Behind the Bastards - Part Three: Thomas Jefferson: King of Hypocrites

Episode Date: June 11, 2024

Robert and Prop talk about Jefferson's wild years as a slavery debate bro in Paris, and also the fact that he was for sure a pedophile.See for privacy information....

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Cool Zone Media Thomas Jefferson more like Thomas Jerk-person Jerk-maid sons What? Come on, come on What are we doing? What are we doing here? We tried, you know, probably tried More like dumbass Anderson, how about that?
Starting point is 00:00:21 Dumbass Anderson, there you go Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey hey hey hey flag on the play Don't insult the queen I apologize She's right under me and I'm getting a very dirty look This is like Wait hold up hold up caught a stray over there I apologize This is like when two great mountain climbers
Starting point is 00:00:44 Try to do like Kilimanj, but there's a surprise storm. Apologize. Yeah. Because what we do, I would say, is like the emotional equivalent of climbing Kilimanjaro, which I assume is one of the Harid Mountains. I don't know much about that. Exactly the same.
Starting point is 00:00:58 Yeah, it seems like it's difficult. You know what else is difficult, Prop? What else is difficult? Talking about the life and many moral compromises of Thomas Jefferson. And we're gonna do it for hours. Hours. We've got several more hours to go.
Starting point is 00:01:14 Yes. I hope you're feeling nice and rested after our first two parts because we are getting into, well, I guess we already got into the meat of it. We're getting into more of the meat of it. It's like an Arby's sandwich. There's a lot of meat. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:01:28 More meat. Did you have a nice birthday prop? I did. It was fun. I went fly fishing for a little bit. Then I came home and I rapped at the LA County Fair. Oh, cool. Which they're now like,
Starting point is 00:01:42 they're curating the stage a little better. So it's like, usually if you're not like war or Steely Dan, it's like it's not worth your time like to perform at the fair. Yeah. But now like you're usually you're going after like a Journey cover band, but now like they're curating the stages better. So this was like a hip hop stage next best LA and it was dope man. It is something every man has to ask himself at some point.
Starting point is 00:02:04 Are you more of a Journey cover band or are you more of a steely dan cover band? Man, I think I think i'm a steely dan guy. I'm i'm journey. I I i've known that about myself for a long time Yeah, yeah, i'm neither Yeah Yeah, that makes sense. Sophie. I wouldn't really I mean, yeah. I feel like you could do a really good rendition of Come Sail Away by Stix. I know. You could do a war. You'd be a Funkadelic cover band.
Starting point is 00:02:32 Okay, okay. I could see you in a George Clinton band. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Kind of playing the bass, maybe. And I could see you in the movie PCU like George Clinton. I can't do any of these things. Classic performance. I have no talent, so I can't do any of these things. Classic performance. I have no talent, so I can't do any of these things.
Starting point is 00:02:47 Except for being a boss. Jeremy Piven didn't have any talent. This is behind a bastard. And he was, okay, you're right, sorry, we should stop. I should make my twelfth reference to that movie in like a month. Yeah, don't do it. Don't do it. So that's the cold open.
Starting point is 00:03:01 We'll come back in a second with some Thomas Jefferson for you. You may know Jackson Pollock, the painter famous for his iconic drip paintings. But what do you know about his wife, artist Lee Krasner, on Death of an Artist, Krasner and Pollock, the story of the artist who reset the market for American abstract painting, just maybe not the one you're thinking of. Listen to Death of an Artist, Krasna and Pollock on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you love comedy movies and Hollywood satire,
Starting point is 00:03:39 you're gonna wanna listen to a brand new podcast called Get It to Dutch. In Get It to Dutch, we play three aspiring screenwriters on a quest to get a script to big time Hollywood producer, Dutch Huxley. Each week on the podcast, we perform a movie script right before your ears. It's like going to a movie with your eyes closed.
Starting point is 00:03:54 And we have amazing guest stars, including Tim Robinson, Rob Hubel, Lily Sullivan, Jamie Moyer, and Weird Al Yankovic. Listen to Get It to Dutch, a screenwriter's journey on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, this is Kurt Woodsmith. You remember me from such TV comedies as That 70s Show and That 90s Show on Netflix.
Starting point is 00:04:15 I'll never forget the words that my grandfather said just before he kicked the bucket. He said, watch how far I can kick this bucket. People ask me where I get my dad jokes from I tell him to listen To the daily dad jokes podcast listen to daily dad jokes every day on the I heart radio app Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts And we're back prop you want to guess how many kids Martha Jefferson had during the first ten years of her marriage to Thomas How many kids Martha Jefferson? I wish I knew this ten no no six six
Starting point is 00:04:54 That's still a lot more that's still a lot of kids for ten I still a gang of kids dude after now I've obviously I've never given birth to a child, but I watched it once and Now, obviously, I've never given birth to a child, but I watched it once. And if I were a female, I would be like, yeah, never again. Yeah. Never again am I going to do that. Yeah, I don't feel like I would want to. And I especially wouldn't want to
Starting point is 00:05:17 if I had the kind of track record Martha has. Cause I want you to guess, how many of those six kids do you think made it to adulthood? Oh my God. Five? Two. Two? They didn't do great. This is a difficult time to have kids, but that's not a good ratio. Two out of six kids?
Starting point is 00:05:37 Two out of six is not good. That's bad, man. Some of this is, I think Martha has, from what we can tell, difficult pregnancies. Like, and this is going to do a lot of permanent damage to her, right? She does not live a longer healthy life. You know, we've said this many times. Considering the state of, like,
Starting point is 00:06:00 let's set racism aside for a second, but considering just the state of medicine, there's no other era I'd want to live in. Oh, absolutely not. Yeah, like there's no thank you. There's some like, sorry. I'll pass. I'm just, yeah, I'm like, okay, you got to cut on your arm.
Starting point is 00:06:18 We just have to chop it off. And there's this, here's some whiskey and a stick to bite down on. Nah, I'm good. Nah, I'm good. No. I'm good. Would like to be excluded from that narrative. Yeah. I would give up modern medicine for one thing
Starting point is 00:06:32 and it's if they could send me back far enough to see dinosaurs. I would give up most things for dinosaurs. Like even if they immediately come after me and eat me, like the 30 seconds would be worth it. Yeah, your 30 seconds would be worth it. Yeah, your 30 seconds would be worth it because whatever ancient mosquito that bites you immediately, right?
Starting point is 00:06:50 It's like don't go. Super yellow fever, yeah. Right. Your malaria gets malaria, yeah. Right, immediately. Oh yeah, just ruined. So anyway, the Jeffersons, I don't know if I wanna say, like give them too much shit for this ratio.
Starting point is 00:07:12 I kinda, again, we get so little from Martha in part because Thomas destroys a lot of her correspondence after she dies. So maybe she was super as much into having kids as he is. It's kinda hard for me not to look at how he treated the people he owned and the fact that Martha was basically pushed into having so many kids until her body gave out
Starting point is 00:07:34 and like kind of drawing a line between those two maybe. But maybe that's not fair because we just don't know anything about what she really felt on the matter. As a result of the fact that Martha's in ill health this whole time, the whole time that they're married and trying to have kids. Yeah. But Jefferson's engaged in an activity that was very common for American slave owners.
Starting point is 00:07:55 And in fact, very common for rich people using not enslaved, but peasants and stuff over in Europe too, which is having a wet nurse, right? In their case, the wet nurse was Ursula, who's again, you know, one of the people that Thomas owns. And she is the wet nurse for basically the entirety of the time that Thomas has kids and grandkids. Ursula is almost as much of an unknown as Martha, or is actually more of an unknown even than Martha, because we do get a little bit from Martha. But we can assume from the facts that she was almost super humanly tough. She nursed for basically 25 years straight, both Jefferson's kids and his grandkids. That's a lot. Sheesh. Yeah. That's a lot of nursing. That's a lot of milk, her poor boobs. God damn. Yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:08:45 Now. It hurts to hear that. Yeah. It does. You're just in, and I still don't understand how you can, I mean, I don't know how a person can lactate when it's not their child. I know it's a normal thing, but like. I have no idea.
Starting point is 00:09:01 Yeah. I just, there's parts of science. And me being a girl dad with a wife and two daughters, I'm still, there are still parts of their, I'm sorry, I'm one of those basic men where it's like, I feel like I'm pretty progressive, but there are certain things that I'm just like, oh, that's a mystery.
Starting point is 00:09:20 I don't know how you do that. Magic. I don't know how emotionally, cause it seems like it's such a head fuck, right? Because you really, you can't, even if like these are the kids of the people who own you, you can't nurse a baby and not develop a connection to the baby.
Starting point is 00:09:37 Period. Like it's just, it's a baby, you're nursing it. That's like what people do. An incredibly intimate moment of bonding, which is like why we, the humans do it. You know what I'm saying? Like you bond, you know? Yeah.
Starting point is 00:09:54 Yeah. It just feels like almost unavoidable. And Thomas has a habit of crediting in his writing, Ursula's milk with almost supernatural power, writing that when one of his children was sick, a quote, a good breast of her milk would heal them almost instantaneously. That's how he writes about the quantity.
Starting point is 00:10:12 A good breast of, a good breast of milk. A good breast of milk, yeah. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, one, a unit of breast, I guess. Yeah, I don't know, it's weird. It seems like a weird way to write it,
Starting point is 00:10:22 but I don't actually know how else you'd write it. Yeah. Is he trying to be poetic? I think he usually is. Yeah, I don't know. It's weird. It seems like a weird way to write it, but I don't actually know how else you'd write it Yeah, is he trying to be poetic? I think he usually is Yeah, in this case it comes across off-putting doesn't it? Yeah, yes Yeah, and it's one of those things like You know, we have to keep a couple again of kind of complex things here Which is that this is on Jefferson's part, you know, obviously a system based on violence. On Ursula's part, this is also like her family.
Starting point is 00:10:51 And that might be how she, at least from what little we know about her, that may very well be kind of how she felt about these kids that she's nursing. Yeah. And again, kind of saying that I'm not saying that like Jefferson was a good slave master because that didn't exist or that like, well, this was one of the good places to be in. But if you're nursing two generations of babies, you probably feel something for those kids. And that seems to be the case. And one of the reasons I like Henry Wynseck's book, Master of the Mountain, is that he reflects
Starting point is 00:11:19 on the complex dimensions of this relationship with a line that I think is really useful to parsing out what's going on here on a moral level. Quote, asked to reminisce about Jefferson, several slaves summoned up warm memories of their master. On the other side of the divide, however, Jefferson left no intimate account of the Monticello slaves. In other words, members of the Hemings, Granger, Evans, families expressed affection for Thomas Jefferson.
