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Jefferson's Monticello, Madison's Montpelier Revisionist influence?

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The George Washington House is a good place to visit for education and history. But Thomas Jefferson’s house is bad, and James Madison’s house is ugly, at least in terms of history.

This is a new report by Brenda Hafera, Assistant Director and Senior Policy Analyst at The Simon Center, “The Tale of Three Presidents’ Homes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” a new report on Virginia’s three presidential residences and historic sites. Evaluation. American Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Mount Vernon explains slavery in the larger context of Washington life. Monticello places more emphasis on slavery than Jefferson’s political life. Montpelier is overwhelmingly about slavery and mentions only a little bit about Madison’s role in drafting the constitution, Hafera said during a panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation on Friday. The Foundation’s news agency.)

“Overall, they incorporated the narrative of slavery into the story of Mount Vernon while paying close attention to George Washington’s achievements,” Hafera said.

In contrast, Monticello has a two-and-a-half-hour tour focused on slavery and a 45-minute tour of the Jefferson House.

“There is no exhibit dedicated to Thomas Jefferson as president, vice president, secretary of state, minister of France,” Hafera said. “We don’t have a lot of time to devote to his achievements.”

As for Madison, “Montpelier seems to embrace a narrative of critical race theory,” she added.

“Unfortunately, there is currently no exhibit dedicated to James Madison himself,” she said. “James Madison was our fourth president. is only mentioned in passing during the house tour and in a brief video at the visitor center.”

She continues, Montpelier’s contemporary video on the enduring legacy of slavery “argues that there are perhaps more defeats in the pursuit of justice and equality than moments of triumph in American history.

A spokesperson for Monticello told the Daily Signal that the site appropriately honors Jefferson’s contributions to the country.

“At Monticello, we are proud to work to illustrate and honor the legacy of Thomas Jefferson and the fundamental impact he had on our country and our democracy,” a Monticello spokesperson said in an email. , added:

We also believe it’s important to be honest about everyone who lived in Monticello and acknowledge their contributions. All popular tours at Monticello feature Jefferson’s importance as a nation-builder. Author of the Declaration of Independence. His work to establish religious freedom. His commitment to free and educated citizens and his contribution to architecture and design through the construction of Monticello itself.

A spokesperson for Montpelier told the Daily Signal on Monday that Montpelier leadership is aware of the Heritage Foundation’s report and does not agree with the characterization of the exhibition in Montpelier. I referred to an earlier press release from July in response to a New York Post report.

A press statement claims, “Every tour we offer validates Madison’s achievements.”

“So [The New York Post claims] Discussion of the U.S. Constitution has been excluded from Montpelier,” the statement added. “For 20 years, our Robert H. Smith Constitutional Center has served as a national academy providing seminars and training on constitutional law to educators, academics and law enforcement officers. It continues unabated.”

What happens in historic sites and classrooms is part of an “attempt to colonize culture,” said William Allen, dean emeritus and professor of history at Michigan State University, during a panel discussion.

“There needs to be an effort to expand and carry on our understanding of American culture in order to rewrite our history,” he said.

“Any attempt to redefine the United States as merely a slave society is against fact, history and culture,” Allen continued. “The attempt to colonize culture, take over the role of interpretation, and control the narrative can only succeed so far.

“I mean, that’s the era we live in. That’s what’s happening in these presidential offices and many other historical associations,” he said.

Much of historical revisionism stems from The New York Times’ “1619 Project” and author Nicole Hannah Jones, president of the National Association of Scholars and author of “1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project.” Peter Wood said. ”

A New York Times project argues that America’s true founding did not coincide with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but with the arrival of the first slaves from Africa in 1619.

Although the consensus among right and left historians is the same that the 1619 Plan was ahistoric, The Times refused to acknowledge the problem and forced the project into school curricula across the country.

“There is an element of intellectual vanity to this when false claims are submitted that are proven false and people refuse to change them,” Wood said. is part of the approach of the New York Times The 1619 Project turned into a 600-page book with the same title.We are now seeing this in the national curriculum.”

He said it was closely tied to promoting the late Howard Zinn’s non-historical narrative of America.

“What comes from all this is the hatred of America. Fundamentally, there’s been a pretty strong feeling that we’re a rotten nation from the start, and every student needs to know and feel that.” Wood said, “This disagreement ends in itself.”

The horrors and injustices of slavery should not be taken lightly, but slavery and its associated cotton industry played a small part in the emergence of the U.S. economy, says Samuel Gregg, a visiting fellow at Heritage’s Simon Center. .

“If you look at the economics of slavery, it has really hurt the rise of the American economy, especially the southern states where slavery is most prevalent,” he said.

“Slavery made many plantation owners very wealthy,” Gregg said, but created a stagnant crony economy that relied heavily on one crop that allowed politically connected plantation owners to move forward. .

“After the Civil War, slavery was abolished. Suddenly we see cotton production booming again without slavery being part of the picture,” he said. “…the cotton industry was not wholly dependent on this institution. [slavery] slowed economic development in the South. So people living in the South in 1860 were actually poorer. [gross domestic product] A higher per capita rate than in 1800. “

Although slavery benefited a small group of plantation owners, it impoverished large portions of the region, including poor whites.

“It was Northern industrial capitalism that gave the North the military power to crush the Confederacy, defeat the Confederacy, and thereby abolish slavery,” Gregg said. “In the end, slavery and the cotton industry made the South weaker and far less capable of defending itself militarily.”

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