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1) Finally, the new scientific evidence interacts with the old circumstantial evidence, much like a beam of light cast into a previously dark room. It not only exposes the Carr explanation as a contrivance; it also enhances the credibility of Madison Hemings's testimony, which had always been a major document for the prosecution.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 125

2) At the same time that former Monticello slaves were formulating the tales that would perpetuate their perception of their role in Jefferson's life, his heirs developed their own version of the slave-slaveowner relationship. Jefferson had written in 1805: "The value of the slave is every day lessening; his burden on his master daily increasing."
Lucia Stanton 151

3) By emancipating and colonizing the rising generation, Americans could rectify the injustice done to their slaves and thus avoid the otherwise inevitable war between whites and blacks. The present generation of slaves would pay the price for their children's liberation, forging their own just claims to freedom and suffering the disruption of their families.
Peter Onuf 156

4) When in 1998 the results of the DNA tests on Jefferson and Hemings descendants, along with evidence from the historical record, supported the truth of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship, the reaction in the black community, as presented in the press, was unanimous: "We told you so." In the black community, the Jefferson-Hemings liaison stands along with the Declaration of Independence as evidence of the deeply conflicted nature of American society, and blacks' struggles with the precariousness of their existence in the United States. It is easy to see why the story of a white founding father of America, his black mistress, and their black offspring would capture the imagination of black Americans. To the extent that American racism seeks to establish whites' greater claim to America because of their racial connection to white founding fathers, the knowledge that a group of blacks are "closer" genetically to Jefferson than all whites who are not Jeffersons is an irony too delicious to go unappreciated.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 174

5) Jefferson's acceptance of class, racial, and gender differences helps to explain the absence of suffering, guilt, or despondency in his encounters with slavery. "Good feelings" in Jefferson's lexicon were not premised on universal equality; so if one fails to appreciate the boundaries of the culture of sensibility, he merely appears as a hypocrite (an immoral man pretending to be moral). It is more historically responsible to conclude, without needing to purify him or despise him, that he rationalized without feeling guilty because his society provided him with the means to do so.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 196

6) Before DNA, many Jefferson scholars assessed the relevant documents and oral history using a double standard. They uncritically accepted denials of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship, while dismissing out of hand evidence pointing to its existence. Arguments against the Jefferson-Hemings liaison were often ad hoc and occasionally ad hominem, structured to accord with traditional sensibilities and save the putatively threatened reputation of a founding father.
Fraser Neiman 198

7) Jefferson was in most respects a typical slaveholder. Although he always condemned slavery, he owned one of the largest slave populations in Virginia. Upon the division of his father-in-law's estate in 1774 he became the second largest slaveholders in Albemarle County. Thereafter the number of his slaves fluctuated around 200--with increases through births offset by periodic sales to pay off debts. Jefferson was known to be a good master, reluctant to break up families or to sell slaves except for delinquency or at their request. Nevertheless, between 1784 and 1794 he disposed of 161 people by sale or gift. Jefferson was averse to separating young children from their parents, but once slave boys or girls reached the age of ten or twelve and their working lives began, they were no longer children in Jefferson's mind and therefore could be separated from their parents
Gordon S. Wood, "The Ghosts of Monticello" 21-22

8) Furthermore, well-positioned slave women who crossed racial lines often did so to improve their children's chances of survival. . . . Sally Hemings had six known children, the first when she was twenty-two, the last when she was thirty-five. Apparently, she had enough influence over Jefferson to gain the freedom of all her children, the only case of an entire enslaved Monticello family achieving freedom.
Philip Morgan 77

9) Finally, the extraordinary coverage of the DNA results in the mainstream media confirms Jefferson's unique status as the dead-white male who matters most. Every network and cable news program, every national news magazine, all the major newspapers, and many of the syndicated talk shows featured the story. Jefferson has always been America's most resonant and ideologically promiscuous icon, fully capable of levitating out of his own time and landing on all sides of the contested political turf up here in the present. While historians talk responsibly about the "lost world" of Thomas Jefferson and the inherent "pastness" of the eighteenth century, Jefferson lives on in the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans as a contemporary presence who best embodies the competing truths at the center of our ongoing arguments about the meaning of the American promise. Jefferson has become the great American Everyman, less important for what he said and did when he walked the earth from 1743 to 1826 than for the meanings we can project onto him.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 136

