In the previous 5 tidbits, I endeavored to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that for over 50 years, TJ militated against slavery! Now, let’s look at others who used TJ’s work and life to support their own war against slavery; and for civil rights.
25.In 1837, after his own presidency from 1825-29, John Quincy Adams, son of our second president John and Abigail Adams, became a Representative in the House, where he was nick-named the ‘Hell Hound of Abolition’, for his inexorable decades long fight against slavery; he declared, “The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by ‘all the southern’ (emphasis mine) patriots of the Revolution; but no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction than the author of the Declaration himself [Jefferson]…. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day. In the ‘Memoir of His life’, written at the age of seventy-seven, he gave to his countrymen the solemn and emphatic warning that the day was not distant when they must hear and adopt the general emancipation of their slaves” (Barton, pg146).
26.In 1845, Daniel Webster, another hell-hound against slavery, during a speech to the nation, declared, “No language can be more explicit, more emphatic, or more solemn than that in which Thomas Jefferson, from the beginning to the end of his life, uniformly declared his opposition to slavery. “I tremble for my country,” he said, “when I reflect that God is just—that His justice cannot sleep forever.” “The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.”…To show his own view of the proper influence of the spirit of the Revolution upon slavery, he proposed the searching question: “Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment… inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose?” (Barton, pg146)
27.In 1854, the Democrat dominated Congress passed more of its pro-slavery legislation, called the Kansas-Nebraska Act. If you remember, in 1820 Congress passed the Missouri Compromise, which allowed a pro-slavery state for every anti-slavery state into the Union. However, the MC did not apply to the Kansas-Nebraska territory, which included contemporary areas such as Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and North and South Dakota. However, now with the new 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, all restrictions were removed! Abraham Lincoln responded using TJ as his support, “Mr. Jefferson…conceived the idea of taking that occasion to prevent slavery ever going into the northwestern territory…and in the first Ordinance (which the acts of Congress were then called) for the government of the territory, provided that slavery should never be permitted therein…. Thus, with the author of the Declaration of Independence, the policy of prohibiting slavery in new territory originated…But now [May, 1854] new light breaks upon us. Now Congress declares this [antislavery law constructed by Jefferson] ought never to have been” (Barton, pg 147).
28.Frederick Douglas, who is arguably the greatest of the abolitionists, either white or black, declared of TJ, “It was the Sage of Old Dominion [Virginia] that said—while speaking of the possibility of a conflict between the slaves and slaveholders---“God has no attribute that could take sides with the oppressor in such a contest. I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Such is the warning voice of Thomas Jefferson, and every day’s experience since its utterance until now confirms its wisdom and commends its truth” (Barton, pg148).
At yet another speech, Douglas declared, “I have been charged with lifelong hostility to one of the cherished institutions of Virginia [slavery]. I am not ashamed of that lifelong opposition…It was, Virginia, your own Thomas Jefferson that taught me that all men are created equal.”
At still another speech, regarding his dealings with African-American Benjamin Banneker, who was a self-taught mathematician and astronomer; who wrote scientific almanacs, predicted sunsets, sunrises, eclipses, weather conditions, and 17-year locust cycles; and whom TJ eventually ‘hired’ to survey the city of Washington D.C., Douglas declared, “Jefferson was not ashamed to call the black man his brother and to address him as a gentleman” (Barton, pg148).
29.Others who invoked TJ as a support in their fight for civil rights include Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, Martin Luther King, and Colin Powell.
In review, not only did TJ fight slavery for over 50 years, but others thought so much of his life, and ideas, that they used him as a support to wage their own fight!
*Facts in this tidbit taken from historian David Barton’s incredible book “The Jefferson Lies”. It is a must read
Always seek to excel yourself. Put yourself in competition with yourself each day. Each morning look back upon your work of yesterday and then try to beat it." - Charles M. Sheldon