

could be not for like being a slaver, but you
could be forgiven for not like vaccinating your kids in
this era if you didn't have access to information about
how much better it really was, and it's information is
harder to come by than good information. On Thomas Jefferson
as president is at one of me. I think the
first president who's like a vocal advocate for smallpox inoculations, right,

he is like really really insistent upon this. He himself
was inoculated at age twenty three, so he knew that
this worked, which suggests that he did not fail to
vaccinate his slaves out of ignorance. We don't know why
he didn't either. I think it comes down to either
just like laziness, like he just didn't get around to it,
or he was too cheap to do it right, And

I don't really know what which it was. Right, there's
a darker possibility, which is that he may have done
it because he thought it would make the people he
owned less likely to flee, right, because if they run away,
they're more likely to encounter smallpox. And maybe if they
know that they don't have any sort of defense against it,
it'll make them And that's relevant because of what happens

during the Revolutionary War. So as is always the case,
whenever anyone went anywhere back then, in large numbers. British
soldiers who like came to North America to fight in
the Revolutionary War brought smallpox with them and spread it
like wildfire everywhere they went. There is evidence that they
had done so purposefully in the French and Indian Wars

as part of like is essentially part of smallpox blankets, right, Yeah,
significant evidence there. So during the Revolutionary War, Virginia's royal
governor promised freedom to slaves who would leave their masters
and fight for the king, and the British army provided
shelter to run away families of slaves. Jefferson would later
claim that thirty thousand slaves tried to take the British

up on this offer, and twenty seven thousand of them
died of smallpox. Now that's a hideous number. Prop Do
you want to guess where Thomas Jefferson came up with
that number?

Speaker 3 (23:16):
Where you come up with the number.

Speaker 2 (23:17):
He made it up. He just made it out.

Speaker 3 (23:20):
I was like, there's no as he was as you
were talking, I was like, how would you get that data?

Speaker 2 (23:25):
Like just lie?

Speaker 3 (23:26):
I was like a census where they taken Like, there's
no census on this. Bro. Yeah, I was totally thinking.
I was like, unless I'm wrong, that's funny.

Speaker 2 (23:34):

Speaker 3 (23:35):
It was also I also wonder if there's this if
if you know, the whole eugenics, the eugenics of it
all plays plays a role in just believing Africans are stronger,
and just you know what I'm saying, it's like, well
it doesn't affect them.

Speaker 2 (23:48):
The way, maybe they won't. Yeah, yeah, I think that that.
That's probably a number of things that feed into it.
But this is like like when I was a kid
and Wikipedia was new, I would just edit Wikipedia articles
to win arguments with my friends, and I think that's
kind of what Thomas Jefferson is.

Speaker 1 (24:04):

Speaker 3 (24:04):
No, listen, I'm looking at it. It was like thirty thousand.

Speaker 2 (24:06):
Yeah, like word. Trying to figure out where this number
came from, historian Cassandra Pybus went through the original sources
and found that Jefferson had written that thirty of his
own enslaved workers fled during the revolution and twenty seven
of them died of smallpox. Right, Thus, he just did
ten thousand, That's literally what he did. Yeah, as far

as he can tell, he was like, yeah, probably about
one hundred times that many people or whatever.

Speaker 3 (24:34):
Why not.

Speaker 2 (24:37):
Very I mean, it's just such a like slap dash.
He gets such a reputation as being like the most
the greatest political genius in American history, and like he
certainly wasn't that he had his areas of intelligence, but
like that's just such lazy work.

Speaker 3 (24:52):
Nah, bro, you're a regular dude, like all of us
do that like nine years last night, you know you didn't.

Speaker 2 (24:58):
Yeah. Yeah. So the actual evidence based estimate is that
about five thousand enslaved people in Virginia and Maryland fled
to the British lines, and a huge number of these
people did die of smallpox, but the blame for that
should go to owners like Jefferson, who had neglected to
inoculate them. The British army. This is weird because this

episode they're kind of some of the good guys. Normally
I would not call them a particularly ethical force, but
they attempted to mitigate this right and save these enslaved people.
They inoculated runaway slaves as soon as they arrived in camp,
but the disease was just spreading too quickly. They did
not have enough doctors to actually do this right. Yeah,

like they did try from what I From what I've read,
it seems like they tried pretty hard to avoid to
save as many people as possible. It was just kind
of beyond their capability, right, which is fair given like
the realities of above smallpox and the realities of smallpox. Sure.
In his farm book, Jefferson holdly recorded the losses, writing quote,

joined the enemy and died next to the names of
two girls, Flora and Quomina, who were eight and six
years old. God again, he writes that as if like
it's like a free adult who has made the decision
to become a traitor. Right, this is talking about even
joined the enemy.

Speaker 3 (26:24):
Hoping none of us look at the age.

Speaker 2 (26:26):
Yeah, these kids together are fourteen years old. Like, come on, man,
I'm gonna lay out the story of these two girls,
but I want you to keep that very cold description
about the deaths of two children in mind and compare
that to this passage from Dumas Malone's biography Jefferson and
his Time, written in eighteen ninety two. Quote, At Monticello,

domestic servants were abundant, and a number of the favorites
came into his possession through her ursula. The fat woman
who nursed Patsy and later children, and her husband, King
George had been acquired for Missus Jefferson. Well. The noted
Hemming's family, who were mostly bright Mulattoes, came through the
Wales estate. Jefferson was kind to his servants to the
point of indulgence, and within the framework of an institution

he disliked. He saw that they were well provided for.
Seems like well provided for would include an inoculation from
small parties.

Speaker 3 (27:18):
Yeah, I was like a little bellies is fool, that's
what you're saying.

Speaker 2 (27:21):
Yeah, And he closes with the lion. His people were
devoted to him and they made his home life comfortable
and jolly. I don't know, man, the six and eight
year old but died didn't seem jolly. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (27:33):
Demoted to you, bro like this words, doing a lot
of work, buddy, Yeah, become a devoted Okay.

Speaker 2 (27:40):
Flora and Quomina fled with their ten year old brother
Jimmy and their mother sal. Earlier, we talked about Jefferson's
household slaves like Ursula and George, who expressed affection and
acted with loyalty towards Jefferson. These were members of the
families that Jefferson kept close. Some of them were literally
his cousins and brothers and sisters in law, but Sally
and her family lived further down the mountain doing menial work.

Jefferson records Sal as a quote laborer in the ground.
Now to speak about the British Empire again, you know,
prop and we've talked about this on the show. When
the British Empire would take a place right, like India, right,
they would find a group of people to be like
the term used is like warrior people right there. This

is the tribe or the community or whatever that we
recruit soldiers from to help us police the and they
get extra privileges. And part of obviously the most obvious
way that this helps a colonizing entity is that it
gives you soldiers, right. But the other way it helps
is that it creates division within the community you're ruling,
and people will be angry at the warrior race, right,

you know, as opposed to being as angry it focused
on you. Jefferson does that at Monticello right between He
deliberately kind of sets up conflict between these laborers in
the ground and the people who are working in the house.
So the people who are allowed to like learn a
trade and become something like a blacksmith, right where you're
able to make some money for yourself and you have
a degree of independence. That conflict is a part of

what he is kind of he's very deliberately stoking because
it makes it easier for him to control people, right.

Speaker 3 (29:18):
And persist to this day. Yeah, yeah, yeah among the
black community for sure. Yeah, we've gotten a lot wiser,
but it definitely persists to this day.

Speaker 2 (29:28):
And it you know, there was possibly violence as a
result of this. One of the kind of I don't
want to get too much into it because it just
the the actual evidence on this is unclear, but Ursula
and a number of the people he owned who were
like close to the Jefferson family, who like in the house,
died all at the same time. This is a lot

later in life, is after I think after his presidency. Yeah,
and there were there were kind of suspicion at the
time that they might have been poisoned, and it's possible
that it was like kind of as a result of
a conflict between the different sort of communities of people
at Monticello. Yeah. I don't think we'll ever really know.
But that sort of thing happens elsewhere, right, Like we

have like it's not impossible that like he kind of
incited something that led to a lot of people, including
like the woman who nursed his children getting murdered. Yeah,
you know, unclear as to what actually went down. Some
of this is like it's just so long ago and
so little of this was documented. We'll never know. And
they didn't have the ability to like do blood tests

and stuff for poison, you know, yeah, it being the
seventeen hundreds or eighteen hundreds, yeah, and all that stuff.
So Flora and Quomina died of smallpox in the British
Army camp. Jimmy and sal returned to Monticello, I think,
frightened by how much smallpox there was in the British camp,
and then they died at Monticello. Shortly thereafter. Another family

of laborers in the ground, Hannibal and his wife Pat
fled with their six small children, all of whom of smallpox.
And I again, I'm not used to writing about the
British Army as like good guys here. Yeah, but that
is kind of what we're building to. But you know,
who are good guys?