Starting point is 00:11:47 Jefferson relied utterly on these people for the health and safety of his family. And based on the writing we left behind, never gave them a second thought beyond that. There's no real evidence he thought of them as people. But they were able to see him as a person, which I think is interesting. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:12:05 Yeah, complete function transaction in the way that you would take care of your car. Right, right. The way Cato thought of slaves. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Man. Still hung up on like the mother part of this. I'm like, because again, like my organizing premise
Starting point is 00:12:21 is that people are just the same as long as the time changes, it's still the same. So like, is it vanity for a woman to be like, I'm not gonna nurse my own child because I wanna keep being a part of like the social life. Is this like, is my baby like a, is it like an accessory, you know what I'm saying? So like I cart them out to impress the other girls,
Starting point is 00:12:47 but far be it for me to let my figure look weird now. Like, so I don't want my boobs to sag, or is it like, are you jealous? Is it a sign of status that someone else is nursing your child? Like, I'm like, I just, I want to know so much more about like, what's the mindset on that? Which of course is like-
Starting point is 00:13:03 It's actually like super, it's not super uncommon. Even in today's day and age. No, that's why I was like, it's gotta be, I'm like, it's gotta be a thing cause clearly we still do it now, yeah. A lot of times it's health-based. Yeah, I think everything that you said, all of the different reasons,
Starting point is 00:13:20 are reasons why people in the past and probably to some extent today, have had nursemaids, especially when you're talking about, like we are talking about enslaved people being used as nursemaids here, but like in Tsarist Russia, you have people who are not slaves, they're not really fully free,
Starting point is 00:13:35 and they're used as nursemaids by like the wealthy families, the Tsar and stuff. And sometimes it is like, well, I don't wanna be doing that. I don't want to take this onto my body. I don't have time. But a lot, I think with Jefferson in particular and with Martha Jefferson, it's that she's just not well.
Starting point is 00:13:50 She's not healthy. And they think that this will help make the children more, because the kids are also not healthy. Oh yeah, because they keep dying and they keep being hard things. Okay, yeah. Obviously like the health stuff is like, I mean, every woman can't lactate.
Starting point is 00:14:03 Like that it is what it is, you know what I'm saying? So I totally understand that. Please guys, don't come at me. Like I know, like again, stuff is like, I mean, every woman can't lactate. Like that it is what it is. You know what I'm saying? So I totally understand that. Please, guys, don't come at me like I know. I'm a dad. I know that like it. Everybody can't make milk, but it just seemed like this was a strange like grandkids, because like you're saying like you tell me nobody in this family, you know, so that's why I was like, what's going on?
Starting point is 00:14:21 You know, I wonder, too, if someone what's going with like, Ursell is obviously when you're a slave, you're being constantly taken advantage of by all of the people who own you. Right. But these babies, even though like they're their parents, obviously are taking advantage of you. Yeah. The babies are their babies. Right. Like they need milk, you know. And so I to a degree, maybe I understand like why that would would be that would make the whatever you have connection you have to them like
Starting point is 00:14:49 Stand out more. Mm-hmm. It's like it is this thing that needs you that is blameless. I don't know I don't know can't get it, you know There's probably a million different ways people felt when they were in this situation and we'll never know because they were denied the ability to like Express yourselves Anyway, um, so that's a bummer We'll never know because they were denied the ability to express themselves. Anyway, so that's a bummer. The 1890s, Dumas Malone writes a six volume history of Thomas Jefferson. This is generally considered to be the first definitive biography of Jefferson.
Starting point is 00:15:19 It still gets cited quite a lot to the present day because obviously in the 1890s, you're probably not talking to a lot of people who knew Thomas directly, but a lot of people who's like parents knew Thomas, you can still talk to. So you do have a lot closer access to a lot of those sources. Obviously Dumas's book, there's a lot of scholarly value to it, but Dumas Malone also very much wants to pretend slavery is not happening. Not that it's not happening, but Dumas Malone also very much wants to pretend slavery is not happening. Right? Or not that it's not happening, but that it wasn't Jefferson was not a bad example of
Starting point is 00:15:51 a slave owner. Right? Part of how he does this is he really emphasizes all of the things Jefferson would say about how ugly slavery was. Like this quote, no one could find in his words any ground whatsoever for the opinion that slavery in 18th century Virginia was or would ever become a beneficent institution. He regarded it as fundamentally cruel and was in no possible doubt that it undermined
Starting point is 00:16:13 the morals and destroyed the industry of the masters while degrading the victims. So we see even decades after the Civil War, you've got this respected historian parroting Jefferson's line. And we talked about this in the early episodes, Jefferson would always be like, yeah, slavery is bad because of all of the bad things it does to white people, right? It makes the masters lazy
Starting point is 00:16:32 and it makes them like worse people, right? I find it interesting that Malone is carrying that forward kind of, and not really, he doesn't do what a historian should, which is examine what Winesac is going to do more than a century later, which is actually examine Well, how did Jefferson actually behave in his life? Did he act like a man who felt like it was unethical to yeah these people he owned to do all of the work For him and he doesn't you know, no, yeah. Yeah Malone goes on to quote another line from notes on the state of Virginia,
Starting point is 00:17:06 which he describes as perhaps the most erudite summary of the evil of slavery. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God, that they are not to be violated, but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect
Starting point is 00:17:26 that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever, that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune and exchange of the situation is among possible events, that it may become probable by a supernatural interference. The Almighty has no attribute which can take aside with us in such a contest.
Starting point is 00:17:45 That that's the quote. That's the one that's the one. Yeah, we've at least that I've been referencing where I'm just like, bro. Yeah. If if God is just, he's not on our side. Yeah, like what like how you let that come out your mouth? Like, well, I mean, it's true. You know what I mean? It's true. And it's it is good writing. Like just structurally, obviously as a piece of like craft, it's good, except for I think you can't view it
Starting point is 00:18:13 as craft in a vacuum. You have to look at in part what he actually meant by this. And I don't think it's often enough stayed that what he's talking about here is his belief that a race war is inevitable if black and white people live together, right? Yeah. Like that is what he's talking about here is his belief that a race war is inevitable if black and white people live together, right? Yeah. Like that is what he's expressing
Starting point is 00:18:28 and that is something he believes. And was a genuine fear at the time. Yeah. It's like, we can't, like at this point, you can't let them, because they're just gonna, there's more of them and they're gonna destroy us because we've been treating them terribly. Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:18:43 Obviously this is such a sensitive topic, especially with like being like all eyes on Rafa, you know, and just a sentiment that I would venture to say is might actually be a motivating factor for how, you know, obviously I'm not at the table, but how like some of the people in the government of Israel might be thinking too in that, like, you know, every,
Starting point is 00:19:14 we've covered it so many times, I'll put politics, like every piece of research, every piece of research is like when you have state sanctioned violence like this, you inevitably radicalize and create insurgences. That's what you're doing will do this. And if you are trying to eradicate every possible threat to your safety, it's genocide. That's your only option.
Starting point is 00:19:37 You gotta kill everybody. You know what I'm saying? Because someone's, you can't, you know what I mean? So it's like, so I wonder if they're like, well, shit, we can't stop now. Like we went this far. Like if they do, they're gonna wipe us out because we're wrong, you know?
Starting point is 00:19:51 So I just, I wonder if that thinking is like a part of their calculation right now. Well, I mean, what are we gonna do? You know? I certainly, I'm sure, I certainly don't think when we're talking about like Netanyahu, right? That I don't know that I think he's capable of thinking that he's wrong.
Starting point is 00:20:06 On a moral level. And also, you know, a lot of this comes down to like beliefs about religion and God, which totally further kind of derange some of that. Yeah. Jefferson expresses accurately why slavery is evil and expresses a fear that that evil will rebound upon white people in America. Yes. And then he doesn't do anything to even make a better situation for the people he owns.
Starting point is 00:20:34 Right? Yeah. And that is, contrary to how he is depicted, even in Ellis's book, American Sphinx, they have this long passage where he's like, there was no such thing as good slavery. Like it was bad and it was hypocritical of Jefferson. But among people who owned people in the Americas, he treated the people he owned better than most. And the case that Winesect makes is that like,
Starting point is 00:20:54 he really didn't. And this is gonna bring me prop to a thing that I did not know about, which is Thomas Jefferson's slavery and smallpox. So- Yes, give it to him. Okay, so you're, yeah. I'm aware of this.
Starting point is 00:21:08 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, give it to him. At the time of the Revolutionary War, there existed a fairly effective inoculation against smallpox. Now by modern standards, it was brutal and dangerous. Like by the standards of a modern vaccine, this is basically cutting someone's skin
Starting point is 00:21:22 and sticking like the scab from what's called like either from cowpox or another like smallpox or whatever, like under their skin. And it kind of works, it works basically the way that a vaccine works. Obviously it is, I think one or 2% of people die that you do this to. Yeah, it's an analog vaccine. You know?
Starting point is 00:21:42 Yeah, it's an analog, that's a good way to look at it. And it's pretty unpleasant to receive, but it's also a one or so percent chance of dying from this is wildly better than your odds of just raw dogging smallpox, right? Like smallpox is one of the worst things that human beings have ever encountered. Vicious, yeah.
Starting point is 00:22:01 So because if you are a slave owner, the human beings you own are probably, if not most, then at least a very significant chunk of your wealth. A lot of slave owners chose to vaccinate the people that they own, right? Against smallpox or inoculate, I think is the more accurate term to use. And not because like, you know, we're great people,
Starting point is 00:22:22 but because like this is a sensible way to protect assets. You know? One of the slave owners who chose to vaccinate the people he owned was George Washington. Now I don't say that to like, be like, look at a wonderful George Washington handing out vaccines. I say that to contrast Thomas Jefferson, who refused to take the same preventative action
Starting point is 00:22:40 for the people that he owned, even though he could have. And he was not, this is not because you, I think could be, not for like being a slave, but you could be forgiven for not like vaccinating your kids in this era if you didn't have access to information about how much better it really was. And information is harder to come by than good information on.
Starting point is 00:23:01 Thomas Jefferson as president is at one of me, I think the first president who's like a vocal advocate for smallpox inoculations, right? He is like really, really insistent upon this. He himself was inoculated at age 23. So he knew that this worked, which suggests that he did not fail to vaccinate his slaves out of ignorance.
Starting point is 00:23:22 We don't know why he didn't. Either, I think it comes down to either just like laziness, like he just didn't get around to it, or he was too cheap to do it, right? Like, and I don't really know which it was, right? There's a darker possibility, which is that he may have done it because he thought it would make
Starting point is 00:23:42 the people he owned less likely to flee, right? Because if they run away, they're more likely to encounter smallpox. And maybe if they know that they don't have any sort of defense against it, it'll make them. And that's relevant because of what happens during the Revolutionary War. So as is always the case, whenever anyone went anywhere back then in large numbers, British soldiers who like came to North America to fight in the Revolutionary War, brought smallpox with them and spread it like wildfire everywhere they went.
Starting point is 00:24:11 There is evidence that they had done so purposefully in the French and Indian Wars as part of like, as essentially part of a genocide. Smallpox, blankets. Right. Yeah, significant evidence there. So during the Revolutionary War, Virginia's royal governor promised freedom to slaves
Starting point is 00:24:26 who would leave their masters and fight for the king. And the British army provided shelter to runaway families of slaves. Jefferson would later claim that 30,000 slaves tried to take the British up on this offer and 27,000 of them died of smallpox. Now that's a hideous number prop. Do you wanna guess where Thomas Jefferson
Starting point is 00:24:46 came up with that number? Where he come up with the number? He made it up. He just made it up, it's bullshit. I was like, there's no, as you were talking, I was like, how would you get that data? Like, where would you? He just lied.
