The College of William & Mary, the second oldest institution of higher learning in the country, was the alma mater of some of the most important figures in American history. Yet none of its distinguished alumni is as admired or influential as Thomas Jefferson, the country’s third president and the author of the Declaration of Independence.
At least until now.
A statue of Jefferson at the school was defaced over the weekend.
The words “slave owner” were written nearby, and Jefferson’s hands were painted red to signify blood. Because the statue is of bronze, the school will have to consult a metal conservator to remove the paint without damaging it.
Some students on campus told reporters they hope the incident will lead to a “conversation” about slavery on campus. Scott Greer, author of “No Campus For White Men,” believes it is just the first step in what will be the eventual purge of Jefferson from William & Mary’s legacy.
“It should come as no surprise that Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father who articulated the principles of our country, would be reduced to an evil slave owner by the campus left,” he said.
“The great accomplishments of white men are washed away if they held the prevailing viewpoints of their time period. Jefferson’s status as a white male slave owner is far more important than him writing the Declaration of Independence or serving as the third president to the campus left. It’s only a matter of time until there is a serious effort to erase Jefferson from William & Mary.”
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No one has yet been identified as responsible for the property destruction.
But it’s not the first time the Jefferson statue on campus has been targeted. In 2015, the statue of Jefferson was plastered with sticky notes calling him a “rapist” and a “racist” and proclaiming “Black Lives Matter.”
Students and faculty at the University of Virginia, the school Thomas Jefferson actually founded, are also campaigning against Jefferson’s legacy, demanding the college president stop quoting him because it makes them feel “deeply offended.”
David Barton, a historian and author of “The Jefferson Lies,” mourns what he believes is the inevitable result of leftists’ distortions of history.
“The radicalism of today’s students on campus should come as a surprise to no one,” he told WND. “Over the past several decades, a high percentage of college professors have been teaching college students to hate America – that America is the worst of all nations. We have specifically taught students to despise our former heroes and to reject our institutions.
“Thus we see Berkeley students praised by their professors for the recent violent riots that destroyed private property and businesses around the campus – riots caused by nothing more than inviting a conservative to speak on campus.
“And a study within the last year documents that of the top 76 elite universities in America, 65 do not require history majors to take even one course in American history. Imagine! History majors who know absolutely nothing about American history! And only 3 percent of universities today require a course in free-market economics.
“No wonder today’s students love socialism, hate traditional values, and know nothing good about American history or heroes.”
Barton argues Thomas Jefferson was a major opponent of slavery who worked all his life to end the practice. He also contends Jefferson was not the “racist” he has been portrayed as.
“Students today need to study Thomas Jefferson’s own writings and actions rather than listening to the blatantly false claims of those who hate America and her Founders,” he advised.
“If Thomas Jefferson is as racist as professors today claim, then why was he praised as a civil rights advocate by black civil rights leaders across the generations, including Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglas, Henry Highland Garnet, Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others?
“Do today’s professors know more about Jefferson and civil rights than those who spent their entire life studying and seeking those civil rights? And if Thomas Jefferson was so pro-slavery, then why did he faithfully introduce anti-slavery laws and anti-slavery measures and support anti-slavery societies and abolition movements for nearly 60 years of his adult life?
“Yes, Jefferson owned slaves, but he repeatedly tried to pass laws not only to free his own slaves, but all those in his state of Virginia. Sadly, he was unsuccessful. And state law would not allow him to free his own slaves. History clearly shows that Jefferson should be seen as an early anti-slavery advocate who was far ahead of his time in his home state.”
In “The Jefferson Lies,” Barton dismantles several claims made about Jefferson, including the claim DNA evidence proved Jefferson fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings. He argues political correctness has completely distorted Jefferson’s legacy.
“While Jefferson, like every human, had his faults, black Americans and all Americans should see Jefferson as one of the strongest early advocates for racial civil rights and rejoice that Jefferson’s words and actions were used by abolitionists to help bring about the end of slavery,” said Barton. “They should also know that neither historical records nor modern scientific DNA evidence has shown that Jefferson fathered any children through slave Sally Hemings. All unfounded claims about Jefferson should be rejected, and all proven truth about him should be accepted. This would radically change the way this generation views Jefferson, and they would understand why Jefferson was such a hero to Americans of all colors and races for so many generations.”
Still, Barton is not optimistic.
He says he wrote “The Jefferson Lies” to combat the lies against Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers. But like Greer, he believes the attacks will only increase.
“There will be definitely be increasing attacks against Jefferson, as there has been against virtually all Founding Fathers and other American institutions and heroes,” he said. “Jesus reminds us in Luke 6:40 that ‘every student, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher.’
“Numerous studies irrefutably document that left-wing academia has a tremendous dislike for America and American values, so it should be no surprise this is also becoming the view of their students in hundreds of campuses across the nation.”
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