Speaker 3 (31:12):
No, I don't, please tell me who is.

Speaker 2 (31:14):
The products services. Oh we'll be back in a minute, folks. Okay,
we're back. So I want to talk about the British
Army here prop because I didn't know this history. It
kind of makes me surprised at the humanity shown by

the literal British Army that the Americans do not show here.

Speaker 3 (31:40):
Yeah, the place that colonized eighty percent of the world,
right there to show some humanity Okay.

Speaker 2 (31:48):
Yeah, a surprising amount here, because when the Revolutionary War ended,
the victorious Americans wanted the slaves that had fled and
were currently living with the British army back, right. That
was a demand that was made British diplomats. Obviously, British
diplomats didn't give a shit about these people, so they're like, yeah, sure,
you can have them back. That seems like an easy
thing we can give you as we sure, Yeah, who cares.

Speaker 3 (32:10):
If we want to be different? Yeah, right when I
get it.

Speaker 2 (32:13):
Yeah, But the British generals, the field commanders were like, no, no, no,
we promised these people freedom as a matter of our
personal honor. You don't get to give them back. Wow,
we made them a promise, and I think this is
the largest act of emancipation prior to the Civil War
because these British commanders ignore their diplomats and take eight

to ten thousand black Americans away by boat and they
are freed.

Speaker 3 (32:43):

Speaker 2 (32:45):
You have to be pretty evil for the British Army
and the seventeen hundreds to be the good guys. Yeah, anyway,
I don't know, kudos to those British commanders.

Speaker 3 (32:56):
Oh yeah, that's even an interesting thing to where they're
like they're honor code. They're like, dude, we gave our word. Yeah,
like we made a promise. Yeah, we made a promise.
And it's like whether however they feel about probably, you know,
the humanity of it all and seeing like these people
is like one thing, but then it's like the other
thing of like, well we're no, we're like, we're members

of the Royal Army. We have a certain amount of
dignity and honor in our word means something, so like
we gave them our word and also fuck y'all.

Speaker 2 (33:26):
Yeah, so fuck y'all. That probably wasn't none of it.

Speaker 3 (33:28):
Yeah yeah, yeah, like man, fuck you like no, you know, yeah.

Speaker 2 (33:34):
Yeah, yeah. In seventeen eighty two, Martha Jefferson died. We
don't know what killed her. It seems to be one
of those deals where you know she's not healthy, she
has a lot of difficult pregnancies. Her body just kind
of gives out on her thing man. Yeah, Yeah, it
seems like she had kind of a rough life. Jefferson again,
I think he destroys the correspondence that he and Martha

had had earlier in their relationship. There's a you get
the feeling he wanted to obscure a lot of this
as much as possible of Martha's personality and who she
was from the eyes of history. I don't know why.
I guess it's possible and maybe even probably likely that
it was just he was devastated by this and he
couldn't bear having them around. It may just literally be

a human moment for him where he just like couldn't
he couldn't take having those those letters exist. I don't
know his friends at the time, do right that he
was unusually devastated by which I mean people like Edmund
Randolph wrote stuff like this in a letter to James Manison.
I never thought him to rank domestic happiness in the
first class of the chief. Good, But I scarcely supposed

that his grief would be so violent as to justify
the circulating report of his swooning away whenever he sees
his children. So that's like the claim that he makes
is that, like Jefferson's like can't even be around his
kids without passing out. He's so so stricken by grief.
So that may that may honestly explain enough of like
why he Obvio destroyed their letters and stuff. He just

he may have just been really shabow. Yeah, yeah, he's
still a person, right, It's sad. In seventeen eighty five,
our boy TJ was sent to France to act as
basically ambassador. They use a different term back then than ambassador,
but he was an ambassador, right, his actually attache. Yeah,
something like that.

Speaker 3 (35:21):
It's a fun word.

Speaker 2 (35:22):
Yeah, I like it. I like the word act.

Speaker 3 (35:24):
I want.

Speaker 2 (35:25):
I hope to be an attache at some point someday. Yeah,
I'll do it in France, you know, fuck it, I
think I could represent this country. His actual day job
was negotiating various treaties, but he spent most of his
time bullshitting with French intellectuals and radicals and watching the
precursors to the French Revolution wind their way into being right.
So he is. He is a famous and highly sought

after dinner guest, and like the father of liberty is
how a lot of people see him when I talk
to him, Except he's also he owns a bunch of people, right,
Like the same year he moves to France to do
the job, he sells thirty one slaves to appease his creditors,
right to deal with the interest on the debts that
he has. Oh wow, Yeah, the end of the war

had come with a resumption of interest payments and the
expectation that indebted planters like Thomas Jefferson would make good
on their obligations because most of them, including Thomas and Thomas,
most of these Virginia planters who owe money owe it
to British people, right to like banks and other creditors
over there. He is, you know, infuriated by the fact

that as part of negotiating it into the war, his
debts have come due again, because he's come to understand
by the time he's in Paris that a mixture of
his own debts and his father in law's debts and
the brutal realities of the interest rates both had agreed
to meant that he couldn't really escape the situation he
was in right, like he was never going to be

It's like, you know, a lot of people have student
loan situations right like this, right where it doesn't matter.
I will never be.

Speaker 3 (36:59):
Able to chain this.

Speaker 2 (37:00):
Yeah. Yeah, this is like one of the most important
things for understanding him as a thinker, because he is
number one, He's he's hugely against the idea of inherited debt.
This is like a major part of like what he's
going to advocate for in politics. And just this, the
mix of shame and desperation is like a major factor

in shaping the man that he is because he always
has this this kind of like it's like a fucking wolf,
like always chasing him right gnawing at his back. And
this is part of what's going to shape his attitude
towards slavery and Jefferson's feelings here come from a series
of complex things. He is a believer that the American

struggle for independence, our revolution was the start of an
inevitable wave of liberty that was destined to sweep the globe.
If you read about how the guys like you know,
Marks in eighteen forty eight and the people after him
talk about the inevitable socialist world revolution that's coming. Thomas
talks a lot like that. You know, he's not a socialist,

but he's talking about like liberty as he conceives it,
and he sees that, like well, it's going to come,
probably in France next, but it's destined to sweep the
world and the only things standing in the way of
liberty are the British, who are an inherently counter revolutionary force.
And he has this belief that, like, well, because the
British are inherently opposed to human freedom, they're doomed. The

empire is inevitably on its way to collapse. It's past
its height, it's falling apart. Now, that was not accurate,
right at all. No, the British Empire doesn't reach its
height for more than a century after this point, right,
Like it does quite well for a while. Yeah, And
it's also like you, no one would call the British
Empire a force for human liberty, but they did ban

slavery decades before the United.

Speaker 5 (38:49):
States, much earlier, day, earlier, much earlier, and I would
call that a meaningful ass if you're thinking about like
liberty is a global cause, that's a mean thing.

Speaker 2 (39:00):
It's more meaning. Jefferson does after this point.

Speaker 3 (39:03):
Yeah, that's pretty big, man, like that that's that's a
that's a that's that's a. Yeah, that's a that's in
the W line. Man, I gotta tell you, bro, that's
in the W line. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (39:13):
You can and should point out that the British still
made use of situations that were not all that different
from slavery, and even still did profit from slavery in
some ways and the periphery of the empire. But like
they still this is still a major step that they
take well before the US does.

Speaker 3 (39:28):
Yeah, they were doing prison reform earlier too. Yeah, looking
at like how to make our prison a little better?
Like at least can we them at least it.

Speaker 2 (39:37):
Yeah, Jefferson is kind of racist against the British, so
he can only see them as like this inherent counter
revolutionary force with realities like well, actually the things that
pe like British people within the British Empire are major
parts of this swing towards greater human liberty and respect
for like the autonomy of man. They play it, their role,

they also play their role in trying to quash it.
You know, it's accomplishing.