Starting point is 00:24:58 I was like, some of the census were they taking it. Like there's no census on this, bro. Yeah, I was totally thinking, I was like, unless I'm wrong, that's funny. No, what I was- I also wonder if there's this, if the whole eugenics of it all plays a role in just believing Africans are stronger
Starting point is 00:25:17 and just, you know what I'm saying? That's like, well, it doesn't affect them the way it affects us. Maybe they won't, yeah. Yeah, I think that that's probably a number of things that feed into it. But this is like, like when I was a kid and Wikipedia was new,
Starting point is 00:25:27 I would just edit Wikipedia articles to win arguments with my friends. And I think that's kind of what Thomas Jefferson is doing. Yeah, he totally did. Like, bro, no, listen, I'm looking at it. It was like 30,000. Yeah. Like word. Trying to figure out where this number came from,
Starting point is 00:25:42 historian Cassandra Pibus went through the original sources and found that Jefferson had written that 30 of his own enslaved workers fled during the revolution and 27 of them died in smallpox. Right? He just added 10,000. That's literally what he did. As far as we can tell, he was like, there are probably about a hundred times that many people or whatever You know, why not? Very I mean, it's just such a like slapdash
Starting point is 00:26:11 He gets such a reputation as being like the the most the greatest political genius in American history And like he certainly wasn't he had his areas of intelligence, but like that's just such lazy work Nah, bro, you're a regular dude. Like all of us do that. I had like nine beers last night. No, you didn't. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the actual evidence-based estimate
Starting point is 00:26:34 is that about 5,000 enslaved people in Virginia and Maryland fled to the British lines. And a huge number of these people did die of smallpox. But the blame for that should go to owners like Jefferson who had neglected to inoculate them. The British army, this is weird because this episode they're kind of some of the good guys. Normally I would not call them a particularly ethical force
Starting point is 00:26:58 but they attempted to mitigate this, right? And save these enslaved people. They inoculated runaway slaves as soon as they arrived in camp, but the disease was just spreading too quickly. They did not have enough doctors to actually do this. Like they did try, from what I've read, it seems like they tried pretty hard to avoid,
Starting point is 00:27:18 to save as many people as possible. It was just kind of beyond their capability. Which is fair given like the realities of medical science and the realities of smallpox, sure. In his farm book, Jefferson coldly recorded the losses writing, quote, joined the enemy and died next to the names of two girls, Flora and Quamina who were eight and six years old.
Starting point is 00:27:40 Oh my God. Again, he writes that as if like, it's like a free adult who has made the decision to become a trader, right? This is a six and eight year old man. What do you mean, joined the enemy? God, hoping none of us look at the age. Yeah. These kids together are 14 years old. Like, come on, man. I'm gonna lay out the story of these two girls, but I want you to keep that very cold description
Starting point is 00:28:09 about the deaths of two children in mind and compare that to this passage from Dumas Malone's biography, Jefferson and His Time, written in 1892. Quote, at Monticello, domestic servants were abundant and a number of the favorites came into his possession through her. Ursula, the fat woman who nursed Patsy and later children
Starting point is 00:28:28 and her husband, King George, had been acquired for Mrs. Jefferson. While the noted Hemings family, who were mostly bright mulattoes, came through the Wales estate. Jefferson was kind to his servants to the point of indulgence. And within the framework of an institution he disliked,
Starting point is 00:28:42 he saw that they were well provided for. Seems like well provided for would include an inoculation from smallpox. Yeah, I was like, you're saying they little bellies is full. That's what you're saying? Yeah. And he closes with the line, his people were devoted to him and they made his home life comfortable and jolly. I don't know, man.
Starting point is 00:29:01 The six and eight year old that died didn't seem jolly. Yeah. Yeah. That devoted to seem jolly. Yeah. Yeah. That devoted to you, bro? Like that's, that word's doing a lot of work, buddy. Yeah. You're talking about devoted. Okay.
Starting point is 00:29:12 Flora and Quamina fled with their 10 year old brother, Jimmy, and their mother, Sal. Earlier we talked about Jefferson's household slaves like Ursula and George, who expressed affection and acted with loyalty towards Jefferson. These were members of the families that Jefferson kept close. Some of them were literally his cousins and brothers and sisters-in-law. But Sal and her family lived further down the mountain, doing menial work. Jefferson records Sal as a, quote, laborer in the ground. Now to speak about the British Empire again, you know, prop, and we've talked about this
Starting point is 00:29:43 on the show, when the British Empire would take a place, right, like India, right, they would find a group of people to be like, the term used is like warrior people, right? This is the tribe or the community or whatever that we recruit soldiers from to help us police the, and they get extra privileges. And part of obviously the most obvious way that this helps a colonizing entity
Starting point is 00:30:07 is that it gives you soldiers, right? But the other way it helps is that it creates division within the community you're ruling. And people will be angry at the warrior race, right? As opposed to being as angry at focused on you. Jefferson does that at Monticello, right? Between, he deliberately kind of sets up conflict between these laborers in the ground
Starting point is 00:30:29 and the people who are working in the house or the people who are allowed to like learn a trade and become something like a blacksmith, right? Where you're able to make some money for yourself and you have a degree of independence. That conflict is a part of what he is kind of, he's very deliberately stoking because it makes it easier for him to control people, right?
Starting point is 00:30:49 And- Persist to this day. It pers- Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Among the black community for sure. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:30:57 We've gotten a lot wiser, but it definitely persists to this day. And it, you know, there was possibly violence as a result of this. One of the kind of, I don't wanna go too much into it cause it just, the actual evidence on this is unclear, but Ursula and a number of the people he owned who were like close to the Jefferson family, who were like in the house, died all at the same time. This is a lot later in life.
Starting point is 00:31:21 This is after, I think after his presidency. And there were kind of suspicion at the time that they might have been poisoned. And it's possible that it was like kind of as a result of a conflict between the different sort of communities of people at Monticello. I don't think we'll ever really know, but that sort of thing happens elsewhere, right?
Starting point is 00:31:41 Like we have, like it's not impossible that like, he kind of incited something that led to a lot of people, including the woman who nursed his children, getting murdered. You know, unclear as to what actually went down. Some of this is like, it's just so long ago and so little of this was documented, we'll never know. And they didn't have the ability to do blood test and stuff for poison, you know? It being the 1700s.
Starting point is 00:32:07 You know that. Or 1800s. Yeah, and all that stuff. So Flora and Quamina died of smallpox in the British army camp. Jimmy and Sal returned to Monticello, I think frightened by how much smallpox there was in the British camp. And then they died at Monticello shortly thereafter. Another family of laborers in the ground, Hannibal and his wife Pat, fled with their
Starting point is 00:32:29 six small children, all of whom died of smallpox. And again, I'm not used to writing about the British army as like good guys here. Yeah. But that is kind of what we're building to. But you know who are good guys? No, I don't. Please tell me who they are. Products. Services.
Starting point is 00:32:47 Oh, we'll be back in a minute, folks. OK. Hey, everyone, I'm Mark. I'm Greg. I'm Brendan. And this is a trailer for a new podcast called Get It to Dutch, A Screenwriter's Journey. It's about screenwriting. And a journey.
Starting point is 00:33:03 The three of us play aspiring screenwriters on a quest to get a hit Hollywood script to famous producer Dutch Huxley. Well, I would say one of us is aspiring and the other two are sort of struggling. Which one of us is aspiring? Well, they're going to have to listen to the podcast. Hmm, but I don't know, and I made the podcast. Well, I made the podcast, and I think you guys
Starting point is 00:33:21 were along for the ride. Each week, we bring in a script, we read it and then we give each other notes. And you'll also hear about our adventures navigating the Hollywood system. The show features amazing guests like Tim Robinson, Lily Sullivan, Weird Al Yankovic and Rob Hubel. And like any great blockbuster, it's filled with heartbreak, adventure, suspense and just a little tasteful nudity. And some distasteful nudity.
Starting point is 00:33:45 Sorry about that, guys. Listen to Get It to Dutch, a screenwriter's journey on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, guys. I'm home. Everyone knows that it's dad's job to be a bit of a joker. Sorry I'm late, everyone.
Starting point is 00:34:03 There was an accident at the factory. Monty fell into the upholstery machine. Don't worry though, he's fully recovered. Good one dad. Did you get the pizza for dinner? So he likes to keep everyone happy with some dad jokes. Yep right here. I had a coupon and it saved me a lot of dough Well, the truth is dad is just a fun guy. Hey, I'm not a mushroom Please stop. Where does he get these stupid jokes from? He listens to the daily dad jokes podcast Oh great more dad jokes for me We've delivered over 15,000 jokes to over 3 million listeners and man, the postage fees are killing us. Listen to the Daily Dad Jokes podcast every day on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Starting point is 00:34:54 Last season, millions tuned into the Betrayal podcast to hear a shocking story of deception. I'm Andrea Gunning, and now we're sharing an all new story of betrayal. Stacey thought she had the perfect husband. Doctor, father, family man. It was the perfect cover for Justin Rutherford to hide behind. It led me into the house and I mean it was like a movie. He was sitting at our kitchen table. The cops were guarding him. He was sitting at our kitchen table. The cops were guarding him.
Starting point is 00:35:24 Stacey learned how far her husband would go to save himself. I slept with a loaded gun next to my bed. He did not just say, I wish he was dead. He actually gave details and explained different scenarios on how to kill him. He, to me, is scarier than Jeffrey Dahmer. Listen to Betrayal on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We're back. So I want to talk about the British army here, Prop, because I didn't know this history.
Starting point is 00:36:07 It kind of makes me surprised at the humanity shown by the literal British army that the Americans do not show here. Yeah, the place that colonized 80% of the world. Right. Was able to show some humanity. Okay. Yeah, a surprising amount here. Because when the Revolutionary War ended,
Starting point is 00:36:27 the victorious Americans wanted the slaves that had fled and were currently living with the British army back, right? That was a demand that was made. British diplomats, obviously British diplomats didn't give a shit about these peoples. They were like, yeah, sure, you can have them back. That seems like an easy thing we can give you as we- Sure, they weren't ours anyway.
Starting point is 00:36:44 Yeah, who cares? If we wanted to be different, yeah. Right, right. We didn't win, I get it, yeah, sure, you can have them back. That seems like an easy thing we can give you as we deal with it. Sure, they weren't ours anyway. Yeah, who cares? If we wanted to be different, yeah, we didn't win. I get it, yeah. But the British generals, the field commanders were like, no, no, no, we promised these people freedom as a matter of our personal honor. You don't get to give them back. Wow.
Starting point is 00:37:03 We made them a promise. And I think this is the largest act of emancipation prior to the civil war because these British commanders ignore their diplomats and take eight to 10,000 black Americans away by boat and they are freed. That's wild. You have to be pretty evil for the British army in the 1700s to be the good guys.
Starting point is 00:37:27 Yeah. Anyway, I don't know, kudos to those British commanders. Bro, like, yeah, now that's even an interesting thing to where they're like, they're honor code. They're like, dude, we gave our word. Yeah, we made a promise. Yeah, we made a promise. And it's like, however they feel about probably, you know,
Starting point is 00:37:43 the humanity of it all and seeing like these people is like one thing, but then it's like the other thing of like, well, we're, no, we're like, we're members of the Royal Army. We have a certain amount of dignity and honor and our word means something. So like we gave them our word and also fuck y'all. Like, you know what I'm saying?