10) I approached the question of a Jefferson-Hemings sexual relationship without attending to two social factors that I now think may have had more importance than I realized at the time. One is the matter of "color." It now appears odd that in a book called White over Black, which emphasized the historical importance of skin complexion for the perception of racial differences, that the author should have failed to pay much attention to this factor when dealing with the purported relationship with Sally Hemings. She was very light-skinned, and so were many members of her family and, much more, her children. When I wrote, it seemed to me that in Jefferson's eyes Sally Hemings may have seemed nearly "white" to him, without altering his assessment that she stood in a separate category as a slave. Today, I think her diction may have been nearly as important as her color in shaping his thoughts about who she was. He treated all members of the Hemings family as standing in a different category than all his other slaves, and many reasons for this have been adduced. As I look back now, given my continuing conviction about his tendency to bifurcate the world, there is both illogic and logic in this view that Jefferson may well have regarded Sally Hemings as close to his own kind both in color and voice even while she was clearly so distant in both status and gender.
Winthrop D. Jordan, "Hemings and Jefferson: Redux" 48

11) Most people in the small communities that composed much of Virginia's landscape knew precisely who was engaged in such illicit sexual conduct, and they gossiped among themselves accordingly. Despite legal and cultural sanctions against such connections, however, whites almost never exposed them to open public or legal discussion, except when useful as a means of gaining personal advantage. Especially when financial interests were at stake evidence of interracial sex was a strategic weapon sometimes utilized to undermine one's opposition. A public accusation of an interracial sexual affair frequently had its foundation in a larger set of calculations, part of a battle between conflicting white parties over other issues. So too in the dispute between Thomas Jefferson and James Callender. Callender used the partisan newspaper as his sword, but the thrust against Jefferson was purely personal.
Joshua Rothman 88

12) So we are led to try to make histories for ourselves out of the stories that we find told in the words, actions, and built environments of the enslaved and their masters. We are impelled to find in the relationship of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson both an appalling story of the systematic inequalities and the systematic tyrannies of the world of the makers of the American Revolution, and an inspiring story for us to enact through honoring of the now more fully proven African American descendants of Thomas Jefferson. Thereby the great family of the United States of America--and indeed of a multiracial world that yearns to enter into the promise of the democratic revolution--may find in the new story of Monticello some increased sense of being one family.
Rhys Isaac 124

13) Yet to even engage in the issue in this way, as if it were only and wholly a family matter, is to accept the way that it was framed by Callender and his opponents: as one about individual character. Individual character was measured by private behavior, within the family. At the time, the issue was only secondarily one of race--the added outrage of fathering children by a mulatto woman--and even less one of slavery. If the charges had been true--and let us not forget that indeed they were--the affront would have been to Jefferson's family, and not to society, much less its members who were black or enslaved.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 143

14) The oral tradition in the Hemings family has proven more reliable than the written record on the white side of the Jefferson family. This confirms a trend already present in the scholarly literature: namely, to attribute greater credibility on this score to slave narratives and the oral tradition in black families.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 133

15) As the "unfortunate difference of colour" became progressively harder to discern, it would be increasingly difficult for slaveholding fathers to deny that they held their own children in bondage. That one generation should exercise absolute power over the next, that fathers should own their children, was the complete antithesis and negation of everything Jefferson said he stood for.
Peter Onuf 157-58

16) The rejection of the Sally Hemings story can be seen as a denial of black ties to the founding of the nation and a rejection of black birthright claims.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 174

17) Eighteenth-century elite society adhered to certain manners and customs, whereby courtship, marriage proposals, and even personal exchanges between men and women reinforced the rules of civility and decorum. What, then, could lead us to suspect that a sexually charged Jefferson ignored the rules of romantic encounter and that Hemings became a "substitute wife"? This idea lodges only in the twentieth-century mind.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 193

18) Some black Americans welcome the Hemings relationship because it was part of a black tradition long denied, and it represents an assertion of black humanity and at the same time makes Jefferson humanly accessible. But unlike whites, they seem less willing to celebrate the relationship as a way of easing race relations in America. They understandably resist the implications of miscegenation and interracial marriage, fearing that racial assimilation will lead to the weakening if not the disappearance of black culture and identity. Many white Americans, on the other hand, seem to welcome these implications. These whites yearn for an end to our racial problem and see in interracial marriage the ultimate solution. Yet, as Lucia Stanton and Dianne Swann-Wright point out, this yearning is undoubtedly an example of the "tendency of whites to want to make the rules about race."
Gordon Wood 28