Speaker 3 (40:01):
Everybody else, Yeah, just like everybody else. I wonder, like,
I think it's an interesting moment in time too that like,
actually I never thought about it to you said it
that like, by luck of the draw, you get to
be born in an era where there are sweeping international
changes or revolutions that are happening, like when you if

you just happen to be in one of those moments
like an industrial revolution, like a you know, or like
you said, like this idea of like, you know this
for for us, it would be like at least for
a black person, it would be like being around in
the sixties and being like, this is international the world

is changing, you know type moment. And I never thought
about this time after the revolution and this concept of
being like yo, like it's democracy thing y'all, like trying
to tell you, homie, like this this whole this is different,
fam like you know, we don't King's homeboy, like it
was about to go crazy right now, like what it

you know again, barring what my personal experience would have
been at that time that moment in history, man, I
never thought of it as like, wow, it's kind of
like a moment, you know.

Speaker 2 (41:15):
Yeah, yeah, a lot of people do. And there's like
good reason too, right, I mean, like the Haitian Revolution
also totally all that was happening, not that right, like yeah, yeah, yeah,
and we know how that ends. But at the time
it could have it would have looked to someone who
was like less not racist, you know, in the way
Jefferson was, you might have been like, look, really it
is like this wave is it's coming more seriously, this

is just the start of it, you know, exactly, at
least for a while. So you can see how someone
might have believed that as a representative of the new
nation of the United States and a slave owner, Jefferson
found himself regularly needing to defend his people and himself
while he was in France to all these kind of
like philosophers of liberty. These guys, a lot of whom
are going to become like politicians who are going to

have elected leaders in the Republic that's coming. A lot
of these guys see him as an advocate of the
cause of liberty, and they're confused because they're like, yeah,
we love what everything you say, and it's amazing that
you guys won your war. How do you own people?
How can you be this guy and own people? My boy?
But yeah, like.

Speaker 3 (42:18):
Bars everything you say, yeah, bars, yeah, like yeah, help me, yeah,
help me figure this out.

Speaker 2 (42:27):
And for a time, Jefferson is kind of able to
He kind of is able to bamboozle a lot of
these people by pure eloquence. He had first written out
an abolition plan, and that pamphlet his friends had published, right,
the kind of first thing that starts his political career,
proposing first that the slave trade be ended, and then
that the enfranchisement of the enslaved people already here carried

out gradually. Right, And part of this does happen. We
do ban the Atlantic slave trade, right.

Speaker 3 (42:53):
Yeah, that's first. He can bring no new ones.

Speaker 2 (42:55):
Yeah yeah, but we never there's never like that gradual.
There's never a graduate emancipation of the enslaved people here, right,
because he's kind of proposing basically, we like, I don't know,
draw lots or whatever and over you know, twenty years
or whatever, everyone gets freed. You know, that's kind of
the idea. You're let believe reading this.

Speaker 3 (43:13):
Yeah, you ramp down. It's like it's like the switch
to electric cars where it's like, yeah, you can't just
like you know, put every mechanic out of business. Today
it's like, yeah, we gotta you gotta like slow it down,
and you know, yeah, yeah is what he's saying.

Speaker 2 (43:28):
Yeah, that's what he's saying. And obviously, like that's bad, right,
the idea that like you would you would feel the
need to not, you know, fuck over the slavers. But
it would have been if we'd done that, it would
have been better than what we did, which was nothing
until we had a war, right until we fought. Yes.
In Notes on the State of Virginia, as part of
this European charm offensive, Jefferson had laid out a more

detail plan for emancipation. So he writes this first plan
out kind of before he gets into Congress, and then
during the Revolutionary War, as he's trying to really make
sure that like these these French thinkers that he admires
so much and who are backing our war effort, stay
on his side, he lays out a different emancipation plan,
and it's a much colder one than the last one.

Under this plan, enslaved adults would stay that way forever,
their children would not and in fact, those children would
be taken away from their parents and put into some
sort of public training program that amounted to a crash
course in being a free person, and then, at age
twenty one or eighteen for women, they would be given guns, tools,

a small amount of livestock, and be sent somewhere else, right,
And the idea is, we can't have them living among
us killers, but they can have a colony, you know,
and that'll.

Speaker 3 (44:46):
Give you a gun and leave you here crazy. Yeah,
Like okay, say, look, man, that's just not smart.

Speaker 2 (44:55):
Yeah, it's kind of I think like this thinking is
sort of what leads to liberia. Like Jefferson is kind
of the I don't know if he's the very first,
but he's one of the first, certainly the first guy.
The level of prominence he's at, who's kind of laying
out that sort of a yeah right yeah, and it's
god the level of evil in like, well, of course,
we can't free people who are already slaves, but we

will take their children away from them and have an
orphan colony.

Speaker 3 (45:21):
Bro. Like, like, just say it again out loud, bro, Like,
just say it out loud to yourself again, Like word,
that's yeah for real?

Speaker 2 (45:28):
Fam like, Yeah, I want you to sit alone at
the mirror and just look into your own eyes as
you say, I want to abduct the children of slaves
to make an allied colony.

Speaker 3 (45:39):
Yeah. Yeah, and that's and that's going to make them
be appreciative what you did for them, that's yeah. And
he's like, oh, absolutely, now we're sending him back to Africa.

Speaker 2 (45:51):
No, they're gonna be fissed. Yeah, his attitude was more
like Kansas. I don't think he's saying Africa. Yeah. I
think he wanted you because he's colonizer right right, And
that's you know, in these Jefferson episodes, that is very
much part of like the bad things that he did,
his attitudes towards colonization and the Native Americans. This is
there's so much to say just about slavery. I didn't

really feel like I could, like I kind of wanted
to focus these episodes on that. I'm not leaving that
out because it's not important. It's just no, there's a
lot to say about Jefferson, you know.

Speaker 3 (46:22):
Yeah, he's he's a multi dimensional character that, like you know,
obviously when you at least from from my perspective, once
you add it all together. I'm like you, I mean,
you're still a ship bag.

Speaker 2 (46:35):
Yeah, you know what I'm.

Speaker 3 (46:36):
Saying, Like, at the end of the day, you are.
But it's but it's a complex shit bag, you know
that that Like yeah, and.

Speaker 2 (46:42):
He had he was in power for or he was
in you know, a political an active political figure for
more than forty years. So there's just you.

Speaker 3 (46:51):
Can't to say, yeah, you can't shake your fist at that,
Like that's that's some real Where did I get that
phrase shake your fist that?

Speaker 2 (46:58):
Yeah, you can't prize myself, you can't do all the
shaking of your fist that's necessary in four episodes right
where we're really just there's even stuff, there's a lot
plenty about Jefferson and slavery that we're leaving out. I
just didn't know how to fit at all. Besides like
his fourty five keys. Yeah, So Jefferson when he's talking
about you know, he has a lot of these like

salon meetings, these like long dinners with these different French intellectuals,
and his chief argument as to why it's just not
possible to do a general emancipation yet is that if
they did one, a race war would inevitably follow and
his credit and one letter to a friend, he placed
the blame on deep rooted prejudices by white people, which is,

you know, sounds sympathetic, but then he also blames ten
thousand recollections by the Blacks of the injuries they have sustained.
And then beyond that he adds the real distinctions which
nature has made, which is race science. Right now, he
was talking about, yeah.

Speaker 3 (47:56):
You're two for three, bro, Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (47:59):
Yeah, those first two points, well those are things. Yeah,
like people are going to be very angry about what's
been done to them, and you do have to account
for that somehow. And then he gets then he gets
into the race science. And this all worked on a
lot of his admirers though, right, like a surprising number
of people kind of bought that, like, well, he doesn't

really like this, but this is a really thorny problem,
and like maybe he's right, you know, we have to
avoid a race war. Like you've got these kind of
intellectuals who know slavery is wrong, and they also don't
they haven't been in a lot of cases to the
United States. They don't have great context for like how
brutal the system really is, or how much Jefferson is
full of shit?