Starting point is 00:38:02 Like, that probably wasn't none of it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like man, fuck you. Like. Like, you know what I'm saying? Like, so fuck y'all, that probably wasn't none of it. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Like, man, just fuck you. Like, no, you know? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. In 1782, Martha Jefferson died. We don't know what killed her. It seems to be one of those deals where, you know,
Starting point is 00:38:17 she's not healthy. She has a lot of difficult pregnancies. Her body just kind of gives out on her. Poor thing, man. Yeah, yeah. It seems like she had kind of a rough life. Jefferson, again, I think he destroys the correspondence that he and Martha had had earlier in their relationship.
Starting point is 00:38:32 There's a, you get the feeling he wanted to obscure a lot of this, as much as possible of Martha's personality and who she was from the eyes of history. I don't know why. I guess it's possible and maybe even probably likely that it was just, he was devastated by this and he couldn't bear having them around. It may just literally be a human moment for him
Starting point is 00:38:54 where he just like couldn't, he couldn't take having those letters exist, I don't know. His friends at the time do write that he was unusually devastated, by which I mean people like Edmund Randolph wrote stuff like this in a letter to James Madison. I never thought him to rank domestic happiness in the first class of the chief good, but I scarcely supposed that his grief would be so violent as to justify the circulating report
Starting point is 00:39:19 of his swooning away whenever he sees his children. So that's like the claim that he makes is that like Jefferson's like can't even be around his kids without passing out. He's so stricken by grief. So that may honestly explain enough of like why he like destroyed their letters and stuff. He may have just been really sad. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:39:41 He's still a person, right? He's able to feel sad. Yeah, totally. In 1785, our boy TJ was sent to France to act as basically ambassador. They use a different term back then than ambassador, but he was an ambassador, right? His actual- Attaché.
Starting point is 00:39:55 Attaché, yeah, something like that. It's a fun word. Yeah, I like it. I like the word attaché. I hope to be an attaché at some point. At some point. Someday, yeah. I'll do it in France.
Starting point is 00:40:05 You know, fuck it. I think I can represent this country. His actual day job was negotiating various treaties, but he spent most of his time bullshitting with French intellectuals and radicals and watching the precursors to the French Revolution wind their way into being. Right? So he is a famous and highly sought after dinner guest. And like the father of liberty is how a lot of people see him and talk to him.
Starting point is 00:40:29 Except he's also, he owns a bunch of people, right? Like the same year he moves to France to do this job, he sells 31 slaves to appease his creditors, right? To deal with the interest on the debts that he has. Oh, wow. Yeah. The end of the war had come with a resumption of interest payments and the expectation that indebted planters like Thomas Jefferson
Starting point is 00:40:52 would make good on their obligations. Cause most of them, including Thomas, most of these Virginia planters who owe money, owe it to British people, right? To like banks and other sort of like creditors over there. He is infuriated by the fact that as part of negotiating it into the war, his debts have come due again. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:41:14 Because he's come to understand by the time he's in Paris that a mixture of his own debts and his father-in-law's debts and the brutal realities of the interest rates both had agreed to meant that he couldn't really escape the situation he was in, right? Like he was never going to be, it's like a, you know, a lot of people have student loan situations, right? Like this, right?
Starting point is 00:41:33 Where it doesn't matter. I will never be able to pay this down. I'll never be out of this, yeah. Yeah. This is like one of the most important things for understanding him as a thinker, because he is number one, he's hugely against the idea of inherited debt.
Starting point is 00:41:45 This is like a major part of like what he's gonna advocate for in politics. And just the mix of shame and desperation is like a major factor in shaping the man that he is, because he always has this kind of like, it's like a fucking wolf, like always chasing him, right? Gnawing at his back. And this is part of what's going to shape his attitude
Starting point is 00:42:10 towards slavery. And Jefferson's feelings here come from a series of complex things. He is a believer that the American struggle for independence, our revolution, was the start of an inevitable wave of liberty that was destined to sweep the globe. If you read about how the guys like at, you know, Marx in 1848 and the people after him
Starting point is 00:42:32 talk about the inevitable socialist world revolution that's coming, Thomas talks a lot like that. You know, he's not a socialist, but he's talking about like liberty as he conceives it. And he sees that like, well, it's gonna come probably in France next, but he's talking about liberty as he conceives it. And he sees that like, well, it's gonna come probably in France next, but it's destined to sweep the world. And the only thing standing in the way of liberty
Starting point is 00:42:51 are the British who are an inherently counter-revolutionary force. And he has this belief that like, well, because the British are inherently opposed to human freedom, they're doomed. The empire is inevitably on its way to collapse. It's passed its height. It's falling apart.
Starting point is 00:43:06 Now, that was not accurate, right? At all. No, no, the British empire doesn't reach its height for more than a century after this point, right? Like it does quite well for a while. Yeah, it's fine. And it's also like, no one would call the British empire a force for human liberty,
Starting point is 00:43:22 but they did ban slavery decades before the United States. Much earlier. Way earlier. Yes. Much earlier. And I would call that a meaningful, if you're thinking about like liberty as a global cause, that's a meaningful thing. It's more meaningful than anything Jefferson does after this point.
Starting point is 00:43:39 Yeah, it's pretty big, man. Like that's a, that's a, that's a, that's a, that's a, that's a, that's in the W line, man. I got to tell you, bro. That's in the W line, man. I gotta tell you, bro. That's in the W line. You can and should point out that the British still made use of situations that were not all that different from slavery
Starting point is 00:43:55 and even still did profit from slavery in some ways in the periphery of the empire. But this is still a major step that they take well before the US does. Yeah, they were doing prison reform earlier too. Yeah, yeah. Looking at like how to make our prisons a little better. Like at least, can we feed them at least y'all?
Starting point is 00:44:11 It's this thing. Goddamn, can we feed them? Yeah. Jefferson is kind of racist against the British. So he can only see them as like this inherent counter-revolutionary force, but the reality is like, well actually the things that like British people within the British Empire are
Starting point is 00:44:26 Major parts of this swing towards greater human liberty and respect for the like the autonomy of man They play it their role. They also play their role in trying to quash it, you know, it's yeah Wonder like I think it's an interesting moment in time too, that like, actually I never thought about it till you said it, that like, by luck of the draw, you get to be born in an era where there are sweeping international changes or revolutions that are happening. Like, when you, if you just happen to be in one of those moments, like an industrial revolution, like a, you know, or like you said, like this idea of like, you know, this for us, it would be like, at least for a black person, it would be like being around in the sixties
Starting point is 00:45:14 and being like, this is international, the world is changing, you know, type moment. And I never thought about this time after the revolution and this concept of being like, yo, like this democracy thing, y'all, like trying to tell you, homie, like this whole, it's different fam. Like, you know, we done with the Kings, homeboy.
Starting point is 00:45:35 Like it's about to go crazy right now. Like what did, you know, again, boring what my personal experience would have been at that time, that moment in history, man, I never thought of it as like, wow, it's kind of like a moment, you know? Yeah, yeah, a lot of people do, and there's like good reason to, right?
Starting point is 00:45:54 Yeah. I mean, like the Haitian Revolution also. Totally, all that was happening. Like it's going to happen, not that, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And we know how that ends, but at the time, it could have, it would have looked to someone who was like less, not racist, you know, in the way Jefferson was, you might've been like, look, really it is,
Starting point is 00:46:09 like this wave is coming for everyone. This is just the start of it, you know? Exactly. At least for a while. So you can see how someone might've believed that. As a representative of the new nation of the United States and a slave owner, Jefferson found himself regularly needing to defend his people and himself while he was in France to all these kind of like philosophers of liberty. These guys,
Starting point is 00:46:29 a lot of whom are going to become like politicians who are going to have elected leaders in the Republic that's coming. A lot of these guys see him as an advocate of the cause of liberty. And they're confused because they're like, yeah, everything you say, and it's amazing that you guys won your war. How do you own people? How can you be this guy and own people? My boy. Bars, everything you say, bars. My boy though, help me.
Starting point is 00:47:01 Help me figure this out. And for a time, Jefferson is kind of able to, he kind kind of able to bamboozle a lot of these people by pure eloquence. He had first written out an abolition plan in that pamphlet his friends had published, the kind of first thing that starts his political career, proposing first that the slave trade be ended and then that the enfranchisement of the enslaved people already here be carried out gradually, right? And part of this does happen.
Starting point is 00:47:27 We do ban the Atlantic slave trade, right? Yeah, that's first. You can bring no new ones. Yeah. Yeah. But we never, there's never like that gradual, there's never a gradual emancipation of the enslaved people here, right? Cause he's kind of proposing, basically we like, I don't know, draw lots or whatever
Starting point is 00:47:41 and over, you know, 20 years or whatever, everyone gets freed, you know? That's kind of the idea. You're led to believe reading this. Yeah, you ramp down. It's like the switch to electric cars where it's like, you can't just like, you know, put every mechanic out of business today.
Starting point is 00:47:57 It's like, you gotta like slow it down and you know, yeah, is what he's saying. Yeah, that's what he's saying. And obviously like that's bad, right? The idea that like you would feel the need to not, you know, fuck over the slavers. But it would have been, if we'd done that, it would have been better than what we did,
Starting point is 00:48:15 which was nothing until we had a war, right? Until we fought, yes. In notes on the state of Virginia, as part of this European charm offensive, Jefferson had laid out a more detailed plan for emancipation. So he writes this first plan out kind of before he gets into Congress.
Starting point is 00:48:32 And then during the Revolutionary War, as he's trying to really make sure that like these French thinkers that he admires so much and who are backing our war effort stay on his side, he lays out a different emancipation plan and it's a much colder one than the last one. Under this plan, enslaved adults would stay that way forever. Their children would not.
Starting point is 00:48:55 And in fact, those children would be taken away from their parents and put into some sort of public training program that amounted to a crash course in being a free person. And then at age 21 or 18 for women, they would be given guns, tools, a small amount of livestock and be sent somewhere else. Right? And the idea is we can't have them living among us, but they can have a colony, you know?
Starting point is 00:49:20 And that'll be our ally. We'll give you a gun and leave you here, you crazy? Yeah, we don't want that. Like, okay, you don't say, like, look, man, this is not smart, yeah. It's kind of, I think like this thinking is sort of what leads to Liberia. Like Jefferson is kind of the,
Starting point is 00:49:37 I don't know if he's the very first, but he's one of the first, certainly the first guy of the level of prominence he's at, who's kind of laying out that sort of a man, right? Yeah, sending him back. And it's, God, the level of evil in like, well, of course we can't free people who are already slaves,
Starting point is 00:49:52 but we will take their children away from them and have an orphan colony. Bro, like just say it again out loud, bro. Like just say it out loud to yourself again. Like word, that's, for real fam? Yeah, I want you to sit alone at the mirror and just look into your own eyes. As you say, I want to abduct the children of slaves to make an allied colony. Yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:50:15 And that's and that's going to make them be appreciative of what you did for them. That's yeah. And he's like, oh, absolutely not. We're sending them back to Africa. We just doesn't work. No, they're gonna be pissed. Yeah, they're gonna be pissed. I think his attitude was more like Kansas.