19) So this was the Jefferson family constellation--an inner circle, committed to and writing with its every breath the story of a happy family and returning to Monticello even in its dreams, and an outer circle, so estranged, so remote, that a son could describe his father as more lethal than the earth's wildest beast. And yet, there was another family still, one that grew up alongside the white Jeffersons: Sally Hemings and her children, the unacknowledged children of Thomas Jefferson.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 136

20) Perhaps the willingness of a great number of white people to believe, and to an extent even accept and condone, what only a generation ago was widely held to be a scandalous allegation against the nation's third president can at least in part be explained by what Christopher Clausen has recently described as the condition of post-culturalism that he finds characteristic of contemporary America. It is a condition in which conflicts based on ethnic or cultural factors are studiously avoided, Clausen holds; what we encounter instead is a "flattening out of cultures" that in turn leads to a "weakening of all normative standards of behavior and judgment."
Peter Nicolaisen 117

21) Since racial identities could be shifted only where one was unknown, Eston Hemings and his family had to move among strangers to claim their rights as citizens. In Madison, Wisconsin, he adopted a new name as well as a new racial identity, becoming Eston H. Jefferson. His northwestwardly course, from slavery to freedom and, finally, to whiteness and its associated privileges in Wisconsin provided his children with choices and considerations he had never had.
Stanton and Wright 165

22) My answer has always been that America was never a white nation, and that the idea that this was ever the case is a fantasy. I am quick to remind them that from the time of exploration, colonization, settlement, and creation of the American republic, the United States was a place where racial intermixture took place with greater frequency than many historians are willing to acknowledge. The disavowal of this legacy of colonialism has everything do with the way historians of early American history have dealt with the Sally Hemings-Thomas Jefferson affair.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 188

23) The DNA findings deepen and darken the portrait of Jefferson that has been congealing in the scholarly literature since the 1960s. We already knew that he lived the great paradox of American history, which is to say that he could walk past the slave quarters at Monticello thinking grand thoughts about human freedom and never seem to notice the disjunction. Now the sense of paradox grows exponentially and begins to take on the look and smell of unmitigated hypocrisy, for the evidence of a sexual liaison with Sally Hemings strikes the Jefferson legacy at an especially vulnerable spot.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 130

24) Traditional Jefferson scholarship seemed incredibly "white" oriented. It was completely rational then for blacks to be skeptical about the handling of the Hemings matter.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 175

25) More than thirty years ago, Winthrop Jordan noted that Jefferson was in residence at Monticello nine months before the birth of each of Sally Hemings's children. Until now, the significance of this finding has rested on personal intuition.
Fraser Neiman 199

26) Especially regarding a story of this nature, the possibilities for exaggeration to become hyperbole as the Jefferson-Hemings story passed from person to person and then to Callender were enormous. That Callender got so much of the story right is a remarkable testimony to the extent and transmission of social knowledge about private interracial sexual affairs in Virginia communities.
Joshua Rothman 103

27) The family story seemed true precisely because it was secret.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 137

28) DSW: Most historians can complete W.E.B. DuBois's quotation, "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the _______." I wonder if DuBois realized how true his declaration would prove to be. For me, the color line is more than a division, separating those with power and privilege from those without. For me, the color line is a hard unhoeable row.
Stanton and Wright 165

29) "The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice I wants a real black woman for my special use." What this song voices is hope, not a reality, because there is no pure (real) black race just as there is no pure white race, and Jefferson contributed to this process. Jefferson, in short, was a father of the United States in more than one way. He contributed to the process of remaking the nation racially, a process that would proceed throughout the nineteenth century.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 194

30) His blending of a faith in scientific principles with certain culturally shaped, and internally inconsistent, racial assumptions makes Jefferson a figure who has not lost his relevance today; one yearns for more imaginative and contemplative writing that would try to re-create a fuller sense of the universe of the Jeffersons and the Hemingses.
Werner Sollors 207

31) We can speculate sexual longing that has been completely suppressed or sublimated, or search for displaced Freudian clues in other places, but the reality is that we simply do not know. If nothing else, Jefferson's flirtation with Maria Cosway in 1786-1787 demonstrates that Martha's death five years earlier did not mark the passing of his sexual desire
Jack Rakove 215

32) It is the normal impulse, when confronted with aggressors and victims, to reserve one's greatest concern for the victim. By this standard, evidence of one slave family's success in escaping the obliteration of their identity should have been treated with respect and care. Certainly, the interests of those who wrongly held them in slavery should not have been protected with such zeal and unquestioned vigilance. In this case, however, the identity of the slave family was pushed aside and portrayed as a grab for power and privilege by those presumed unworthy of the blood of an American icon.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 238