Speaker 3 (48:38):
Right, Yeah, It's like you got your little brother in
a headlock, and you're like, if I let you go,
do you promise not to punch me? Swear swear swear
on mo sweared on our mother that you will not
punch me. I can't let you go unless you swear.
Are you gonna punch It's like, man, yeah, what are
we talking about here?

Speaker 2 (49:00):
Yeah? That is Jefferson like gets himself trapped very much
in that that mode of thinking, dude, but he's good
enough about talking about it in a way that it
makes it seem less fucked up than it actually is.
That said, by the time Jefferson's been in Paris a
few years, some of these admirers of his have started
to notice that it shure didn't seem like any kind

of gradual emancipation program was in place, right. They were like, Okay,
we agreed with you, maybe this has to be done gradually,
but like, it doesn't actually seem like you guys are
doing anything over there. Yeah, what's up with that?

Speaker 3 (49:34):
Yeah? I hate that. I hate the like the what
I was going to guy? Yeah, that's the guy. I
got a lot of plans like, well, my plan is
to do this, but we got to make sure this,
and then I forgot about that, and then probably tomorrow
we'll go get it. Oh you was the I was
going to guy, You're not finna do it.

Speaker 2 (49:53):
I'm definitely gonna write this screenplay one day. It seems
like you talk about it a lot, but you're not
doing anything.

Speaker 3 (49:58):
A man maybe should write, maybe you should start.

Speaker 2 (50:01):
Yeah. Yeah, Jefferson is writing, but he is not doing
any emancipating. And one of the people who notices that
is French editor and future revolutionary politician Jean Nicholas de
mune who.

Speaker 3 (50:13):
You should talk about after this ad break.

Speaker 2 (50:15):
Oh yeah, shoot, yes, speaking of John Nicholas d'munet, these
ads would he'd love, would you? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah. D
Mooney yourself towards spending money, you can that one. Yeah,
we figured it out basically. Ah, we're back. So his

friend Demuinae is like, hey, it doesn't look like you're
doing any of the stuff you'd said you were going
to do, and Jefferson responds He sends a letter back
writing that emancipation has only been delayed because quote persons
of virtue and firmness thought the timing wasn't right. Quote.
They saw that the moment of doing it with success
was not yet arrived, and that an unsuccessful effort, as

too often happens, would only rivets still closer the chains
of bondage and retard the moment of deliberty to the
suppressed description of men. No, these really smart guys. You
don't know them, but they're like, they're super smart.

Speaker 3 (51:15):
They actually funny.

Speaker 2 (51:16):
If we like fuck this up, it'll be even worse
for the people we own. So we really just got
to kind of wait, you know, we gotta do it right.
We want to do it right.

Speaker 3 (51:24):
Yeah, We're gonna do it. We want to do it right.

Speaker 2 (51:27):

Speaker 3 (51:27):
I still believe there needs to be in all of
our halls of justice and dialogue and stuff like that,
the command FAM button. Yeah, like just to come on, fam,
Like there needs to be that needs to be a
button where it's like you can have these high and lofty,
you know, precedent setting you know, swooping, uh, you know,

air tight logical discussions that are probably again incredibly articulate
and air type. But I'm gonna hit the command fan button.
Come on fan, yeah, bright, yeah, and everybody in the
room knows what that means. You know what that means.
Come on, f Yeah, you tell me smarter people.

Speaker 4 (52:06):
Come on, fam, have you to have the come on
fan button and get the fuck out Claus in all situations?

Speaker 3 (52:12):
Yes, and to get the fuck out Claus get the Yeah.
Those are the two things we are.

Speaker 2 (52:15):
Adding pressing the pressing the common fam button and mashes
the mountain Henry Winsick Rights. Jefferson admitted mentioning that the
Virginia legislature had liberalized the slave laws so as to
enable individual owners to free people at will. For Demione
would have then asked why persons of virtue and firmness
had not yet freed their slaves, particularly why Jefferson had

not freed his. Jefferson also did not mention that in
revising the slave code, he had suggested a law compelling
a white woman who bore a mixed race child to
leave Virginia or be placed out of the protection of
the laws.

Speaker 3 (52:50):

Speaker 2 (52:51):
So yeah, yeah, that's pretty that's pretty bad. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (52:57):
So they already do it, jo like y'all, Yeah, y'all did,
we don't already y'all can do it, but ain't nobody
doing it? Mister virtue of people.

Speaker 2 (53:05):
Yeah, yeah, and it's what we're going to talk more
about his attitudes towards you know, what was then called missagenation,
because they're really incoherent, right, like they he is not
at all consistent about this, but that is a particularly
hideous moment, right.

Speaker 3 (53:19):
Like yeah, the missigenation. Yeah, the misigenation stuff is the
stuff that like swoops around like black community so much,
specifically about Thomas Jefferson. Why we're like, you're shitbag, bro, Like.

Speaker 2 (53:29):
Yeah, yeah, he wanted to because what he's saying there
is like if a white woman has a mixed race child,
they're not protected by the law, so like members of
their family can murder them and not get in trouble, right,
Like that is what he's suggesting, Like it's it really
is ugly. So the ideological incoherence behind between some of
the words and most of the actions of this prophet

of liberty are really well described in Ellis's book American Sphinx,
which is kind of written to explain this part of
Jefferson that like, wow, it really seems like he says
a bunch of shit that he does not do right
or that. Yeah. Yeah, And in that book, LS lays
out another example of how Jefferson jinked away from confronting

this issue in his correspondence with his French friends. You
know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition
not only of the trade, but of the condition of slavery,
he wrote to a French friend in seventeen eighty eight.
But I am here as a public servant, and those
whom I serve have not yet been able to give
their voice against this practice. It is decent for me
to avoid too public a demonstration. If my wishes to

see it abolished without serving the cause here, it might
render me less able to serve it beyond the water,
he began to develop the argument. It became the centerpiece
of his public position on slavery throughout his mature years
and until the end of his life, that the problem
should be passed along to the next generation of an
American statesman, and he really becomes the father of our
country in that moment, Like, well, really, what I got

to do is just push this on a generation.

Speaker 3 (54:55):
Sounds like it sounds like it sounds like a tomorrow problem. Yeah,
got it.

Speaker 2 (55:01):

Speaker 3 (55:02):
When I was a kid at our church, one of
our pastors Pastor Renee, he's just alg black woman. She
used to say, a lot of taki taki, not a
lot of dewey dewey. You know, you guys got a
lot of It's a lot of talkie talkie, you know,
Like I need to see a little more dewey dewey,
you know. So like every time I'd hear like this,
that's what I think of, Like, all right, pastor a right,
Pastor Renette, You're right, I need we need some more

dewey dewey. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (55:29):
So the question I'm left with here is was he
just a psychopath?

Speaker 3 (55:34):

Speaker 2 (55:34):
Like? Is he just one of the like a lot
of American politicians or politicians in general, who's calculating whatever
will he can say to further his interests, but he
just does not care about the reality of like what
he's doing. Or is it like you know, people use
that term for Steve Jobs, the reality distortion field, which
he eventually used on himself when he used to treat

his cancer. Is it that is he like, is he
really convinced himself that this is a well, I can't
be you know, most of the other people in American politics,
all these other politicians that I need to do these
other great things that I want to do. They can't
be anti slavery because of the realities of the you know,
the state that they're in, you know, the terrible time
that we're in. And I don't want to make them.

I don't want to embarrass them because then I won't
be able to do the other important things that I
need to do. Right, has he convinced himself of that?
Is it just the lie that he knows will work?
And I don't know. I contend that part of what's
going on here is what I like to call speech
and debate syndrome. Right, This is a tendency I've noticed
in public figures who came out of competitive speech and debate,

guys like Ben Shapiro, and it convinced themselves. Competitive debate
is a game with rules that you can, you know,
take advantage of based on what you can convince a
judge is true with wordplay and it's not or sorry.
They convince themselves that, like, because that's what debate is. Yeah,
they guys like Ben Shapiro convince themselves it's actually a
search for truth. Right that, Like, being able to win

a debate means that you're right even if you're just
like lying and saying whatever dumb shit comes into your
head to try and make an argument in that moment. Yeah,
and that means my arguments better. Yeah, exactly, It's like, no,
it means that, like, this is a game that you
score points in and you have found a way to
maximize your point And you can maximize your points by

just making shit up or exaggerating, lying about what's in sources.
Like I've done all of those things to win speech
debate competitions.