Starting point is 00:50:30 I don't think he's saying Africa. Yeah, yeah. I think he wanted- Kansas, yeah, yeah, yeah. Because he's also a colonizer, right? Mm-hmm. And that's, you know, in these Jefferson episodes, that is very much part of like the bad things that he did,
Starting point is 00:50:41 his attitudes towards colonization and the Native Americans. This is, there's so colonization and the Native Americans. This is, there's so much to say just about slavery. I didn't really feel like I could, like I kind of wanted to focus these episodes on that. I'm not leaving that out because it's not important. It's just, there's a lot to say about Jefferson, you know? Yeah, he's a multi-dimensional character that like,
Starting point is 00:51:03 you know, obviously when you, at least from my perspective, once you add it all together, I'm like, I mean, you're still a shit bag. You know what I'm saying? Like at the end of the day you are, but it's a complex shit bag. You know, that like, yeah. And he had, he was in power for,
Starting point is 00:51:19 or he was in a political, an active political figure for more than 40 years. So there's just so much to say. Yeah, you can't shake your fist at that. Like that's some real, where'd I get that phrase? Shake your fist at, damn. Yeah. Surprise myself.
Starting point is 00:51:35 You can't do all the shaking of your fist that's necessary in four episodes, right? We're really just, there's even stuff, there's a lot, plenty about Jefferson and slavery that we're leaving out. I just didn't know how to fit it all. Besides his, yeah, like his 45 key. Yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:51:50 So Jefferson, when he's talking about, you know, he has a lot of these like salon meetings, these like long dinners with these different French intellectuals. And his chief argument as to why it's just not possible to do a general emancipation yet, is that if they did one, a race war would inevitably follow. And to his credit, in not possible to do a general emancipation yet, is that if they did one, a race war would inevitably follow. And to his credit, in one letter to a friend,
Starting point is 00:52:09 he placed the blame on deep-rooted prejudices by white people, which is, you know, sounds sympathetic, but then he also blames 10,000 recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained. And then beyond that, he adds the real distinctions which nature has made, which is race science, right? Now he's talking about, yeah. You're two for three, bro. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, those first two points, well,
Starting point is 00:52:36 those are things you'll have to deal with, right? Yeah, like people are going to be very angry about what's been done to them. And you do have to account for that somehow. And then he gets into the race science. And this all worked on a lot of his admirers though, right? Like a surprising number of people kind of bought that like, well, he doesn't really like this,
Starting point is 00:52:55 but this is a really thorny problem. And like, maybe he's right. We have to avoid a race war. Like you've got these kinds of intellectuals who know slavery is wrong and they also don't, they haven't been in a lot of cases to the United States. They don't have great context for like how brutal the system really is or how much Jefferson is full of shit, right?
Starting point is 00:53:14 Yeah. It's like you got your little brother in a headlock and you're like, if I let you go, do you promise not to punch me? Swear, swear, swear on mom, swear on our mother that you will not punch me. I can't let you go unless you swear you're gonna punch me. It's like, man, what are we talking about here? Anyway.
Starting point is 00:53:36 Yeah, that is, Jefferson like gets himself trapped very much in that mode of thinking. Yeah, dude. But he's good enough about talking about it in a way that it makes it seem less fucked up than it actually is. That said, by the time Jefferson's been in Paris a few years, some of these admirers of his
Starting point is 00:53:53 have started to notice that it sure didn't seem like any kind of gradual emancipation program was in place, right? They were like, okay, we agreed with you. Maybe this has to be done gradually, but like it doesn't actually seem like you guys are doing anything. Y'all ain't started yet. Over there. Like, okay, we agreed with you, maybe this has to be done gradually, but like, it doesn't actually seem like you guys are doing anything.
Starting point is 00:54:06 Y'all ain't started yet. Over there. Yeah. What's up with that? Yeah, I hate the, like, the, what I was going to guy. Yeah. Like, that's the guy that got a lot of plans,
Starting point is 00:54:17 like, well, my plan is to do this, but we gotta make sure this, and then I forgot about that, and then probably tomorrow we'll go get it. Oh, you was the, I was going to guy. You not finna do it. I'm definitely gonna write this screenplay one day. It seems like you talk about it a lot,
Starting point is 00:54:32 but you're not doing anything. Hey man, maybe you should write, maybe you should start. Yeah. Yeah, Jefferson is writing, but he is not doing any emancipating. And one of the people who notices that is French editor and future revolutionary politician, Jean-Nicolas de Meunier. Who you should talk about after this ad break.
Starting point is 00:54:51 Oh yeah, shoot. Yes, speaking of Jean-Nicolas de Meunier, these ads, he'd love them. Would de Meunier you? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, de Meunay yourself towards spending money. You can grandmari-ay that one. Yeah, we figured it out basically.
Starting point is 00:55:13 Hey everyone, I'm Mark. I'm Greg. I'm Brendan. And this is a trailer for a new podcast called Get It to Dutch, a Screenwriter's Journey. It's about screenwriting. And a journey. The three of us play aspiring screenwriters on a quest to get a hit Hollywood script to
Starting point is 00:55:27 famous producer Dutch Huxley. Well I would say one of us is aspiring and the other two are sort of struggling. Which one of us is aspiring? Well they're gonna have to listen to the podcast. Hmm, but I don't know and I made the podcast. Well I made the podcast and I think you guys were along for the ride. Each week we bring in a script, we read it, and then we give each other notes. And you'll also hear about our adventures navigating the Hollywood sysp- uh, system.
Starting point is 00:55:50 The show features amazing guests like Tim Robinson, Lily Sullivan, Weird Al Yankovic, and Rob Hubel. And like any great blockbuster, it's filled with heartbreak, adventure, suspense, and just a little tasteful nudity. And some distasteful nudity. Oh yeah, sorry about that guys. Listen to Get It to Dutch, a screenwriter's journey on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey guys, I'm home. Everyone knows that it's dad's job to be a bit of a joker.
Starting point is 00:56:20 Sorry I'm late everyone. There was an accident at the factory. Monty fell into the upholstery machine. Don't worry though, he's fully recovered. Good one dad. Did you get the pizza for dinner? So he likes to keep everyone happy with some dad jokes. Yep, right here.
Starting point is 00:56:40 I had a coupon, and it saved me a lot of dough. Well the truth is, Dad is just a fun guy. Hey, I'm not a mushroom. Please stop. Where does he get these stupid jokes from? He listens to the Daily Dad Jokes podcast. Oh great, more Dad jokes for me. We've delivered over 15,000 jokes to over 3 million listeners and man, the postage fees
Starting point is 00:57:04 are killing us. Last season, millions tuned into the Betrayal podcast to hear a shocking story of deception. I'm Andrea Gunning and now we're sharing an allnew story of betrayal. Stacey thought she had the perfect husband. Doctor, father, family man. It was the perfect cover for Justin Rutherford to hide behind. It led me into the house and I mean it was like a movie. He was sitting at our kitchen table. The cops were guarding him. Stacey learned how far her husband would go to save himself. I slept with a loaded gun next to my bed.
Starting point is 00:57:53 He did not just say, I wish he was dead. He actually gave details and explained different scenarios on how to kill him. He, to me, is scarier than Jeffrey Dahmer. on how to kill him. He to me is scarier than Jeffrey Dahmer. Listen to Betrayal on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. We're back. So his friend Demune is like, hey, it doesn't look like you're doing any of the stuff you'd said you were going to do. And Jefferson responds, he sends a letter back writing that emancipation has only been delayed because quote, persons of virtue and firmness thought the timing wasn't right. Quote, they saw that the moment of
Starting point is 00:58:38 doing it with success was not yet arrived and that an unsuccessful effort as too often happens would only rivet still closer the chains of bondage and retard the moment of deliberately to this oppressed description of men. No, these really smart guys, you don't know them, but they're like, they're super smart. They actually figured out if we like, fuck this up, it'll be even worse for the people we own. So we really just got to kind of wait, you know, we just got to do it right. We want to do it right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We're going to do it. We want to do it right. Yeah. I still believe there needs to be in all of our halls of justice and dialogue and stuff like that.
Starting point is 00:59:14 The come on fam button. Yeah. Like just come on fam. Like there needs to be that needs to be a button where it's like, you can have these high and lofty, you know, precedent setting, you know, swooping, you know, airtight logical discussions that are probably, again, incredibly articulate and airtight, but I'm gonna hit the come on fam button. Come on fam.
Starting point is 00:59:39 And everybody in the room knows what that means. You know what that means, come on fam. You tell me smarter people, come on fam. You need to have the come on fam button and the get the fuck out clause in all situations. Yes, and the get the fuck out clause. Get the fuck out. Yeah, those are the two things we are adding to.
Starting point is 00:59:59 Pressing the come on fam button. In Master of the Mountain, Henry Wynsek writes, Jefferson omitted mentioning that the Virginia legislature had liberalized the slave laws so as to enable individual owners to free people at will. For Demune would have then asked why persons of virtue and firmness had not yet freed their slaves, particularly why Jefferson had not freed his. Jefferson also did not mention that in revising the slave code, he had suggested a law compelling a white woman who bore a mixed-race child to leave Virginia or be placed out of the protection
Starting point is 01:00:28 of the laws. Damn. So, yeah, yeah, that's pretty, that's pretty bad. Yeah. Yeah. So, the idea- They can already do it, so like, y'all can, y'all can, we don't already, y'all can do it,
Starting point is 01:00:42 but ain't nobody doing it, Mr. Bochu people, yeah. Yeah, and we're gonna talk more about his attitudes towards what was then called miscegenation, because they're really incoherent, right? Like he is not at all consistent about this, but that is a particularly hideous moment, right? Like we should be able to- Yeah, the miscegenation stuff is the stuff
Starting point is 01:01:02 that swoops around black communities so much, specifically about Thomas Jefferson. Why we're like, you're a shit bag, bro. Yeah. Yeah. He wanted to, cause what he's saying there is like, if a white woman has a mixed race child, they are not protected by the law.
Starting point is 01:01:16 So members of their family can murder them and not get in trouble, right? That is what he's suggesting. It really is ugly. So the ideological incoherence behind, between some of the words and most of the actions of this prophet of liberty are really well described in Ellis's book, American Sphinx,
Starting point is 01:01:34 which is kind of written to explain this part of Jefferson that like, wow, it really seems like he says a bunch of shit that he does not do, right? Tucky, tucky. Yeah, yeah. And in that book, Ellis lays out another example of how Jefferson jinked away from confronting this issue in his correspondence with his French friends. You know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition not only of the trade but of the condition of slavery, he wrote to a French friend in 1788.
Starting point is 01:02:01 But I am here as a public servant and those whom I serve have not yet been able to give their voice against this practice. It is decent for me to avoid too public a demonstration of my wishes to see it abolished. Without serving the cause here, it might render me less able to serve it beyond the water. He began to develop the argument. It became the centerpiece of his public position on slavery throughout his mature years and until the end of his life, that the problem should be passed along to the next generation of American statesmen." And he really becomes the father of our country in that moment. Like, well, really what I got to do is just push this on a generation. Sounds like a tomorrow problem.
Starting point is 01:02:37 Yeah. Y'all got it. Wow. When I was a kid at our church, one of our pastors, Pastor Renee, she's just LG black woman. She used to say, a lot of talkie talkie, not a lot of dewy dewy. You know, you guys got a lot of, it's a lot of talkie talkie. You know, she's like, I need to see a little more dewy dewy. You know, so like every time I hear stuff, shit like this, that's what I think of. Like, all right, Pastor, all right, Pastor Renee,
Starting point is 01:03:02 you right. I need, we need some more Dewey Dewey. 100%. Yeah. So the question I'm left with here is, was he just a psychopath, right? Like, is he just one of the, like a lot of American politicians or politicians in general,
Starting point is 01:03:19 who's calculating whatever will he can say to further his interests, but he just does not care about the reality of like what he's doing. Or is it like, you know, people use that term for Steve Jobs, the reality distortion field, which he eventually used on himself when he refused to treat his cancer.
