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1,044 of 1,675 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Barton's Jefferson, April 3, 2012
This review is from: The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Hardcover)
To look at David Barton, you would think he is a reasonable fellow, but then he opens his mouth and you wonder where on earth his ideas come from. His notion that the Jefferson Bible was some attempt to simplify the Bible for the Indians is a joke. One can draw on Jefferson's own letters to see he had a hard time coming to terms with the Bible, preferring to cull from it what he considered relevant to a discussion on ethics.

"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills." -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

Jefferson was a classicist, with a huge library at Monticello devoted to his studies. He had little interest in converting the "natives." He was more concerned with elevating the intellectual life of America, which is why he established the University of Virginia. Mr. Barton would like us to believe in "Lie #2" that Jefferson did not intend this to be a secular school, but rather faith-based, which better suits Barton's own religious temperament. He discards all the classical references which abound in any conventional telling of the founding of the university, choosing instead to focus exclusively on religious aspects. You would think you were reading about Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

We all know that Barton has an agenda, which includes reshaping the founding fathers in his evangelical religious view of the world. There are so many anthologies available of Jefferson's writings that one doesn't need Barton to interpret them for you. Thomas Jefferson : Writings : Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters (Library of America) is a good place to start, or you can check any number of online sources, such as the Jefferson collection at the University of Virginia.

As for the Sally Hemings story, there is no clear consensus on whether Jefferson fathered children by her, and besides this is the least of the disconcerting "myths" that surround Jefferson. His biggest problem was that he was persistently in debt and had to use his slaves as collateral to keep Monticello going. This is well documented in his own farm records. In the end, his estate along with the vast majority of his slaves had to be sold at auction to cover his debts. Only a handful of slaves saw freedom, despite having offered manumission in his will. Better to read Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder

Of course, this isn't new for Barton. After all, this is the author of The Bulletproof George Washington. His "unconfirmed quotations," in which he literally put words in the founding fathers' mouths, have gone viral. He defends himself by saying that these unconfirmed quotes are "consistent" with the "views" of the founding fathers. David Barton is no historian. You can check him out at Wallbuilders, an apt title. He is a Texas evangelist, whose sum total of education is a degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University. He isn't concerned with facts, but rather with reshaping history to suit his religious conservative agenda. He comes from a long line of such "scholars," dating back to Samuel Wordsworth Bailey, author of Homage of Eminent Persons to the Book, from which Barton draws for a few of his "quotes" on Jefferson. Bailey was a mid-19th century evangelist, an early "wallbuilder," who had a habit of putting words in the mouths of eminent persons.
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Showing 1-10 of 610 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 3, 2012 3:05:17 PM PDT
J. Lehman says:
Your are the one disseminating half-truths. Barton's book is extremely well documents with the entire story. You have been duped by modern revisionists. Jefferson was prevented from freeing his slaves by the laws of the state of Virginia even though he was one of the staunchest supporters of freedom for all slaves. You sir reveal who is the fool.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 1:17:40 AM PDT
No it doesn't. Jefferson was so deeply in debt upon his death that Monticello and all his belongings, including his slaves had to be auctioned. You can check with the Monticello site itself. The only slaves that were manumitted were those before his death. Read other books, my friend, not this piece of garbage.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2012 12:43:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2012 12:44:02 PM PDT
Joe says:
James ... there were 5 slaves that were freed In Jefferson's will -- Burwell Colbert, Joseph Fossett, John Hemmings, Madison Hemings, and Eston Hemings. Shortly thereafter, Sally Hemings and Wormley Hughes were also freed. This provides concrete proof that the laws of Virginia did not prevent the freeing of slaves as claimed above and by Mr. Barton.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2012 1:34:14 PM PDT
Thanks for pointing out those who Jefferson freed in his will. There were plenty of examples of plantation owners "freeing" their slaves in Virginia and throughout the South. Usually, the owners allowed the slaves to buy themselves out of bondage, similar to indentured servants, which Jefferson also used on his plantation.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 12:22:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2012 12:24:26 PM PDT
Makkabee says:
J. Lehman said "Jefferson was prevented from freeing his slaves by the laws of the state of Virginia even though he was one of the staunchest supporters of freedom for all slaves."

This is not true. Virginia law did not forbid manumission. After 1806 it required newly freed slaves to leave the state, though there were provisions for making exceptions. Jefferson could have freed his slaves at any time, but did not do so because it would impoverish his (white) family, and he valued their comfort more than the freedom of his slaves.

Now, for anyone who objects to the comment about Jefferson's (white) family: while there is still argument about whether Thomas Jefferson fathered the children of Sally Hemmings, there is none that *a* Jefferson male fathered at least one of those children. DNA tests have confirmed it. Therefore at least one of those children was a blood relation to Thomas Jefferson (whether a son, a nephew or a cousin). Since Sally Hemmings was half sister to Martha Jefferson, even if the Hemmings children were not half-siblings to Jefferson's acknowledged daughters they were first cousins.

Sally Hemmings and her children were kin to the Jeffersons. Only the degree of kinship remains to be determined.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 2:46:44 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jan 12, 2016 10:13:33 PM PST]

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 9:56:34 AM PDT
jayesem says:
So did you read the book, THE JEFFERSON LIES, or are you just ranting your opinion of the author? If you haven't read THE JEFFERSON LIES, your "review" is not a review and your comments belong somewhere else.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 10:15:12 AM PDT
J. Lehman says:
Where do you guys get this crap about revisionism? You have bought into the lies. Barton lists all of the references to original documents which prove the truth of his writings.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 10:16:37 AM PDT
J. Lehman says:
You are making false claims. Read the book to see how evidence refutes your views.

Posted on Apr 18, 2012 11:17:47 AM PDT
I have to say that I admittedly haven't read the book but I find it funny that there are those who accuse the author of painting Jefferson a certain to fit an agenda, yet that's exactly what they're doing. Theirs just happens to be from the left end of the spectrum instead of the right. It's obvious the angle being worked here is to try and discredit Jefferson based on the fact that he owned slaves, may or may not have had children born of slaves and I suppose generally speaking is doing whatever they can to discredit him. Don't accuse people of trying to rewrite history and having an agenda when it's clear you have one of your own.
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