Speaker 3 (57:28):
Yeah, totally.

Speaker 2 (57:29):
Yeah, constructing an argument that sounds good is what matters.
And if what your writing sounds good enough, people won't
pay attention to like the incoherencies inside it. Like as
long as you can get you can razzle, dazzle your
opponent away from not noticing them, then you can win,
even if there are huge inconsistencies and the thing that
you're arguing. And I wonder if Jefferson is kind of

doing that to himself right in order to kind of
avoid getting judged by these people that he admires and
that he wants to think well of him, He's coming
up with all these kind of like bullshit ways to
obfuscate the reality, which is that he just doesn't really
want to free his slaves, right, yeah, like he likes
stoning people.

Speaker 3 (58:08):
And it just but it feels icky. It's almost like, well,
I don't want to sound like them fools, like yeah,
at least at least I'm like acknowledging and turning myself
into a pretzel rather than just sounding like this guy
like your you sound like a knuckle dragging you know
what I'm saying, Like I'm a I'm a distinguished civilized
man like and I wonder if there's that just the

pride of like even though I agree with y'all, yeah,
I can't accept that I agree.

Speaker 2 (58:35):
With y'all yeah yeah, because I know this is evil
and I don't want to be judged by people who
are better now or folks in the future. So I
have to find a way to thread the needle while
still getting the thing I want. Yes, So Jefferson writes
this banger kind of as an example of this sort
of sophistry. He writes this in a letter to Demine
about the injustice of slavery. When the measure of their

tears shall be full when they're grown, she'll have involved
heaven itself in darkness. Doubtless a God of justice will
awaken to their the stress, and by diffusing light and
liberality among their oppressors, were at length by his exterminating
thunder manifest his attention to the things of this world
and that they are not left to the guidance of
a blind fatality. Like eventually, God's going to realize how

fucked up this is. You'll take care of it.

Speaker 3 (59:22):
Right, It's going to end because this is wrong. So
if I don't do it, I know it's going to okay, Right,
God man twisted yourself in.

Speaker 2 (59:33):

Speaker 1 (59:34):
In Americans, unseasoned season Yeah no, salt no salt no, no.

Speaker 2 (59:41):
He would he Yeah. In American Sphinx, Ellis excla season, Yeah,
boiled chickens. Just just boil your boil your the dough
in a hot dog water. Yeah, yes, call it the
Jefferson Yes so in Americans, Ellis explains a lot of

the kind of the hypocrisy here by saying that Jefferson's
chief goal in any face to face interaction was to
avoid awkwardness and confrontation. Right quote. Jefferson always regarded candor
and courtesy as incompatible, and when forced to choose, he
invariably picked courtesy, thereby avoiding unpleasant confrontations. Letter writing was
a perfect instrument for this diplomatic skill, in part because

of Jefferson's mastery of the written word, and in part
because different audiences could be independently targeted. Yeah, and so
he's it's also like, well, part of what he's doing
here isn't even necessarily that he wants to be thought of. Well,
he just doesn't like to argue with people, and so
he's going to say whatever he thinks will get them
to stop giving him shit without confronting them.

Speaker 3 (01:00:43):
Right, that's crazy modern.

Speaker 2 (01:00:45):
Yeah, yeah, he does, right, he is. He is the
first twenty first century man.

Speaker 3 (01:00:49):
Yeah, yeah, he's crazy.

Speaker 2 (01:00:52):
He's an asshole out of time. So in this passage,
Ellis is kind of talking about the fact that while
he's living it up in Paris, Jefferson publishes all of
these letters back in the United States, like warning young
Americans not to go to Paris because it's like decadent
and depraved and it'll it'll ruin your morals as a person. Right,
He's like living it up and being like, oh, yeah,

you don't want to go to Paris, guys, you know,
just just just stay in the field in Virginia.

Speaker 3 (01:01:17):
It's fine, and I enjoy his French women.

Speaker 1 (01:01:20):
Yeah, he's trying not to get caught up.

Speaker 3 (01:01:24):
Get caught bro, you know what I'm saying, trying to share.

Speaker 1 (01:01:27):
Either he'sent xoxo to our life.

Speaker 2 (01:01:30):
Yeah, well, I think it's also you know, he's a
as a fairly modern, open minded guy. He's perfectly capable
of enjoying you know, the scene in Paris totally, but
he knows that that's not popular with like American conservatives,
so he has to write letters home about like, oh, yeah,
there's such decadent even like really gross people. We don't

need to be going over to.

Speaker 3 (01:01:52):
You, like, yeah, really be telling you what we're doing
out here. You know what I'm saying, he thought about
for it.

Speaker 1 (01:01:57):
He's every politician ever.

Speaker 2 (01:02:00):
No guys politician ever. You got to avoid the drugs
over there. Like I was sniff testing a bunch of
their cocaine the other day to make sure it's safe
for other people, and I'm just not sure. I'm gonna
need to check on more, right, you know, That's really
the only thing for me to do.

Speaker 3 (01:02:14):
Yeah, I wanted to go into these brothels to make
sure these women are being well taken care of. Yeah,
that they're healthy. And I just went in for that.
I just wanted to test.

Speaker 2 (01:02:22):
Yeah, And after nine or ten hours, I realized there
was no fire. Exit. Come on, come on, guys.

Speaker 3 (01:02:28):

Speaker 2 (01:02:30):
In one dinner with a bunch of abolitionists in France,
he was asked yet again, why hasn't there been any
move for general emancipation and you're supposedly liberty loving country.
Jefferson just bullshitted, saying that some slave owners had tried
to free their slaves out of the goodness of their hearts,
and they'd even given them land and like tools, and
it had failed because these poor black people weren't ready

for the realities of freedom, and they were so scared
they asked to be taken back as slaves. Now, hmmm,
that's obviously a lie. Like he's literally just like, I'm
just gonna lie so that these people I can win
this argument, right, that's what he's doing. One of the
guys he's at dinner with as an American who was
working as a spy for the British. He may have

also been a double agent working for the Americans. It's
kind of unclear but this guy writes Jefferson a letter
after this dinner, and it's basically like citation, please, like
you brought this story up? Where can I read more
about this?

Speaker 3 (01:03:28):
That's bullshit?

Speaker 2 (01:03:29):
Yeah, yeah, this seems interesting. Is there any evidence that
it happened? And Jefferson replied, oh yeah, dude, you know
it was some Quakers who did it, who like freed
those guys and then had to take him back. And
I don't actually know their names. Uh, but he he
offers up, let me get back to you. He does
offer up more details in this letter, some of which

contradict what he'd said during the dinner quote. I remember
that the landlord was obliged to plant their crops for them,
to direct all their operations during every season and according
to the weather. But what is more afflicting, he was
obliged to watch them daily and almost constantly, to make
them work, and even to whip them. These slaves chose
to steal from their neighbors rather than work. They became

public nuisances and in most cases were reduced to slavery. Again,
and that's very different. I also don't think that's true.
But like saying, well, they committed crimes and were re enslaved.
Is different from them saying begging taken back, right.

Speaker 3 (01:04:24):
They wanted to come back. RH few things in that story.
One is I'm obviously you can't say this of everyone,
but Quakers famously abolitionists, famously anti slavery.

Speaker 2 (01:04:37):
Yes, so the.

Speaker 3 (01:04:38):
Idea so like you're starting a story with the people
that already disagree with the institution in the first place
and helped out in the underground railroad data ones. Okay,
got it. So that's first number one. And then even
if you sit in even if that's true, you're sitting
across the table and you're like, you set them free
in a country where everybody else where they're gonna go tools.

Of course they're terrified. What the fuck are you talking about?
The first other free white person they see is gonna
kill them or try to enslave them. Yeah, of course
that's what happened. What do you mean they couldn't handle it?