Starting point is 01:03:35 Is it that? Is he like, is he really convinced himself that this is a, well, I can't be, you know, most of the other people in American politics, all these other politicians that I need to do these other great things that I wanna do, they can't be, you know, most of the other people in American politics, all these other politicians that I need to do these other great things that I wanna do, they can't be antislavery because of the realities of the, you know, the state that they're in,
Starting point is 01:03:53 you know, the terrible time that we're in. And I don't wanna make them, I don't wanna embarrass them because then I won't be able to do the other important things that I need to do, right? Has he convinced himself of that? Is it just the lie that he knows will work? And I don't know, I contend that part of what's going on
Starting point is 01:04:10 here is what I like to call speech and debate syndrome, right? This is a tendency I've noticed in public figures who came out of competitive speech and debate, guys like Ben Shapiro, and they convinced themselves competitive debate is a game with rules that you can take advantage of based on what you can convince a judge is true
Starting point is 01:04:29 with wordplay. And it's not, or sorry, they convince themselves that like, cause that's what debate is. But they guys like Ben Shapiro convinced themselves it's actually a search for truth, right? That like being able to win a debate means that you're right. Even if you're just like lying and saying whatever dumb shit comes into your head
Starting point is 01:04:45 to like try and make an argument in that moment. You know? I just defeated the other argument. Yeah, and that means my argument's better. Yeah, exactly. It's like, no, it means that like, this is a game that you score points in and you have found a way to maximize your point.
Starting point is 01:04:58 And you can maximize your points by just making shit up or exaggerating, lying about what's in sources. Like I've done all of those things to win speech debate competitions. Yeah, totally. Yeah. Constructing an argument that sounds good is what matters. And if what you're writing sounds good enough,
Starting point is 01:05:15 people won't pay attention to like the incoherencies inside it. Like as long as you can get, you can razzle dazzle your opponent away from not noticing them, then you can win even if there are huge inconsistencies in the thing that you're arguing. And I wonder if Jefferson is kind of doing that to himself,
Starting point is 01:05:31 right, in order to kind of avoid getting judged by these people that he admires and that he wants to think well of him, he's coming up with all these kind of like bullshit ways to obfuscate the reality, which is that he just doesn't really want to free his slaves, right? Like he likes owning people. And it just, but it feels icky.
Starting point is 01:05:50 It's almost like, well, I don't want to sound like pimfools. Like at least I'm like acknowledging and turning myself into a pretzel rather than just sounding like this guy. Like you sound like a knuckle dragging. You know what I'm saying? Like I'm a distinguished, civilized man, and I wonder if there's that, just the pride of like,
Starting point is 01:06:11 even though I agree with y'all, I can't accept that I agree with y'all. Yeah, yeah, because I know this is evil and I don't want to be judged by people who are better now or folks in the future, so I have to find a way to thread the needle while still getting the thing I want. Yes, so Jefferson writes this banger kind of as an example of this sort of sophistry He writes this in a letter to Demune about the injustice of slavery
Starting point is 01:06:36 When the measure of their tears shall be full when they're grown shall have involved heaven itself in darkness Doubtless a god of justice will awaken to their distress. And by diffusing light and liberality among their oppressors, where at length by his exterminating thunder, manifest his attention to the things of this world, and that they are not left to the guidance of a blind fatality." Like, eventually God's gonna realize how fucked up this is.
Starting point is 01:07:00 He'll take care of it, right? It's not on me, God'll figure it out eventually. It's gonna end because this is wrong. So if I don't do it, right? It's not on me, God will figure it out eventually. It's gonna end because this is wrong. So if I don't do it, I know it's going to, okay. Right, right. Good God, man. What a pretzel you twisted yourself in. Yeah, in American- An unseasoned pretzel. Unseasoned pretzel with a raisin on it.
Starting point is 01:07:18 Yeah, no salt, no salt. No, no, he would, yeah. In American Sphinx, Ellis explains a way- Boiled chicken season. Yeah, boiled chicken. Just boil your, the dough in hot dog water. Yeah. Yes.
Starting point is 01:07:34 Yeah. Call that the Jefferson. Yes. So in American Sphinx, Ellis explains a lot of the kind of, the hypocrisy here by saying that Jefferson's chief goal in any face-to-face interaction was to avoid awkwardness and confrontation, right? Quote, Jefferson always regarded candor and courtesy as incompatible and when forced to choose, he invariably picked courtesy, thereby avoiding unpleasant confrontations. Letter writing was a perfect instrument for this
Starting point is 01:08:02 diplomatic skill in part because of Jefferson's mastery of the written word and in part because different audiences could be independently targeted. Yeah. And so he's, it's also like, well, part of what he's doing here isn't even necessarily that he wants to be thought of well, he just doesn't like to argue with people.
Starting point is 01:08:18 And so he's going to say whatever he thinks will get them to stop giving him shit without confronting them, right? That's crazy modern. Yeah, yeah, it does, right? He is the first 21st century man. Yeah, yeah. It's crazy modern.
Starting point is 01:08:31 He's an asshole out of time. So in this passage, Ellis is kind of talking about the fact that while he's living it up in Paris, Jefferson publishes all of these letters back in the United States, like warning young Americans not to go to Paris because it's like decadent and depraved and it'll ruin your morals as a person. of these letters back in the United States, like warning young Americans not to go to Paris
Starting point is 01:08:45 because it's like decadent and depraved and it'll ruin your morals as a person, right? He's like living it up and being like, oh yeah, you don't wanna go to Paris guys. You know, just stay in the field in Virginia, it's fine. And I- Enjoying his French women. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:09:01 Yeah, he's trying not to get caught up. You don't wanna get caught bro, you know what I'm saying? Like don't wanna get caught, bro, you know what I'm saying? Like he ain't trying to share either, you know what I'm saying? He said XOXO to her life. Yeah. Well, I think it's also, you know, he's a, as a fairly modern, open-minded guy, he's perfectly capable of enjoying, you know,
Starting point is 01:09:18 the scene in Paris. Totally. But he knows that that's not popular with like American conservatives. So he has to write letters home about like, oh yeah, there's such decadent evil, like really gross people. We don't need to be going over to Paris.
Starting point is 01:09:30 Half of y'all are pyrotons. You know, like, I can't really be telling you what we doing out here, you know what I'm saying? Like I need y'all to vote for us. He's every politician ever. He's every politician ever. You got to avoid the drugs over there. Like I was sniff testing a bunch of their cocaine
Starting point is 01:09:46 the other day to make sure it's safe for other people. And I'm just not, I'm gonna need to check on more, right? That's really the only thing for me to do. Yeah, I wanted to go into these brothels to make sure these women are being well taken care of, that they're healthy. And I just went in for that. I just wanted to test.
Starting point is 01:10:02 And after nine or 10 hours, I realized there was no fire exit. Come on. Come on, guys. Yeah. In one dinner with a bunch of abolitionists in France, he was asked yet again, why hasn't there been any move for general emancipation
Starting point is 01:10:17 in your supposedly liberty loving country? Jefferson just bullshitted saying that some slave owners had tried to free their slaves out of the goodness of their hearts and they'd even given them land and like tools and it had failed because these poor black people weren't ready for the realities of freedom and they were so scared they asked
Starting point is 01:10:37 to be taken back as slaves. Now, that's obviously a lie. Like he's literally just like, I'm just gonna lie so that these people, I can win this argument, right? That's what he's doing. One of the guys he's at dinner with is an American who was working as a spy for the British. He may have also been a double agent
Starting point is 01:10:56 working for the Americans. It's kind of unclear, but this guy writes Jefferson a letter after this dinner and is basically like, citation please. Like you brought this story up. Where can I read more about this? That's bullshit. Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:11:09 This seems interesting. Is there any evidence that it happened? And Jefferson replied, oh yeah, dude, you know, it was some Quakers who did it, who like freed those guys and then had to take them back. And I don't actually know their names, but he, he offers up, let me get back to you. He does offer up more details in this letter,
Starting point is 01:11:28 some of which contradict what he'd said during the dinner. Quote, I remember that the landlord was obliged to plant their crops for them, to direct all their operations during every season, and according to the weather. But what is more afflicting, he was obliged to watch them daily and almost constantly to make them work and even to whip them.
Starting point is 01:11:45 These slaves chose to steal from their neighbors rather than work. They became public nuisances and in most cases were reduced to slavery again." And that's very different. I also don't think that's true, but like saying, well, they committed crimes and were re-enslaved is different from them saying begging couldn't be taken back, right? Yeah. Or they wanted to come back. Right.
Starting point is 01:12:06 Yeah, few things in that story. One is, obviously you can't say this of everyone, but Quakers, famously abolitionists, famously antislavery. Yes. So the idea that, so like you starting a story with the people that already disagree with the institution in the first place
Starting point is 01:12:23 and helped out in the Underground Railroad. They the ones? Okay, got it. So that's first, number one. And then even if you sit, even if that's true, you sitting across the table and you're like, you set them free in a country where everybody else, where they gonna go with tools. Of course they're terrified. What the fuck are you talking about?
Starting point is 01:12:43 The first other free white person they see is gonna kill them or try to enslave them. Yeah, of course that's what happened. What do you mean they couldn't handle it? Yeah. Well, and that's, so here's, I wanted to, there's actually a real story behind this. And it is completely different
Starting point is 01:12:59 from the story that Jefferson tells, which is that a bunch of around this time, like in the late 1700s, a bunch of Quakers had freed their slaves because there's kind of this almost, it's almost like a meme that overtakes Quaker culture, which is this very specific argument that the conclusion of it is that God has made everybody the same, right?
Starting point is 01:13:17 It's like a scriptural argument, but the conclusion people start making, and there are like people traveling different Quaker communities like arguing this is God made everybody the same, which means there are no natural differences between the races. Everybody's just people. We shouldn't own people, right? Now manumission, when this starts happening, manumission is illegal in Virginia. This is the mid 1770s.
Starting point is 01:13:39 You're not allowed to free your slaves in Virginia. So Quakers spent years fighting in court to make that legal, which culminates in Virginia legalizing manumission. This is a big deal during the years that Jefferson was in state politics. He has to have known the reality of the situation, right? Which is not that these people all had to go back into slavery, that is not what happens.
Starting point is 01:14:01 Like a lot of people just got freed because Quakers were pretty chill. Now, Jefferson knows he's lying. And part of how you know he knows he's lying is that in that letter back to that dude where he's like bullshitting about this, he's like, you know, I probably don't remember everything perfectly.
Starting point is 01:14:17 So don't make no use of this imperfect information if you plan to like write an article. I don't want you citing me in an article. Don't quote me, bro. Don't, unless he says, if you wanna quote me in face-to-face conversations, you can do that, right? If you wanna just lie to somebody, that's fine.
