A new book on Thomas Jefferson reveals a world that historians have largely glossed over. Jefferson was not some magnanimous slave owner, he was a brutal sonovabitch. Context, context. Context aside, we have to recognize that this framer of the US Constitution was not a good human being. The world of Jefferson’s farm ledgers has been unduly edited by historians …
…And this world was crueler than we have been led to believe. A letter has recently come to light describing how Monticello’s young black boys, “the small ones,” age 10, 11 or 12, were whipped to get them to work in Jefferson’s nail factory, whose profits paid the mansion’s grocery bills. This passage about children being lashed had been suppressed—deliberately deleted from the published record in the 1953 edition of Jefferson’s Farm Book, containing 500 pages of plantation papers. That edition of the Farm Book still serves as a standard reference for research into the way Monticello worked.
This is a man who calculated that he was making 4 per cent per annum on the birth of black slaves on his properties.
Thanks to Boing Boing for this I’ll have to add this to my booklist.