Speaker 2 (01:05:11):
Like yeah, yeah, well, and that's so here's I wanted
to like, there's actually a real story behind us, and
it is completely different from the story that Jefferson tells,
which is that Okay, a bunch of around this time,
like in the late seventeen hundreds, a bunch of Quakers
had freed their slaves. Because there's kind of this almost
it's almost like a meme that overtakes Quaker culture, which
is this very specific argument that the conclusion of it

is that God has made everybody the same. Right, It's
like a scriptural argument, but the conclusion people start making
and they are like people traveling different Quaker communities like
arguing this is God made everybody the same, which means
there are no natural differences between the races. Everybody's just people.
We shouldn't own people, right, Yeah, Now, manu mission. When
this starts happening, manumission is illegal in Virginia. This is

the mid seventeen seventies. You're not a l to free
your slaves in Virginia. So Quakers spent years fighting in
court to make that legal, which culminates in Virginia legalizing manumission.
This is a big deal. During the years that Jefferson
was in state politics, he has to have known the
reality of the situation, right, which is not that these

people all had to go back into slavery. That is
not what happens. Like a lot of people just got
freed because Quakers were pretty chill. Yeah, Now Jefferson knows
he's lying. And part of how you know he knows
he's lying is that in that letter back to that
dude where he's like bullshitting about this, he's like, you know,
I'm probably I don't remember everything perfectly, so so don't

make it. Make no use of this imperfect information. If
you plan to write an article. I don't want you
citing me in an article.

Speaker 3 (01:06:46):
Don't quote me, bro, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:06:47):
Don't unless he says. If you want to quote me
in face to face conversations, you can do that.

Speaker 3 (01:06:53):

Speaker 2 (01:06:53):
If you want to just lie at as somebody, that's fine,
that's what I did, right, don't quote me. That might
get embarrassing when people realize I'm a liar.

Speaker 4 (01:07:00):
He said, I said, he said, I said, But I said,
but like, don't tell anybody.

Speaker 2 (01:07:04):
But don't tell anybody unless it's face then it's cool.

Speaker 3 (01:07:08):
So funny. Hey, look, I might be remembered, like I'm
telling you this happened. Wait, I might be remembered this,
but look, but but for real, though, don't quote me
on it. Yeah, so hilarious.

Speaker 2 (01:07:17):
Yeah, it's choice.

Speaker 3 (01:07:19):
Hey, So it's like, hey, so you don't know shit
then right, Yeah, so you're folks, so you don't know.
So what's the point of the story if you can't
tell me?

Speaker 2 (01:07:27):
Okay, great stuff, So speaking of I don't know basic reality. Uh.
The famed liberty liberty advocate spent a large part of
his years in Paris trying to get out of his
debts to his creditors by arguing that he deserved compensation
for the slaves who had died of smallpox. In general
Cornwallis's camp, Oh word, basically, I shouldn't have to pay

you people as much because I didn't want you killed.

Speaker 3 (01:07:53):
Yeah, they wouldn't have died if you ain't give him smallpox. Yeah. Wow.

Speaker 2 (01:08:00):
So his debts. The reason why he's trying to do
this is his debts, and a lot of those debts
come from that bad deal that he inherited from his
father in law. Are crushing at this point. In July
of seventeen eighty seven, he wrote to his property manager
in Monticello that he couldn't sell any more land because
it was quote the only sure provision for his children.
But he also couldn't sell more of his slaves quote,

as there remains any prospect of paying my debts with
their labor. Right, and this is we did the top
Roberty Lee episodes earlier this year. That's the same logic
as Lee. I'd love to free these people, but I
need them to make me money because I'm in debt, right,
sucking casts. Yeah yeah. And it's what's fucked up is that,
like Lee at least doesn't try to justify it other
than like, well, I need the money, you know, fuck it. Yeah,

I'm just a racist, you know, I really care. Jefferson
the Profit of Liberty has to like twist this by
claiming that what he's doing is somehow the best thing
for his slaves.

Speaker 3 (01:08:54):

Speaker 2 (01:08:54):
Quote in this, I am governed solely by views to
their happiness, which will render it worth their while to
use extraordinary exertions for some time to enable me to
put them ultimately on an easier footing, which I will
do the moment they have paid the debts due from
the estate, two thirds of which have been contracted by
purchasing them. Right. Well, the money came because we bought

these people, so like they kind of owe it, right.

Speaker 3 (01:09:19):
Yeah, we do. They do have a cost, Yeah, there's
a cost tied to this, and just you know, I
hate it. Yeah, the world we live in, it's our
modern world.

Speaker 2 (01:09:31):
But right, yeah, so even what's interesting, Yeah, because he
has this view that like, these people owe me for
the debt of their you know, bringing them over here,
and even the small children who like we're born here
owed me a debt. They are born owing me money. Right,
that is how he views this. You know, this guy

who makes a big part of his career trying to
like fighting against what he sees is the evils of
inherited debt, sees no moral quandary, and of fixing debt
to the children who are born into his ownership. And
in fact, a major story of Jefferson's Paris years is
that he comes to see slavery as the answer to
not just his but the whole nation's financial woes. Virginia

planters owed millions to bankers in Great Britain, and the
new nation also found itself hobbled by debt to the
country it had just beaten at war. Farming, Jefferson had
come to see, was a form of gambling because he's
a bad farmer. Right, It's like it's not reliable enough
for making money. Slavery, though, is a safe investment. It's
basically a treasury bond. Right. He writes at length to

his friends like gleefully basically that he's calculated a rate
of return, right, Yeah, and that I get because of
like my slaves are continuing to have kids. The value
of the people I own increases by about four percent
every year, and it's really stable. It's like the most
stable investment he that exists at the time. Right. And

this is particularly beneficial because Jefferson is going to use
these people as collateral with a Dutch bank to rebuild Monticello. Right,
That's how he funds making the house we're going to
talk about next episode. Is like using these people as
collateral and alone. He is a pioneer in financializing slavery, right,
taking it beyond just well, we need to grow food,

and we don't want to do it ourselves, so we
own people and use them for it too. I am
treating these people I own as an investment viasu as
it's a bond, you know, it's a treasury bond or something,
right like. That's how he's or money market account or
some shit, right like that. That's one of his big innovations. Now,
it's during this time in France seventeen eighty five to

eighty nine, that Jefferson also starts what historians often refer
to as his relationship with Sally Hemmings. I am going
to start by laying out the absolute verified facts of
the situation as we know them. In seventeen eighty seven,
midway through his ambassadorship, Sally travels to Europe alongside Jeffery's
daughter Mary. We do not know what Jefferson and Sally

did during this period or what point they started doing it, right,
Sally never writes anything about that, but during her two
and a half years in Paris, we know she negotiates
with Jefferson what Monticello describes as extraordinary privileges for herself
and freedom for her future children. Right like they have
a negotiation, Jefferson did free Sally's kids, and as Monticello

dot Org admits, Jefferson did not grant freedom to any
other enslaved family unit.

Speaker 3 (01:12:35):
Sally's the legend that right, we know about, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:12:40):
And that is the legend. Part of this actually is
one of the more satisfying, but one of like the
it's very interesting. This legend exists that like well, Jefferson
had a bunch of children with Sally Hemmings. That is
a legend in the black community for decades. Historians are like,
probably not, probably not, guys, we did the math. There's

really just you know, it's just unlikely. It's just unlikely.
And yeah, the historians are very much wrong.

Speaker 3 (01:13:08):
Yeah, he absolutely did. We know us.

Speaker 2 (01:13:10):
Yeah, yeah, we'll get to that. So this is rape,
and it's not just rape because he owns her right
when she moves to Paris. Sally is fourteen years old
and Thomas is forty four. Yes, hey everybody. As a note,
members of the Hemmings family have claimed that they think
the relationships started when Sally was sixteen. You know, we'll

never know for sure either way. You know, you're talking
either fourteen and forty four or sixteen and forty six.
I don't really think one is less gross than the other.
So there you go. Like, even if this had been
two free people, this was this would not be consensual. Yeah,
and I think that that the age gap gets left out.

That was not emphasized to me at least. Yeah, No,
was the cap again, fourteen and forty four. That's disgusting,
that it's really bad. Yeah, is three times her age.

Speaker 4 (01:14:12):
That is that is disgusting. It is I would like
for one second second, Yeah, I would like to pause
for a second. Fourteen she was a child. Forty four
he was disgusting, and forty four in that day and age,
he is old. He looks like shit is lizard skinny?

Speaker 2 (01:14:36):
I think it does? You know, that's again we don't
get nearly enough of like Sally or what she thought
that what you hear about, like her making this negotiation
for the freedom of her kids, Like what it suggests
is somebody who is incredibly intelligent and savvy and doing
the thing that is going to be best for her kids,

like that is in a hideous situation. But like I
wish we knew more of her, because what we know
suggests a pretty impressive person.