33) The difference among these articles notwithstanding, individually and collectively they restore a sense of dialectic, a changing process of interaction and change, to Jefferson studies, a field that at its worst sometimes seemed confined if not entirely to Jefferson's mind, at least to the world as he saw and tried to shape it. . . . In this way, studies of Jefferson and his world have already been energized by a most unusual sort of evidence, a bit of genetic material, a microscopic marker on a Y-chromosome.
Jan Lewis, "Introduction" 124

34) In the historian's language of "likelihood," a variant of lawyer Gordon-Reed's recitation of circumstantial evidence, Thomas Jefferson has suddenly become the most likely father of Hemings's children. However, to prevent a new absolute from taking over, I wish to present a bit of countervailing evidence to remind us of the uncertainties inherent in what we do as scholars: Randolph Jefferson, of whom we know (and care about) far less than we do his famous older brother, was widowed at an indeterminate date and remarried in 1809, after which Hemings stopped conceiving. Randolph lived on the nearby plantation of Snowden and was as likely as brother Thomas to give Randolph family names--Beverly, Eston--to offspring. This, of course, does not explain why Madison Hemings, in his now heralded interview, would not have identified his father as Randolph Jefferson. Still, the cautionary note seems necessary, even if the "likelihood" remains with Thomas Jefferson.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 508

35) The fiercest and most improbable debate occurred when conservative journalists noticed the exquisite timing of the DNA study, released just before the November 1998 elections and just as the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives was considering impeachment charges against President William Jefferson Clinton. . . . Conservative activist groups mobilized to question the scientific reliability of the study, the motives of historians who endorsed the likelihood of a Jefferson-Hemings liaison, and the allegedly transparent liberal agenda of academicians who were using Jefferson to rescue Clinton. The historical Jefferson mattered hardly at all in the ensuing exchanges. Indeed, the meaning of the DNA evidence itself became a function of one's position on Clinton rather than Jefferson, on Monica Lewinsky rather than Sally Hemings.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 137

36) When Jefferson's children passed into the white world, all connections with their father--and their previous servile condition--would be erased. Like the young colonists Jefferson would send to the coast of Africa, this rising generation could gain its freedom only by severing family ties, by denying that they were Jeffersons. . . . Could Jefferson really think this way, linking claims to freedom with worthlessness?
Peter Onuf 166

37) The contradictions that make Jefferson seem problematic and frustrating--a figure of mystery to some whites, make him more accessible to blacks, who find his conflicted nature a perfect reflection of the America they know: a place where high-minded ideals clash with the reality of racial ambivalence. As this combination daily informs black lives, Jefferson could seem no more bizarre than America itself. He is utterly predictable and familiar--the foremost exemplar of the true America spirit and psyche.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 173

38) Even before the DNA findings, scholars, journalists, and others had already adduced twentieth-century possibilities of love to imagine a white master and his slave constituting a desirable racial harmony. . . . This romantic scenario could not exist without an image of Sally Hemings as physically appealing and sexually alluring. For this notion to make any sense at all, her beauty would have to elevate her status from slave to romantic partner, replacing real historical evidence with a universalization of human desire. Beauty, however, is culturally constructed, based on changing expectations placed on women's appearance; it is not a universal constant.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 192

39) The facts of the Hemings matter require attention not because Jefferson's behavior needs to be questioned but because they are of some (but not very much) help in understanding Jefferson's views about miscegenation and, far more, because they shed light on the cultural context in which he moved and of which we are heirs.
Winthrop Jordan 42

40) One of her sons, Eston Hemings would later change his name to Eston Hemings Jefferson, presumably to indicate his belief in his paternity. Those who have questioned Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings because of the significant gap in their ages need look no further than some of the relationships discussed in this essay.
Philip Morgan 77

41) James Callender was a lot of things, but he was not usually a liar. When he ran the Jefferson-Hemings story in 1802, he believed it to be the most damaging information he had on the president, and he hoped it would ruin Jefferson's political career. He knew Jefferson's supporters would deny it, but he wanted to be certain they could not refute it, and he repeatedly dared them to do so. They never did. Significantly, it didn't make any difference. Callender's attacks were by and large true, yet they had almost no impact upon Jefferson's political fortunes.
Joshua Rothman 89