Starting point is 01:14:35 That's what I did, right? Don't quote me, that might get embarrassing when people realize I'm a liar. He said I said what I said, but like, don't tell anybody. But don't tell anybody, unless it's like face to face Then it's cool. So funny. Hey, look, I might be remembered like I'm telling you this happened. Wait I might be remember this but look but but for real though, don't pull me on it. Oh, yeah, so hilarious Yeah, it's it's a choice. Hey, so it's like a so you don't know shit then right? Yeah
Starting point is 01:15:03 So you're full so you don't know so what's the point Yeah. So you're just full of crap. Yeah. So you're full of, so you don't know. So what's the point of the story? If you can't tell me, okay. Great stuff. So speaking of, I don't know, basic reality, the famed Liberty advocate spent a large part of his years in Paris trying to get out of his debts to his creditors by arguing that he deserved compensation
Starting point is 01:15:22 for the slaves who had died of smallpox in General Cornwallis' camp. Oh, word? Basically, I shouldn't have to pay you people as much because I didn't vaccinate the people I own. Yeah. They wouldn't have died if you ain't give them smallpox. Yeah. Wow.
Starting point is 01:15:39 So his debts, the reason why he's trying to do this is his debts, and a lot of those debts come from that bad deal that he inherited from his father-in-law are crushing at this point. In July of 1787, he wrote to his property manager in Monticello that he couldn't sell any more land because it was quote,
Starting point is 01:15:56 the only sure provision for his children. But he also couldn't sell more of his slaves quote, as there remains any prospect of paying my debts with their labor, right? And this is, we did the Robert E. Lee episodes earlier this year, that's the same logic as Lee. I'd love to free these people, but I need them to make me money because I'm in debt, right?
Starting point is 01:16:14 Sunk in cause. Yeah, yeah, and it's, what's fucked up is that like, Lee at least doesn't try to justify it other than like, well, I need the money, you know, fuck it. I'm just a racist, you racist. I don't really care. Jefferson, the prophet of liberty has to like twist this by claiming that what he's doing is somehow the best thing for his slaves.
Starting point is 01:16:34 Quote, in this, I am governed solely by views to their happiness, which will render it worth their while to use extraordinary exertions for some time to enable me to put them ultimately on an easier footing, which I will do the moment they have paid the debts due from the estate, two thirds of which have been contracted by purchasing them, right? Well, the money came because we bought these people.
Starting point is 01:16:57 So like they kind of owe it, right? Yeah, they do have a cost. Yeah. There's a cost tied to this. And just, you know, I hate it. It's the world we live in. It's our modern world. But I ain't eaten this yet. You might as well swim.
Starting point is 01:17:14 Right. Yeah. So even what's interesting, yeah, cause he has this view that like these people owe me for the debt of their, you know, bringing them over here. And even the small children who like were born here, owed me a debt. They are born owing me money, right? That is how he views this, you know?
Starting point is 01:17:32 This guy who makes a big part of his career, trying to like fighting against what he sees as the evils of inherited debt, sees no moral quandary in affixing debt to the children who are born into his like ownership. And in fact, a major story of Jefferson's Paris years is that he comes to see slavery as the answer to not just his, but the whole nation's financial woes. Virginia planters owed millions to bankers in Great Britain.
Starting point is 01:17:58 And the new nation also found itself hobbled by debt to the country it had just beaten at war. Farming Jefferson had come to see was a form of gambling because he's a bad farmer, right? It's like, it's not reliable enough for making money. Slavery though is a safe investment. It's basically a treasury bond, right? He writes at length to his friends, like gleefully basically,
Starting point is 01:18:19 that he's calculated a rate of return, right? And that I get, because of like, my slaves are continuing to have kids, the value of the people I own increases by about 4% every year. And it's really stable. It's like the most stable investment that exists at the time, right?
Starting point is 01:18:37 And this is particularly beneficial because Jefferson is going to use these people as collateral with a Dutch bank to rebuild Monticello, right? That's how he funds making a house we're gonna talk about next episode, is like using these people as collateral and a loan. He is a pioneer in financializing slavery, right? Taking it beyond just, well, we need to grow food
Starting point is 01:18:59 and we don't wanna do it ourselves, so we own people and use them for it. Two, I am treating these people I own as an investment vehicle. It's like a- As an asset management now. It's a bond, you know? It's a treasury bond or something, right?
Starting point is 01:19:12 Like that's how he's, or money market account or some shit, right? Like that's- This guy. That's one of his big innovations. Now it's during this time in France, 1785 to 89, that Jefferson also starts what historians often refer to as his relationship with Sally Hemings. I am going to start by laying out the absolute verified facts of the situation as we know
Starting point is 01:19:33 them. In 1787, midway through his ambassadorship, Sally travels to Europe alongside Jefferson's daughter, Mary. We do not know what Jefferson and Sally did during this period or at what point they started doing it, right? Sally never writes anything about that. But during her two and a half years in Paris, we know she negotiates with Jefferson what Monticello describes as extraordinary privileges for herself and freedom for her future children,
Starting point is 01:20:01 right? They have a negotiation. Jefferson did free Sally's kids. And as admits, Jefferson did not grant freedom to any other enslaved family unit. Sally's the legend that we know about. And that is the legend part of this actually is one of the more satisfying, but one of like the, it's very interesting. This legend exists that like, well, Jefferson had a bunch of children
Starting point is 01:20:33 with Sally Hemings. That is a legend in the black community for decades. Historians are like, probably not, probably not guys. We did the math. There's really just, you know, it's just unlikely. It's just unlikely. And the historians are very much wrong. Yeah, he absolutely did. Like we know us. Yeah. We'll get to that.
Starting point is 01:20:53 So this is rape and it's not just rape because he owns her, right? When she moves to Paris, Sally is 14 years old and Thomas is 44. Yes. Hey everybody, as a note, members of the Hemings family have claimed that they think the relationship started when Sally was 16. You know, we'll never know for sure.
Starting point is 01:21:14 Either way, you know, you're talking either 14 and 44 or 16 and 46. I don't really think one is less gross than the other. So there you go Like even if this had been two free people this yes, this would not be consensual Yeah, and I think that that the the age gap gets left out to I I that was not emphasized to me at least Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, 14, she was a child, 44, he was disgusting, and 44 in that day and age, he is old. He might as well be 95. He is old, he looks like shit, he's lizard skinny.
Starting point is 01:22:16 I think it does, again, we don't get nearly enough of like Sally or what she thought, what you hear about like her making this negotiation for the freedom of her kids, like what it suggests is somebody who is incredibly intelligent and savvy and doing the thing that is going to be best for her kids. Like that is in a hideous situation,
Starting point is 01:22:41 but like I wish we knew more of her, because what we know suggests a pretty impressive person. So. She was my entry point to Thomas Jefferson, which is so funny. It's not the other way around. Like my entry point was South. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:22:56 And it probably should be, because this is kind of what says the most about him. But still you did not know she was 14. I didn't really. I did. No, I knew. I learned as really. I did, I did as you knew. I learned as a young, no, yeah, he said he did. Yes. Yeah, I knew she was a child.
Starting point is 01:23:10 Yeah. I feel like they, of course they do skip that part. Of course they do. Cause they were like, he was Thomas Jefferson. He was so handsome. He was such a good man. No, he's a disgusting creep like the rest of them. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:23:23 Yeah, I had, my teacher really jumped around and was like, well, he probably did, creep like the rest of them. Yeah. He's the best. Yeah, I had, my teacher really jumped around it and was like, well, he probably did have a relationship that was always the term that was used with Sally Hemings and like, but really did leave out the whole, she was 14 and he was 44. This was one of those like the fond moments with my dad. Like you're coming home from school, you're working on this and you know, my dad like,
Starting point is 01:23:46 man, them teachers don't know what they talking about. Like just like those moments, like that's not what happened. Let me tell you what happened. You know what I'm saying? Like don't listen to anyone, they don't know what they talking about. And then he would sit down and be like, let me tell you the real son, you know?
Starting point is 01:23:56 And then would break the shit down and then be like, you know, you say what you got to say to them, but here's what happened. So this, she, I have specific memories about this one. He was like, no, I know you gotta pass your little test, but no, let me tell you about that man. You know? And-
Starting point is 01:24:12 What was that movie that like all of us had to watch? Oh God. Which one? No, there was one that like framed it as a romance. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right? Like- Yeah! Like 15 years ago, something like that.
Starting point is 01:24:27 I forget when exactly. There was that one, but then there's like a not, not specific to, it was like the Declaration of Independence movie that all of us had. We watched it in high school. It was a school one. Yeah. Yeah, we watched it in high school, and I was like,
Starting point is 01:24:43 they try to make Tawash Arverson seem like, oh, he's just, he's so hot. He's so handsome. Yeah. And it's like, oh. I don't know guys. Yeah, I don't really know. What does that sound, brother, oh.
Starting point is 01:24:54 I don't know how handsome he is. I feel like we don't focus about the other pedophiles. Yeah. And there's another thing that's actually really fucked up about this that I didn't know, which is that, so Sally's mother was Betty Hemmings Betty Hemmings was the consort of Martha Jefferson's father Thomas's father-in-law Sally is John Wales's daughter, which makes her Martha Jefferson's half-sister
Starting point is 01:25:20 So he is sleeping with the child sister of his dead wife while working in Paris as a diplomat representing the United States. You just taught me something. So technically, so technically, not not incest, but really gross. Is that what you're saying? I mean, it it's like illegitimate half sister. I don't know. I don't know how you want to parse that out. It's hard. To be honest, I really don't want to parse it out. I just want to say Thomas Jefferson.
Starting point is 01:25:50 Ew, bro. You're disgusting on every level. That's why Robert E Lee didn't do that. Yeah. No, bro. Like, come on, fam. So we're jumping around a bit, but rumors about, you know, all of this that like Thomas had a relationship with Sally
Starting point is 01:26:13 first broke as a public matter in September of 1802, when a political journalist named James Callender, not quite spelled like the word Callender, wrote an article alleging Jefferson had for years, quote, kept as his concubine one of his own slaves. Her name is Sally. And actually I find that interesting because by describing her as both one of his slaves
Starting point is 01:26:35 and as a concubine, he's more accurate than the historians who talk about it as a relationship. Yes. Right? Because a concubine doesn't have the freedom to not be a concubine. No, no, no, no, no. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 01:26:46 Right? Yeah. And I actually kind of think that that's not a bad way, especially given the way in which people would have actually talked about this at the time. That's exactly the- They're not thinking that- You're right. That is the most accurate way to say it, because that's what it is.
Starting point is 01:26:57 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's like what the con did or whatever. Yeah. So, Kalender further went on to claim that Jefferson had had several children by her. In a write up on, quote, although there were rumors of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and an enslaved woman before 1802, Callender's article spread the story
Starting point is 01:27:16 widely. It was taken up by Jefferson's federalist opponents and it was published in many newspapers during the remainder of Jefferson's presidency. Jefferson's policy was to offer no public response to personal attacks, and he apparently made no explicit public or private comment on this question, although a private letter of 1805 has been interpreted by some individuals as a denial of the story. Sally Hemings left no known accounts. Jefferson's daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph, privately denied the published reports.
Starting point is 01:27:43 Two of her children, Ellen Randolph Coolidge and Thomas Jefferson Randolph maintained many years later that such a liaison was not possible on both moral and practical grounds. They also stated that Jefferson's nephews, Peter and Samuel Carr, were the fathers of the light-skinned Monticello slaves. Some thought to be Jefferson's children because they resembled him. Now, yeah, that's both like lying that your nephew, like you're like, I guess if they're his nephews, they're like your cousins, right? Did it like to protect your dad is gross.