Speaker 3 (01:15:07):
Yeah, she was my entry point to Thomas Jefferson, which
is so funny. It's not the other way around, Like, yeah,
my entry point was so yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:15:16):
And it probably should be because this is kind of
what says the most about.

Speaker 4 (01:15:21):
But still, you did not know she was fourteen?

Speaker 2 (01:15:23):
I didn't, really I did. I did. I learned as
a young No, yeah he said he.

Speaker 3 (01:15:28):
Did, Yes, Yeah, I knew she was a child.

Speaker 1 (01:15:30):
Yeah, I feel like they of course they do skip
that part.

Speaker 4 (01:15:34):
Of course it is because they were like he was
Thomas Jefferson, he was so handsome.

Speaker 1 (01:15:38):
He was such a good man.

Speaker 4 (01:15:40):
No, he's a disgusting creep like the rest of us.

Speaker 2 (01:15:42):
Yeah he's Yeah. I had My teacher really jumped around
it and was like, well he probably did, you know,
have a relationship. That was always the term that was
used with Sally Hemmings and like, but really did leave
out the whole She was fourteen and he was forty four.

Speaker 3 (01:15:56):
This was one of those like the fond moments with
my dad, like you're coming on from school, you're working
on this, and you know, my dad like, man him,
teachers don't know what they talking about, Like just like
that those moments like that's not what happened. Let me
tell you, you know what I'm saying, Like, don't listen,
they don't know what they talking about. And then he
would sit down and be like, let me tell you
the real son, you know, and then and then would

break the shit down and then be like, you know,
you say what you got to say to him, but
here's what happened. So thisd she I have specific memories
about this one. He was like no, I know you
got to pass your little test, but no, let me
say you got that.

Speaker 2 (01:16:30):

Speaker 1 (01:16:30):
You know what was that movie that like all of
us had to watch?

Speaker 3 (01:16:35):
Oh God, which one?

Speaker 2 (01:16:40):
No, there was one that like framed it as a romance. Yeah, right,
like yeah, like like fifteen years ago something like that.
I forget when there was that one.

Speaker 4 (01:16:49):
And then but then there's like a not not specific
to h it was like the Declaration of Independence movie
that all of us had.

Speaker 1 (01:16:58):
We watched it in in high school.

Speaker 3 (01:17:00):
It's a school one. Yeah, we watched.

Speaker 1 (01:17:02):
In high school.

Speaker 4 (01:17:03):
And I was like, they try and they try to
make Tamash Everson seem like, oh, he's just he's so hot,
he's so handsome, and it's like, oh.

Speaker 2 (01:17:12):
No, guys pedophiles. Yeah. And there's another thing that's actually
really fucked up about this that I didn't know, which
is that so Sally's mother was Betty Hemmings. Betty Hemmings
was the consort of Martha Jefferson's father, Thomas's father in law.

Sally is John Wales's daughter, which makes her Martha Jefferson's
half sister. So he is sleeping with the child's sister
of his dead wife while working in Paris as a
diplomat representing the United Nazza.

Speaker 3 (01:17:50):
You just taught me something.

Speaker 4 (01:17:51):
So technically not not incest, but really gross.

Speaker 1 (01:17:57):
Is that what you're saying?

Speaker 2 (01:17:59):
I mean it, it's I don't know. I don't know
how you want to parse that out.

Speaker 1 (01:18:05):
To be honest, I really don't want to parse it out.

Speaker 4 (01:18:08):
I just want to say, Thomas Jefferson, you you bro,
You're disgusting on every level.

Speaker 3 (01:18:17):
Even Roberty Elee didn't do that. Yeah, no, bro, Like,
come on, man.

Speaker 2 (01:18:23):
So we're jumping around a bit. But but rumors about
you know, all of this that like Thomas was had
a relationship with with with Sally first broke as a
public matter in September of eighteen oh two, when a
political journalist named James Calendar not quite spelled like the
word Calendar wrote an article alleging Jefferson had for years

quote kept as his concubine, one of his own slaves.
Her name is Sally, and actually I find it interesting
because by describing her as both one of his slaves
and as a concubine, he's more accurate than the historians
who talk about it as a relationship. Yes, right, because
a concubine doesn't have the freedom to not be a yeah, yeah,
And I actually kind of think that that's not a

bad way, especially given the way in which people would
have actually talked about this at the time.

Speaker 3 (01:19:12):
That's exactly they think that, Yeah, you're right, that is
the most accurate way to say it, like, because that's
what it is.

Speaker 2 (01:19:17):
Yeah. Yeah, it's like, yeah, it's like what the con
did or whatever, you know. So, Calendar further went on
to claim that Jefferson had had several children by her
in a write up on Monticello dot org. Quote. Although
there were rumors of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and
an enslaved woman before eighteen oh two, Calendar's article spread
the story widely. It was taken up by Jefferson's Federalist opponents,

and it was published in many newspapers during the remainder
of Jefferson's presidency. Jefferson's policy was to offer no public
response to personal attacks, and he apparently made no explicit
public or private comment on this question, although a private
letter of eighteen oh five has been interpreted by some
individuals as a denial of the story. Sally Hemmings left
no known accounts Jefferson's daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, privately denied

the published reports. Two of her children, Ellen Randolph Coolidge
and Thomas Jefferson Randolph, maintained many years later that such
a liaison was not possible on both moral and practical grounds.
They also stated that Jefferson's nephews, Peter and Samuel Carr,
were the fathers of the light skinned Monticello slaves, some
thought to be Jefferson's children because they resembled him. Because yeah, now, yeah,

that's both like lying that your nephew that you're like,
I guess if they're his nephews, they're like your cousins, right,
did it? Like it to protect your dad? Is gross?
As I said, it took historians a long time to
acknowledge that any of this was true, and so for
decades there was no proof of this besides the compelling

fact that Sally had a lot of kids who looked
like Thomas Jefferson. Dumas Malone basically leaves this out of
his work, and for decades historians mostly concluded it was bullshit,
and the story thus spread kind of mimetically right through communities.
Face to face, Both of abolitionists and of Black Americans.
Monticello dot Org notes that a major source for the

claim was two of Jefferson's children. Over the years, however,
belief in a. Thomas Jefferson Sally Hemming's relationship was perpetuated
in private. Two of her children, Madison and Eston, indicated
that Jefferson was their father, and this belief has been
perpetuated in the oral histories of generations of their descendants
as an important family truth. Now the story resolves here

in a way that I find satisfying, and the best
way to lay that out is I'm going to quote
first a passage from the original edition of American Sphinx,
published in nineteen ninety six. Since Ellis was largely analyzing
the work of generations of biographers and historians before then,
he speaks with the voice of most of his profession
when he concludes, unless the trustees of the Thomas Jefferson

Memorial Foundation decide to exhumin the remains and do DNA
testing on Jefferson as well as some of his alleged progeny,
it leaves the matter and mystery about which advocates on
either SAE I can freely speculate and surely will. Within
the scholarly world, especially within the community of Jefferson specialists,
there seems to be a clear consensus that the story
is almost certainly not true. Within the much murkier world

of popular opinion, especially within the black community, the story
appears to have achieved the status of a self evident truth.
So that's what Ellis writes in nineteen ninety six. Yes, basically, like, well,
people tell this as a story, and they seem to
believe it, but there's really no right. Two years after
Ellis publishes his book, in nineteen ninety eight, doctor Eugene

Foster carried out a series of DNA tests. And I
am not well qualified to discuss the specifics of how
you do a DNA test, but the result is that
they found a genetic link between Jefferson and Himmings descendants.
Someone with the Jefferson male y chromosome fathered Eston Hemmings,
Sally's last child, born in eighteen oh eight. About twenty

five adult Jefferson's existed at the time, and some of
them did visit Monticello, But the study author's note the
simplest and most probable conclusion was that Jefferson was the father.
For years, Jefferson's descendants had tried to defend their sainted
ancestors name by alleging his nephews had fathered the children instead.
But his nephews would have passed DNA to the Hemmings

from John Carr, their grandfather, and that DNA was missing.
This rather forcefully set the historic community into an abrupt
about face. And this is so Elis. I just read
you what Ellis wrote ninety six where he's like, well,
historians don't agree. Here's what he writes in an update
to that after this DNA test in the original edition,
I went on to speculate that the likelihood of a

Jefferson Hemmings liaison was remote, offering several plausible readings of
the indirect evidence to support by conjecture. No matter how
plausible my interpretation, it turns out to have been dead wrong. Yes,
so that's good at least, right.