42) Every family constructs a narrative. It tells itself a story about itself. Jefferson's family told themselves that they were a happy family, and so deeply did they believe their family narrative that the story engraved itself on the unconscious.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 132

43) Our interviews with Madison Hemings's descendants, all of whom identify themselves as people of color, reveal both the significance of light skin and a deeply-felt allegiance to the black community. Similarities of appearance and social background were prerequisites for prospective mates, and parents admonished their children of dating age to befriend only those who looked like themselves.
Stanton and Wright 170

44) Yet there was also an internal dynamic that kept the Jefferson-Hemings story alive, made it controversial and particularly gossip-worthy in American memory, a dynamic created by the coexistence of racial slavery and democracy. Antislavery authors of the United States and abroad were drawn to a story that dramatized this paradox at the foundation of American democracy.
Werner Sollors 201

45) The juxtaposition seems, at first glance, ironic, not to say down-right perverse--the more so when we think how ardently religion labors to constrain sexuality itself. Yet in fact, the psychology of sexuality and religious belief are closely related in one critical way: both are essentially concerned with inner states of mind that resist external examination.
Jack Rakove 214

46) The jarring evidence that greatly complicates the romantic heart-over-head version of the story is Jefferson's posture toward the human consequences of his union with Sally Hemings. He never acknowledged his paternity of her children, and for good reason. His major rationale for insisting that slavery could not be ended in his lifetime was his oft-stated fear that abolition would lead to racial mixing. That rationale now has a horribly hollow sound to it, since we know that he was engaged in behavior as a slave master that he claimed slavery was designed to prevent. His chief justification for living with slavery and not doing more to end it rested atop a deeply personal deception. Indeed, Jefferson's well-known position on a range of major historical issues--his fear of racial mixing, his aversion to a leadership role in the antislavery movement, his response to the slave insurrection in Haiti, his highly sentimental relationship with white women, and much more--must now be revisited in light of his deeply personal experience with race and sexuality.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 130

47) White slave owners exploited their slave women property with impunity, heedless of the demographic consequences. By mixing the races, they finally would make the stain of blackness ineradicable. The problem was the unrestrained sexual predation of white male slaveholders, lovers of black women and therefore no lovers of their own country. . . . After all, nothing could be done to control white men as long as they had absolute power over their slave property. But colonization would remove the results of these unions and, by deporting the next generation of young female slaves before they reached breeding age, make miscegenation impossible in the future.
Peter Onuf 160

48) Their attitude suggested a firm determination not to allow an American icon--one of the American icons--to be portrayed as having fallen so low as to have mixed his blood with a member of a degraded race. . . . Rejection of Jefferson's connection to Hemings was, in effect, a rejection of blacks' claim to what some white saw as the "best" America had to offer.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 176

49) In his lifetime, the Hemings matter never attained the moral significance that it has in the last quarter of our century. A few years before he died, he ended a friendly letter to John Adams with what stands as a suitable retort for our prying imaginations: "You see, my dear Sir, how easily we prescribe for others a cure for their difficulties, while we cannot cure our own. We must leave both, I believe, to heaven, and wrap ourselves up in the mantle of resignation."
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 197

50) He was always the person done to, never the one who was doing. His chief defense within the family was to point out that he was the victim of vicious attacks. In 1803, for example, he wrote out his religious creed so that "my family, by possessing this, should be enabled to estimate the libel published against me on this, as on every other possible subject"--as if proving that he was not an infidel would answer also the charges about father Sally Hemings's children.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 140

51) By crossing the color line in unison, before the children reached marriageable age, Eston Hemings's family avoided the fragmentation that had occurred in his own generation, with the departure of his siblings Harriet and Beverly. The disappearing brothers who haunted succeeding generations of Madison Hemings's descendants would not be a part of Eston Hemings's legacy, and his adoption of whiteness was successful in its probable intention--escape for his family from the economic and social subordination that prevailed under the "black laws" of Ohio.
Stanton and Wright 169

52) Thomas Jefferson occupies a central place in our nation's pantheon of heroes. Author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the republic, and exemplar of the Enlightenment, Jefferson embodies all the gentlemanly virtues that we are supposed to associate with the Virginia aristocracy. These qualities in the popular mind are honor, refinement, and probity--in short, all things associated with whiteness. The recent revelation that this American icon was the father of a mulatto child has uncovered a deep fault line in how the nation thinks about Jefferson, interracial sex, slavery, and history--in brief, how we think about race.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 188

