Jefferson the Propagandist: “America’s Founding Sociopath”


If there is one thing you should read today, it is Robert Parry’s lengthy takedown of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence – the signing of which many of you are “celebrating” today. (Me? I’ll be spending time at the Arlee Celebration today):

On July Fourth, the people of the United States extravagantly celebrate the high-blown expressions on human rights that Thomas Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence – especially the noble phrase “all men are created equal.” But Jefferson really didn’t believe that or much else that he said and wrote during his lifetime. He was, in reality, a skilled propagandist and a world-class hypocrite.

Yet, rather than subject Jefferson to a rigorous examination for his multiple hypocrisies, many Americans insist on protecting Jefferson’s reputation. From the Left, there is a desire to shield the lofty principles contained in the Declaration. From the Right, there is value in pretending that Jefferson’s revisionist concept of the Constitution – one favoring states’ rights over the federal government – was the “originalist” view of that founding document.

So, Jefferson – perhaps more than any figure in U.S. history – gets a pass for what he really was: a self-absorbed aristocrat who had one set of principles for himself and another for everybody else. Beyond the glaring contradiction between his “all men are created equal” pronouncement and his racist views on African-American slaves, he also lectured others about the need for frugality and the avoidance of debt while he lived a life of personal extravagance and was constantly in arrears to creditors…

Jefferson may have been America’s original “chicken hawk,” talking cavalierly about other people’s blood as the “manure” of liberty but finding his own too precious to risk. …

The historical record increasingly makes Jefferson out to be a serial rapist, exploiting at least one and possibly more girls who were trapped on his property, who indeed were his property, and thus had little choice but to tolerate his sexual advances…

“A child raised every 2 years is of more profit than the crop of the best laboring man,” Jefferson wrote. “[I]n this, as in all other cases, providence has made our duties and our interests coincide perfectly”…

The reason the Tea Partiers get away with presenting themselves as “conservative constitutionalists” is that Thomas Jefferson engineered a revisionist interpretation of the Founding document, which – as written by the Federalists and ratified by the states – created a federal government that could do almost anything that Congress and the President agreed was necessary for the good of the country…

In his rise to power, Jefferson waged a nasty propaganda war against the Federalists as they struggled to form a new government and endeavored to stay out of a renewed conflict between Great Britain and France. Jefferson secretly funded newspaper editors who spread damaging personal rumors about key Federalists, particularly Hamilton who as Treasury Secretary was spearheading the new government’s formation.

Jefferson’s governmental actions almost always dovetailed with the interests of slaveholders and his own personal finances…

Today, we see Jefferson’s racist legacy in the nearly deranged hatred directed at the first African-American president and in the unbridled fury unleashed against the federal government that Barack Obama heads.

As unpleasant as it may be for Americans who prefer – especially on July Fourth – to ponder the pleasant image of Jefferson as the aristocratic republican with a taste for fine art and a fondness for free-thinking, it is well past time to look at the Declaration’s author as the person he really was, America’s founding sociopath.

Read the whole thing. And then go out and wave your sparklers until they fizzle out, along with our “democracy.”

  1. Big Swede

    With out comment.

  2. In my ongoing reeducation and what I call “Boy Did I Get Just About Everything Wrong” series, I explore the propaganda fed to us in school and in the media. Yes, Jefferson was a pretty mixed bag and a horrible man to women. He had bad reasons for advocating local/states’ rights. But there were also other reasons to advocate at the time for states’ rights. In Fresia’s “Towards an American Revolution” he makes the case that the Federalist’s staged a coup in 1789 at the convention which was supposed to amend the Confederation and not turn it into a powerful centralized government with a powerful private bank. The aristocratic land owners were appalled that most of the state legislatures were run by common folk like blacksmiths and farmers. So they changed the whole document and established a House of Lords which to this day is a worthless body of aged satraps. It’s a good read. And a different perspective.

    Another thing to consider on July 4th is the Royal Proclamation of 1763 after the French and Indian War that forbade the taking/purchase of any land that was Native American land except by the crown. So colonists were trapped behind the Appalachian Mountains. Land speculators, the curse of the entire New World, were chafing a the bit to grab vast swaths of communal land. Another of the many follow-the-money reasons for our Revolution. Colonists wanted the “freedom” to plunder.
    George Washington did get 20,000 acres for his service to the Crown in the war. But I guess he might have wanted more. Land owners are like that.

    States’ rights was used to continue slavery after the Civil War. But we shouldn’t throw out the idea of a Confederation of regions or “states” out with the bathwater. The Eastern Ukrainians are fighting for more say in their made up country. They do not want to be dictated to by Kiev. They send a lot of tax dollars West and don’t get much back. They don’t want Kiev saying that their Russian language shouldn’t be an official language. That’s like saying to the people of Quebec that they can’t use French in official situations. Not very smart.

    Anyway, nothing is quite as it seems. That’s why I don’t think of July 4th other than a day off from labor.

  3. Swede, this one’s for you:

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