Speaker 3 (01:23:51):
Yeah. Yeah, and you look, look, look pretends to be surprised.
You know what I'm saying, Like that was like, oh word, okay,
welcome to the party. Yeah, thank you for telling us,
well we knew.

Speaker 2 (01:24:05):
Yes, yes, yeah, And I do find it very the
crow that he has to eat there except generations of like, yeah,
like oral tradition were right and we the historians were not.

Speaker 3 (01:24:20):

Speaker 2 (01:24:20):
Jefferson remained ambassador to France until November of seventeen eighty nine,
several months after the outbreak of the revolution. He was
an ardent defender and apologist of the revolution upon his return,
which is like controversial because a lot of people are
getting killed by the guillotine, right, There's a lot of
ugly shit happening. And Jefferson's attitude, which is actually I
tend to agree with, is like, yeah, there's a lot

of bad stuff happening, but like you're kind of ignoring
all the bad stuff that the old regime had to
do to stay in power, too, like, you know, totally
like on balance, I think this is probably going to
make the world a better place, right, And you know
that's one of those things I don't, you know, entirely
disagree with this. In an American sphinx Ellis calls it

revolutionary realism and even compares Jefferson to a as a
thinker to Lenon and Mao, But not without good reason. Again,
Ho Chi Min's got to quote this guy, you know, wow, Yeah,
because he does have this almost religious belief in like
the revolution that is coming for human liberty. He just
leaves out certain humans. Yeah, Jefferson's colleagues, like John Adams,

thought he was insane when he argued that the spirit
of seventy six and the Spirit of seventy nine had
set the ball of liberty in motion to roll around
the globe. The sheer amount of deception in Jefferson's public
statements and arguments makes it impossible to know how much
Jefferson believed in any of what he was saying. Here,
Ellis seems to argue that when it came to the

grand design, his concept of the broad sweep of the future,
the role of the English as a doomed counter revolutionary anchor,
and the US as a force for freedom, he truly
believed what he said. But there's no way to argue
he didn't like about his intentions for his own slaves,
most of whom he'd never freed, and about his overall
belief in the morality of slavery. If he truly believed

it was evil, as he often said, he used it
for financial gain and in Keiley, his own comfort, and
went out of his way to lie about that Charles
Francis Adams, the son of John Quincy Adams and a
diplomat himself, wrote of Jefferson he did not always speak
exactly as he felt, either towards his friends or his enemies.
As a consequence, he has left hanging over a part
of public life, a vapor of duplicity, the presence of

which is generally felt more than it is seen. And
I kind of like that that description of like this,
like he's kind of part of our original sin as
a nation, not just his owning people, but like the
way in which he made lying central, like this obfuscation
of reality, Like he's one of these first people doing that,

you know.

Speaker 3 (01:26:54):
And yeah, like you said, the distortion field of that
Steve Jobs did. It was like the gift he gave
to the country, you know, of like yeah, and being
so much more sinister in the fact that, like according
to your writings, like you know you're doing.

Speaker 2 (01:27:12):
That, yeah, you know, yeah, yeah, And that's like, you know,
we talk about how like basically everyone can find to
Thomas Jefferson to like agree with them in modern stuff.
But yes, what I never see him compared to is like,
you know, people like Trump and even you know, people
like every president, like the the degree to which presidents

lie and obpus skate and basically the delete reality in
order to make it more convenient, which we sort of
that sort of gets laid out as like, well, that's
just part of politics, part of modernity, it's part of
like our problem, you know, the war on truth as
a result of you know, social media and all this stuff.

But like, no, it goes back very far. Jefferson is
helping to start that.

Speaker 3 (01:27:58):
Yeah, that's why they should have been a common fam button. Yeah,
old time.

Speaker 2 (01:28:04):
I agree. Come on, yeah, come on man. Yeah, so
prop that's part three.

Speaker 3 (01:28:10):
Yeah, okay, how we feel like.

Speaker 2 (01:28:13):
That's We're gonna talk about Monticello next time.

Speaker 3 (01:28:16):
Okay, cool, and then we'll be done finally. Man, I'm
feeling a little faint. Yeah. I feel like I'm glad
that like millions of people will now catch up to
how we feel about Thomas Jefferson. Sure caught up. Yeah,
I'm glad you caught up, because like, don't stop quoting

this man. I mean some of the quotes by themselves
are like yeah, it's a bar.

Speaker 2 (01:28:41):
Yeah, like you're not a hero.

Speaker 3 (01:28:43):
You're not a hero.

Speaker 1 (01:28:44):
No, you're disgusting.

Speaker 3 (01:28:45):
You're disgusting, pretty gross. He is?

Speaker 2 (01:28:48):
He is, Yeah, he is, he is. And like, I
don't know, I part of why we did this now,
I've been meaning to do something like this for a while.
Is I read that book, Henry wind Seck's Master of
the Mountain, and it's just so oh fucking good. It's
such a damning indictment of Jefferson in such a such
a well laid out one that it was kind of

like felt the need to read a lot more.

Speaker 3 (01:29:14):
Yeah, it would do I mean obviously, like I'm pissing
in the wind here, but it would do our education
system such a favor if we would remove the mythos
of the founding fathers and understood them like this. And
if you understand them like this, you understand modern politics better.

You can articulate views better, we can understand laws better
like you. We would our democracy would be so much
more healthy if you at least were honest about the
complexities of who these people were. Like if you was
a ship back us the ship bag, you know what
I'm saying, Like it is what it is, you just
use a ship bag. It did an amazing thing, you
know what I'm saying like, and that's and to me,
I'm like, I feel like as a kid, it's like

I would have felt much better about the future if
it's like, dude, sometimes trash people do amazing things, and
then sometimes, you know, amazing people can do trash stuff,
you know what I'm saying, Like, like, just give me
that mythos much better than like all these dudes are
like these dudes are saints, you know.

Speaker 2 (01:30:20):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think there's almost like a a
degree to which it's It's like if you were to say, like, hey,
you know this like writer you really liked was actually
like a real messy, real piece of shita, people would
be like, well, yeah, especially if it's a TV writer, Right,
We're all we're all used to accepting that.

Speaker 3 (01:30:38):
Yeah, we know.

Speaker 2 (01:30:39):
Yeah, that's what Jefferson was mostly famous for. He was
really good at writing and also a piece of shit,
you know, like shouldn't be too hard anyway. PROP any
pluggables to plug.

Speaker 3 (01:30:50):
I do man prop hip hop dot Com on the YouTube's,
on the websites, on the socials, prop hip hop politics
with PROP is we're chugging along, We're getting better, We're
putting out.

Speaker 2 (01:31:06):
Videos better, faster, stronger.

Speaker 3 (01:31:08):
There it is. We're out here daft punkin.

Speaker 2 (01:31:11):
That's right, that's right.

Speaker 3 (01:31:13):
And yeah, man, and keep supporting the pod man, you.

Speaker 2 (01:31:16):
Know, yeah, please please keep supporting the pod Listen to
hood Politics, buy props, book Terraform, please buy yes and
uh yeah we have. By the way, folks, we're helping
out the Portland Diaper Bank so that low income mothers
can have free diapers. So go to go fund me
Portland Diaper Bank Behind the Bastards. Just type all that in,

it'll take you to the thing and then you can
donate money. Diapers that'll help are freakishly expensive, crazy expensive,
and you always need them. Yeah, a lot, a lot
of things in our world are morally complicated. But making
sure that people who have babies and don't have money
don't have to worry about diapers.

Speaker 3 (01:31:59):
Pretty easy, man. Yeah, that's a pretty easy one, you know.

Speaker 2 (01:32:02):
Just help them buy diapers. So, folks, that's the episode.
We'll be back in a couple of days.

Speaker 4 (01:32:12):
Behind the Bastards is a production of cool Zone Media.

Speaker 1 (01:32:15):
For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website Coolzonemedia
dot com, or check us out on the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts,

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