53) Not only Jefferson's political opponents and antislavery writers were intrigued by the interracial dimension that was suggested by Callender's report, but also those twentieth-century historians who set out to refute the story. R.R Burg has shown convincingly how the expressions of their hostility to Callender were only surpassed by such odd semantic choices as describing the reputed affair as a "vulgar liaison" or characterizing the Hemings descendants as "brood" and identifying their "pathetic wish for a little pride" as a motive for their claiming Jefferson as ancestor.
Werner Sollors 202

54) Yet what else does the Jefferson-Hemings relationship really add to the basic problem that has confronted us all along, which is simply to reconcile Jefferson egalitarian commitments with the reality of his life as a slaveholder and his inability to discipline his reckless expenditures in the principled cause of emancipating his own slaves?
Jack Rakove 217

55) My look at the historiography revealed two things: first, there never had been a systematic and fair consideration of the matter by those who could be called Jefferson scholars. Had they set out on that path, and had been willing to go forthrightly where the evidence took them, they would most probably have come to the second conclusion that I reached: the weight of the evidence clearly suggested that the Jefferson-Hemings liaison was more likely historical fact than fiction. The DNA tests had the potential for showing, with a great deal more finality than is typical in historical debates, whether I was right or wrong about a truth that I thought could easily have been discerned.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 237

56) One happy effect of the DNA evidence may be to encourage historians to widen their lenses to include the experience of Jefferson's black family and African Americans more generally in their studies.
Jan Lewis, "Introduction" 122

57) While still wary of all psycho-biographical approaches, I am now left to ponder whether guilt was even possible for Thomas Jefferson, and in that case, whether he gave much thought to his exertion of power over one particular woman whom he owned.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 504

58) By contrast, the children and grandchildren of Madison Hemings, who remained in Ohio were bound by the restricted opportunities for blacks at the time. They were, for the most part, small farmers, storekeepers, laborers, domestic servants, or caterers. While their descendants speak above all families of love and strength, there are stories of the breaking of the human spirit rather than its triumph, when racial prejudice blighted career expectations and dreams for children. Some lives, as we have also heard in other families descended from the Monticello enslaved community, were tinged with alcohol and anger.
Stanton and Wright 169

59) At the level of popular opinion, however, neither the scholarly critique of Jefferson's exalted status nor the journalistic craving to make him a double-edged weapon in the culture wars seemed to make much as stirring piece of fresh financial information, mainstream Americans took the news in stride, which only confirmed my impression that the Fawn Brodie version of the Sally and Tom story had long since triumphed in the marketplace of public opinion. Tourists at the Jefferson Memorial and at Monticello, when asked to offer their reaction to the recent revelations, expressed casual indifference, claiming to have known it all along. (In retrospect, it would seem that the only folks who had resisted the truth were the white descendants in the Jefferson family and the majority of professional historians.) A positive spin on the story could also be detected in the calls pouring into the talk shows. Jefferson was now more resolutely human than ever before, the American Everyman for our more permissive era, the word made flesh who dwelt amongst us. In yet another stunning metamorphosis, his most unattractive feature--his deep convictions that blacks were inherently inferior and could never live alongside whites in peace and harmony--was now subject to reconsideration. No matter what Jefferson had publicly said or written, he had lived a biracial private life. In that sense he was our long-lost multicultural hero.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jeffersonian Surge: America, 1992-93" (in American Sphinx) 25-26

60) Nevertheless, these DNA findings will likely complicate the future of our identity politics and our searches for authentic selves. Sally Hemings was no doubt a slave, although hardly a typical field hand; her racial identity is more problematic ("mighty near white"), and the racial identities of her children and descendants are even more confusing. No essay in this volume is more poignant and more revealing of our current plight than that of Stanton and Swann-Wright. To learn, as these historians did, "that Sally Hemings' children and their descendants had been changing, reconstructing, or reinforcing their racial identities through all the generations from the time of slavery until the present" is to discover "the ambiguities and absurdities of racial definitions" in America. In some sense maybe all Americans, like the dozens of living Hemings' descendants, share a common "connection to Monticello."
Gordon S. Wood, "The Ghosts of Monticello" 28

61) In an earlier work, I accepted too readily the conventional wisdom that one of the Carr nephews fathered Sally's children. I have tried to rectify my own lack of care by subjecting the myth of Wythe's interracial liaison to close scrutiny.
Philip D. Morgan 78

