Wagner James Au writes, "Annette Gordon-Reed, a Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning, African-American academic at Harvard, has a brutal takedown of the new Jefferson biography by Henry Wiencek mentioned last month in Boing Boing which purports to prove Jefferson was a brutal slave owner. According to Gordon-Reed, Wiencek's citations are highly misleading. Sample:"
He then quotes Jefferson: "I allow nothing for losses by death, but, on the contrary, shall presently take credit four per cent. per annum, for their increase over and above keeping up their own numbers."
The problem with what Wiencek calls the "4 percent theorem" or "formula" is that Jefferson was not speaking about his slaves at Monticello--he was speaking about farms in Virginia generally. The quoted "four per cent" line is from his "Notes on Arthur Young's Letter to George Washington," written, while Jefferson was serving in Washington's Cabinet, in response to a request for a comparison of free labor to enslaved labor. Jefferson, who could never resist an opportunity to count and compute, joined in to "calculate, in the Virginia way, the employment" of slave labor. When he speaks of allowing "nothing for losses by death," he is explaining what variables are going into his calculations about how to determine the value of enslaved labor--not opining on any policy he had at Monticello.
Thomas Jefferson Was Not a Monster
Studio North was commissioned to refit an old elevator shaft in a converted warehouse loft in Calgary; they built a tall, narrow library with climbable shelves whose hand- and foot-holds retract into the shelving.
On the infrequent occasion I am asked for life advice I refer folks to Mr. T: The Man with the Gold: An Autobiography. It has all the answers.
There’s still time to pre-order your signed first-edition hardcover of Walkaway, my novel which comes out on April 25 (US/UK), and while you’re waiting for that to ship, here’s chapter one of the novel, “Communist Party” (this is read by Wil Wheaton on the audiobook, where he is joined by such readers as Amanda Palmer […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]