Starting point is 01:28:18 As I said, it took historians a long time to acknowledge that any of this was true. And so for decades, there was no proof of this besides the compelling fact that Sally had had a lot of kids who looked like Thomas Jefferson. Dumas Malone basically leaves this out of his work. And for decades, historians mostly concluded it was bullshit. And the story thus spread kind of mimetically, right? Through communities face to face, both of abolitionists and of black Americans.
Starting point is 01:28:46 notes that a major source for the claim was two of Jefferson's children. Over the years, however, belief in a Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings relationship was perpetuated in private. Two of her children, Madison and Esten, indicated that Jefferson was their father, and this belief has been perpetuated in the oral histories of generations of their descendants as an important family truth." Now the story resolves here in a way that I find satisfying, and the best way to lay that out is I'm going to quote first a passage from the original edition of American Sphinx,
Starting point is 01:29:18 published in 1996. Since Ellis was largely analyzing the work of generations of biographers and historians before then, he speaks with the voice of most of his profession when he concludes, unless the trustees of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation decide to exhume the remains and do DNA testing on Jefferson, as well as some of his alleged progeny, it leaves the matter a mystery about which advocates on either side can freely speculate and surely will. Within the scholarly world, especially within the community of Jefferson specialists, there seems to be a clear consensus
Starting point is 01:29:47 that the story is almost certainly not true. Within the much murkier world of popular opinion, especially within the black community, the story appears to have achieved the status of a self-evident truth." So that's what Ellis writes in 1996. Yes. Basically like, well, people tell this as a story
Starting point is 01:30:06 and they seem to believe it, but there's really no, right? Right? Two years after Ellis publishes his book in 1998, Dr. Eugene Foster carried out a series of DNA tests. And I am not well qualified to discuss the specifics of how you do a DNA test. But the result is that they found a genetic link between Jefferson and Heming's descendants. Someone with the Jefferson male Y chromosome fathered Esten Hemings, Sally's last child,
Starting point is 01:30:33 born in 1808. About 25 adult Jeffersons existed at the time, and some of them did visit Monticello. But the study authors note, the simplest and most probable conclusion was that Jefferson was the father. For years, Jefferson's descendants had tried to defend their sainted ancestors name by alleging his nephews had fathered the children instead. But his nephews would have passed DNA to the Hemings from John Carr, their grandfather, and that DNA was missing. This rather forcefully set the historic community into an abrupt about face. And this is, so Ellis, I just read you what Ellis wrote in 96 where he's like, well, historians don't agree. Here's what he writes in an update to that after this DNA test. In the original
Starting point is 01:31:15 edition, I went on to speculate that the likelihood of a Jefferson-Hemmings liaison was remote, offering several plausible readings of the indirect evidence to support my conjecture. No matter how plausible my interpretation, it turns out to have been dead wrong. Yes. So that's good at least, right? Yeah. Yeah. And you like, and look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, look, pretends to be surprised. You know what I'm saying? Like that's who's like, oh, word. Okay. Cool. Y'all welcome to the party. Y'all. Thank you for telling us what we knew. Yes, yes. Yes. And that is I do find it very the crow that he has to eat there.
Starting point is 01:31:50 They're like, oh, yeah, it turns out generations of like, yeah, like oral tradition were right. And we the historians were not. Yeah. Jefferson remained ambassador to France until November of 1789, several months after the outbreak of the revolution. He was an ardent defender and apologist of the revolution upon his return, which is like controversial because a lot of people are getting killed by the guillotine.
Starting point is 01:32:14 Right, there's a lot of ugly shit happening. And Jefferson's attitude, which is actually, I tend to agree with is like, yeah, there's a lot of bad stuff happening, but like you're kind of ignoring all of the bad stuff that the old regime had to do to stay in power too. Like, you know? Like on balance, I think this is probably going
Starting point is 01:32:33 to make the world a better place, right? And you know, that's one of those things. I don't, you know, entirely disagree with this. In an American Sphinx, Ellis calls it revolutionary realism and even compares Jefferson as a thinker to Lenin and Mao, not without good reason. Again, Ho Chi Minh's gonna quote this guy, you know?
Starting point is 01:32:53 Wow. Yeah. Because he does have this almost religious belief in like the revolution that is coming for human liberty. He just leaves out certain humans. Yeah. Jefferson's colleagues colleagues like John Adams thought he was insane when he argued
Starting point is 01:33:08 that the spirit of 76 and the spirit of 79 had set the ball of liberty in motion to roll around the globe. The sheer amount of deception in Jefferson's public statements and arguments makes it impossible to know how much Jefferson believed in any of what he was saying here. Ellis seems to argue that when it came to the grand design, his concept of the broad
Starting point is 01:33:30 sweep of the future, the role of the English as a doomed counter-revolutionary anchor and the US as a force for freedom, he truly believed what he said. But there's no way to argue he didn't lie about his intentions for his own slaves, most of whom he'd never freed, and about his overall belief in the morality of slavery. If he truly believed it was evil, as he often said, he used it for financial gain and in keyly his own comfort and went out of his way to lie about that. Charles Francis Adams, the son of John Quincy Adams
Starting point is 01:33:59 and a diplomat himself, wrote of Jefferson, "'He did not always speak exactly as he felt, "'either towards his friends or his enemies enemies. As a consequence, he is left hanging over a part of public life, a vapor of duplicity, the presence of which is generally felt more than it is seen." And I kind of like that description of like, he's kind of part of our original sin as a nation, not just his owning people, but like the way in which he made lying central, like this kind of obfuscation of reality. Like he's one of these first people doing that,
Starting point is 01:34:34 you know, in public life. Like you said, the distortion field that Steve Jobs did, like it was like the gift he gave to the country, you know, of like, and being so much more sinister and the fact that like, according to your writings, like, you know you're doing that. Yeah. You know, yeah.
Starting point is 01:34:54 Yeah. And that's like, you know, we talk about how like, basically everyone can find a Thomas Jefferson to like agree with them in modern stuff. But what I never see him compared to is like, you know, people like Trump and even, you know, people like every president, like the degree to which presidents lie and obfuscate and basically the delete reality in order to make it more convenient, which we sort sort of that sort of gets laid out as like well
Starting point is 01:35:25 That's just part of politics part of modernity. It's part of like our our problem You know the war on truth as a result of you know, so social media and all this stuff But like no it goes back very far Jefferson is helping to start that. Yeah That's why there should have been a come on fam button. Yeah, all time. I agree come on Yeah the come on fam button. Yeah. Whole time. I agree. Come on. Yeah, come on man. Yeah. So prop, that's part three. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:35:50 Okay. How we feeling? Yeah, that's, we're gonna talk about Monticello next time. Okay, cool. And then we'll be done, finally. Man, I'm feeling a little faint. Yeah. I'm gonna take five.
Starting point is 01:36:04 I feel like, Four. I take five. I feel like. Four. I'm glad that like millions of people will now catch up to how we feel about Thomas Jefferson. So it's like. Sure. You caught up. Yeah. I'm glad you caught up.
Starting point is 01:36:15 Cause like, don't stop quoting this man. I mean, some of the quotes by themselves are like, yeah, it's a bar. Yeah. But like, you're not a hero. You're not a hero, bro. No, you're disgusting. You're disgusting. Pretty gross. Yeah. But like, you're not a hero. Not a hero, bro. No, you're disgusting. You're disgusting. Pretty gross.
Starting point is 01:36:27 Yeah, he is. He is. He is. And like, I don't know. Part of why we did this now, I'd been meaning to do something like this for a while, is I read that book, Henry Winesect's Master of the Mountain, and it's just so fucking good. It's such a damning indictment of Jefferson in such a well laid out one that I just kind of like felt the need to read a lot more.
Starting point is 01:36:54 Yeah, it would do, I mean, obviously like I'm pissing in the wind here, but it would do our education system, such a favor if we would remove the mythos of the founding fathers and understood them like this. And if you understand them like this, you understand our modern politics better, you can articulate views better, we can understand laws better. Like our democracy would be so much more healthy if you at least were honest about the complexities of who these people were. Like if you was a shitbag, you was a shitbag.
Starting point is 01:37:28 You know what I'm saying? Like it is what it is. You just used a shitbag and did an amazing thing. You know what I'm saying? Like, and that's, and to me, I'm like, I feel like as a kid, it's like, I would have felt much better about the future if it's like dude sometimes trash people do amazing things and sometimes you know Amazing people can do trash stuff. You know I'm saying like like just give me that
Starting point is 01:37:54 Mythos much better than like all these dudes are like these dudes are Saints, you know, yeah yeah, yeah, I think there's almost like a Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think there's almost like a degree to which it's, if you were to say like, hey, you know this like writer you really liked was actually like a real messy, real piece of shit. People would be like, well, yeah, especially if it's a TV writer, right?
Starting point is 01:38:16 We're all used to accepting that. And it's like, well, that's what Jefferson was mostly famous for was he was really good at writing and also a piece of shit, you know? Like shouldn't be too hard. Anyway, Prop, you got any pluggables to plug? I do man, on the YouTubes, on the websites, on the socials, prophiphop.
Starting point is 01:38:39 Hood politics with Prop is we're chugging along, we're getting better, we're putting out video. Better, faster, stronger. There it is. We're out here daft punking. That's right, that's right. And yeah, man, and keep supporting the pod, man. Yeah, please keep supporting the pod.
Starting point is 01:38:58 Listen to Hood Politics, buy Prop's book, Terraform. Please buy the book, yes. And yeah, we have, by the way, folks, we're helping out the Portland Diaper Bank so that low-income mothers can have free diapers. So go to GoFundMe, Portland Diaper Bank, Behind the Bastards. Just type all that in. It'll take you to the thing and then you can donate money. Diapers.
Starting point is 01:39:21 And that'll help. Are freakishly expensive. Crazy expensive. And you always need them. Yeah. A lot of things in our world are morally complicated, but making sure that people who have babies and don't have money don't have to worry about diapers,
Starting point is 01:39:38 not all that complicated. Diapers are pretty easy, man. Yeah, that's a pretty easy one. You know? Yeah, just help them buy diapers. So, folks, that's the episode. We'll be back in a couple of days. Behind the Bastards is a production of Cool Zone Media.
Starting point is 01:39:54 For more from Cool Zone Media, visit our website,, or check us out on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. You may know Jackson Pollock, the painter famous for his iconic drip paintings. But what do you know about his wife, artist Lee Krasner, on Death of an Artist, Krasner and Pollock, the story of the artist who reset the market for American abstract painting, just maybe not the one
Starting point is 01:40:25 you're thinking of. Listen to Death of an Artist, Krasna and Pollock on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you love comedy movies and Hollywood satire, you're going to want to listen to a brand new podcast called Get It to Dutch. In Get get it to Dutch We play three aspiring screenwriters on a quest to get a script to big-time Hollywood producer Dutch Huxley each week on the podcast We perform a movie script right before your ears It's like going to a movie with your eyes closed and we have amazing guest stars including Tim Robinson Rob Hubel Lily Sullivan Jamie Moyer and weird Al Yankovic Listen to get it to Dutch a screenwriter's journey on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Starting point is 01:41:08 Hi, this is Kurt Wood Smith. You remember me from such TV comedies as that 70s show and that 90s show on Netflix. I'll never forget the words that my grandfather said just before he kicked the bucket. He said, watch how far I can kick this bucket. People ask me where I get my dad jokes from. I tell them to listen to the Daily Dad Jokes podcast. Listen to Daily Dad Jokes every day on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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