In my last tidbit, I identified Thomas Jefferson’s discrepancies! By this I mean he sometimes made contradictory statements, especially about his faith in God. If you read part 1 of this tidbit series, you will find ‘The Jefferson Monticello’ uses several TJ quotes as evidence to reject my use of historian David Barton’s TJ quotes. Their logic boils down to their TJ quotes outweigh Barton’s TJ quotes. Of course, this is irrational and unscientific.* A reasonable view of TJ would attempt to evaluate all his statements, in light of the whole of his life, in order to honestly ascertain his authentic intentions.
The following are 6 possible reasons for TJ’s discrepancies:
1.In TJ’s day, people used writing like television is used today. In other words, people read much more then, than we do now. For example, historian Mark Beliles writes of TJ, “Now over 16,000 of Jefferson’s letters can be read…” (pg10**). WOW! That’s a whole lot of letters! Because he wrote over his lifetime, I’m sure as he grew and changed as a human being, there is simply no way to keep contradictions from 16,000 pieces of different communications!!!
2.Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha had 6 children. He and Martha saw three of their children die very quickly! At the end, TJ saw a total of 5 children and his wife pass away! It is simply impossible to ever know how this affected him! There is simply no way for a man to experience the loss of nearly his entire family, with the exception of one daughter, and it not affect him!
When Job lost his family and possessions, he cursed the day of his birth (Job3:1). The day of your birth is a sovereign act of God, therefore these words, were the beginning of Job accusing God; which subsequently inspired God to use four chapters to rebuke him (38-41)!!!
This does not excuse TJ’s discrepancies, but does shed light on the possibilities of his thinking.
3.In conjunction with points 1 and 2, the sin nature in human beings often creates contradiction in our lives. Once again, Job is an example of this point, as it relates to suffering. However, this propensity does not always require suffering; sometimes it occurs in anger, sometimes in happiness, and sometimes for no reason at all! In short, human beings often say and do things contrary to what we believe. As I examined my own life, thoughts, words, and actions, I have found times where I would say or do things that I know are not right. Why is that? The sin nature often gets the best of us.
4.Thomas Jefferson was greatly influenced by the culture around him. For example, although the second great awakening (1800-1840) was critical to American history, tragically, it also produced some weird doctrine: Christian Primitivism or Restoration Movement; of which one consequence was a rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Furthermore, the very title of the book ‘Doubting Thomas’, by Mark Beliles and Jerry Newcombe***, incapsulates TJ’s complicated faith!
5.King George and the British empire initially controlled the laws of the colonies, and forbad them from ending slavery!
6.The state of Virginia was a slave state. TJ introduced laws to end slavery****, to curtail the slave trade*****, yet he lost the battle on nearly every piece of legislation. Therefore, TJ lived in an extremely hostile environment where he was an extreme minority opinion.
In conclusion, people call TJ a hypocrite because he did not free his slaves. Yet, they make this statement in complete ignorance of the location and times in which he lived. First, King George forbad the colonies from ending slavery, which is one of the reasons TJ used in the Declaration of Independence to prove British tyranny. Second, he lived in a state which continually created and changed slave laws.****** For example, at one time Virginia law disallowed owners to free slaves at their death; then they changed to allow it, which is why George Washington freed his slaves at death—but then forbad it again! Virginia law forbad owners from freeing slaves for many reasons, fining owners who did—and creating other laws. When they did allow owners to free slaves, Virginia law required owners to pay for the slaves to live, so the state would not have to. Here is the key, if TJ had released his slaves, he would have bankrupted himself!!
Final proof is that neither Black abolitionist Frederick Douglas; nor Slavery’s hell hound, John Quincy Adams…believed TJ was a hypocrite! Finally, because TJ was chosen to pen the Declaration of Independence is irrefutable evidence that the Founding Fathers did not believe he was schizophrenic, crazy, or incompetent! And finally, it is irrefutable evidence that TJ’s authentic heart--contrary to ‘The Jefferson Monticello’--was not anti-God; anti-Bible; anti-Christ; nor pro-slavery!
*Especially considering the number of ‘The Jefferson Monticello’ quotes are far less.
**Doubting Thomas, by Mark Beliles and Jerry Newcombe
***This book specializes in clarifying Jefferson’s Christian faith.
****“Upon entering that body (legislative body), he approached respected senior legislator Richard Bland and proposed that the two of them undertake an “effort in that body for the permission of the emancipation of slaves”” (The Jefferson Lies, Barton,pg134). The motion was overwhelmingly defeated and Bland was attacked and called an “enemy of his country”. TJ’s response to the defeat was, “…as long as Virginia remained a British colony, emancipation policies could expect no success” (The Jefferson Lies, Barton,pg134).
*****In 1776, prior to the Declaration, TJ wrote the following for Virginia, “no person hereafter coming into this country (Virginia) shall be held in slavery under any pretext whatever.” (The Jefferson Lies, Barton, pg135)
******See my tidbit for Virginia law: ‘Thomas Jefferson’s fight AGAINST Slavery! -7’
Enrich yourself so you can enrich the lives of others.
-GARY COXE, Personal growth coach and life strategist