It was a beautiful day for Siren Nationals.
The cars were loud and fast and the sun was shining on Saturday. After being inside for the majority of the last six months, it was just lovely.
The quarantine taught us a lot about ourselves. Well some of us found that. Others just drank because Gov. Evers did not dare close liquor stores.
During quarantine, I kept busy with work and when not working, I spent time reading. I’ve read quite a few books, some of which I’d like to tell you about in the coming weeks. The book for this week is Jon Meachum’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.
First off, Jon Meachum is one of these guys that is hard to trust, not because he’s on MSNBC all the time. It’s because he’s a Jon, not John or Jonathan. Jons are tough for me to trust.
Anyway, Meachum has written about George Washington, Andrew Jackson and even Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill’s relationship.
He knows his stuff and covers Jefferson’s life from being born into a well-to-do family. He was elected to public office, writing the Declaration of Independence.
In 1776, Jefferson wrote the first draft of the document that created the United States of America. He had the help of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
He then became the first Governor of Virginia, Ambassador to France, first Secretary of State, and third POTUS.
Jefferson famously said, “The earth belongs always to the living generation.”
He thought it was ridiculous to pass down the same laws from one generation to the next.
“We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
Then we get to slavery. Thomas Jefferson is a human being, not god-like as some of the founding fathers are depicted. Jefferson opposed slavery but owned over 600 slaves during his life. Approximately 150 enslaved people were inherited from family and he purchased about 20 enslaved people throughout his life.
This means that Jefferson oversaw the birth of 450 slaves. He wanted to end slavery but profited from it his whole life and still died in massive debt.
Then Meachum introduces Sally Hemmings.
Meachum does not hold punches, does not beat around the bush when stating Jefferson had at least four children with Hemmings.
This is different from the Benjamin Franklin book by Walter Isaacson where he skirts around Franklin’s questionable treatment of women throughout the 1700s.
I find it fascinating to read these accounts of the lives of famous people. It shouldn’t come as a shock that our leaders are people, just like us with human faults and foibles.
I hope you are finding time for reading more than the paper each week. (And thanks for reading the paper each week.)