62) We have to wonder why Jeff picked his cousins the Carrs. By the time he told his story to Randall, they were dead--but there were other dead Jefferson males, as well, including Jefferson's brother Randolph, who has suddenly emerged as the prime suspect for today's diehard Jefferson purity defenders. Perhaps that is only to say that people will go to great lengths to protect the reputation of a man like Jefferson, who has come to function as a sort of virgin father for some portion of the nation. It might only have been convenience that made Jeff and Ellen turn to the Carr brothers. Perhaps the primary qualification for suspicion was being a male Jefferson who was not Thomas Jefferson himself. Or it might have been some quality that the brothers shared. Both Jeff and Ellen considered Sam Carr, in particular, licentious, and they seemed to think of both cousins as moochers.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "The White Jeffersons" 151

63) This pattern of brothers leaving sisters continued in the next generation. Descendants of Madison Hemings's oldest daughter Sarah Hemings Byrd have many stories of families fragmented by passing. Even though many of those who passed remained in southern Ohio, "we never heard from them," said one. Her cousin, conjuring up images of amputation, said: "They tended to cross over to the white community and not maintain any connection with the rest of the family. It was just sort of cut off." Important life passages like births, marriages, and deaths became painful reminders of family division, and only those remaining in the black community came to family reunions.
Stanton and Wright 168

64) How did Jefferson think about the fate of his mixed-race children? Absent explicit evidence, it is impossible to know. But when Jefferson talked about fulfilling the promise of freedom for an entire generation of enslaved Virginians through colonization, he was also talking about his personal situation.
Peter S. Onuf, "Every Generation Is an ‘Independant Nation’" 166

65) In the wake of the recent DNA revelations concerning Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, two questions strike me as salient and seminal. First, how convincing is the scientific evidence? The answer here is reasonably clear: pretty convincing. Second, what difference does it make for our understanding of Jefferson, to include his world, his character, and his legacy. The answer here, shall we say, is not yet self-evident. My view is that the new evidence extends and reinforces a critical interpretation of Jefferson that has dominated the scholarly literature since the 1960s.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 125

66) We attach our memories to markers--people, places, events--that define and determine our identities. Very much like icons on a computer screen, these familiar sites of memory can be opened to reveal a multitude of motifs and messages that influence our ideas and actions. These landmarks of the past usually undergo regular revision, changing their shapes and meanings as each new generation navigates its course toward identity. Thomas Jefferson remained a primary influence point for Eston Hemings's descendants, while in his brother Madison's family, Sally Hemings survived as an additional marker of equal importance. For both families, however, the unacceptability of a significant part of their family tree has led to the suppression of the links and associations that might normally accompany sites of memory.
Stanton and Wright 173

67) At bottom, all these denials rested on the same assumption: it would simply have been out of character for Jefferson to indulge himself in this way. Whether from a permanent grief over his wife Martha's early death, or devotion to the life of the mind over the impulses of the heart, or distaste for the fruits of miscegenation. . . . Yet in fact, Jefferson and Sally carried on a relationship--call it a liaison, romance, affair, or concubinage--all those assumptions about his character would have been wrong, or at least radically incomplete. True, in the nature of things, the evidence for this relationship would be exponentially more elusive than that for any of the other numerous facets of Jefferson's life that so intrigue us--but so what? Living as we do in an age when public sexual confession and the explicit presentation of sexuality in everyday life are central aspects of our culture, even we cannot ignore the essentially private nature of sexual longing that remains hidden away from outside view but so active an element of interior mental life, conscious and self-conscious alike.
Jack Rakove 213

68) Why didn't historians discern it? There is no one answer equally applicable to all who wrote on this subject. In some cases the problem seemed to have stemmed from a potent combination of adherence to white supremacy, class bias, and hero worship. Traditional Jefferson scholars were simply ill-equipped to see the humanity of blacks as equal to that of Jefferson and his white family.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 237

69) But the match with Eston shifts the burden of proof toward the presumption that Jefferson was the father of each. The likelihood of a long-standing sexual relationship between Jefferson and Hemings can never be proven absolutely, but is now proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Appendix" (in American Sphinx) 367

70) The most influential voice in matters of human sexuality was the Swiss physician Samuel Auguste David Tissot. Jefferson owned this collected works in French, and the English translation of "Tissot's Advice." Tissot focused his particular attention on members of Jefferson's class, "sedentary and literary persons," and recommended a regular course of exercise (such as horseback riding, which Jefferson committed himself to daily), a semi-vegetarian diet (another Jefferson trademark), and regular sexual intercourse with a healthy, attractive female. Middle age was a time of anxious prevention, and standard advice books might recommend, for example: "There is nothing in the world more refreshing to those that are bilious than the caresses of women." Sex was prescribed as a cure for melancholy.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 4

71) In 1943 at the two hundredth anniversary of his birth, Jefferson--the symbol of democracy and equal rights in our war against fascism--was seen as the solution to our problems. During the subsequent half century, largely because of his slaveholding and his racial views, he became instead the source of our problems. Now once again the wheel has turned, and he and his relationship with Sally Hemings have become a new symbol offering perhaps the possibility of some sort of racial reconciliation.
Gordon S. Wood, "The Ghosts of Monticello" 29

72) No one in his right mind would suggest that Jefferson was running a slave-breeding plantation. But sexual encounters between blacks and whites did occur at Monticello and are as much a part of the Jeffersonian legacy as the Declaration of Independence. What, then, caused the Jefferson-Hemings romance to be a "vulgar liaison"--its illicit nature or the issue of race? I think we have to go with race. If it had been revealed that Jefferson was the father of a whit servant's child, this might have raised some eyebrows. Bastardy is something that can be forgiven white men, as the cases of Benjamin Franklin and Grover Cleveland indicate. While some might hold these indiscretions against them, the crossing of racial boundaries would have been more damaging still. Franklin and Cleveland were just "sowing wild oats," or, as the saying goes, "boys being boys." But had these two white men produced mixed-race children, the magnitude of their indiscretions would have increased markedly. Miscegenation, not bastardy, would be the issue foremost in the minds of the critics. And this is the issue that now haunts Jefferson's reputation. An icon of the nation has been revealed to have had a clandestine sexual affair with a woman who was not a member of his race or class. If Jefferson slipped, who else in the "Teflon White House" has strayed from the path of white middle-class rectitude?
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 195

73) For members of an African American community where orality is honored and respected, silence became a family trait. The silence of the mysterious, staring son of Madison Hemings has been mentioned before. His sister is remembered as a loving presence, but her voice is forgotten. She was "very, very quiet." In describing their father and grandfather, three sisters used the word "quiet" over a dozen times, and a descendant in another branch stated: "You've been taught all your life to be quiet." The repressive climate of disbelief engendered a number of stories of documents or family Bibles that could have proved the Jefferson descent that had either disappeared or been burned in fires or car wrecks.
Lucia Stanton and Dianne Swann-Wright 177

74) Judging the past, again, is actually quite easy; explaining it is far more difficult. But judge Jefferson we must--or so it seems--so the question remains, on what basis can we do so?
Jack N. Rakove, "Our Jefferson" 227

75) Despite my faith in the divine intervention of the god of science, and my firm belief, based on my own study of the matter, about what the results of the DNA tests would be--that there would be a genetic connection between the Jefferson and Hemings descendants, that there would be no connection among the Hemings and Carr descendants, and that there would be no connection between the Jefferson, Woodson, and Carr descendants--the idea of a scientific test of my convictions was, quite honestly, unsettling. First, there was the prospect that my mistake would bring a torrent of recrimination inundating me and any other black who might in the future argue strenuously that black testimony was a trust-worthy source of important historical fact. The Rosetta Stone would become the Hitler diaries, and people would never tire of telling (and hearing) the tale.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 243-244

76) Whatever we think we now know or can plausibly imagine about a Jefferson-Hemings relationship remains little less speculative than it was before. We cannot know whether the patriarch of Monticello crudely commandeered the pleasures of Sally's body--seizing the part of many a plantation lord--or whether Sally set out to seduce her owner and brother-in-law, demonstrating in the cool of a Parisian evening, with a fire roaring in the hearth, or in the heat of a sultry Virginia night, that his flesh might be willing even when the spirit was weak, or that the reason of the head need not always prevail over the tug of the heart and associated organs. We cannot know whether Jefferson saw in Hemings a living embodiment of the departed wife whom he had loved so passionately, or whether Hemings saw in Jefferson the legal husband she could have had were it not for the fact that a single one of her four grandparents was black. We cannot know whether common memories of Paris formed a foundation for their romance, as Annette Gordon-Reed suggests, or whether the slings and arrows of public life encouraged Jefferson to seek other forms of private release at Monticello than his endless projects for home improvement.
Jack N. Rakove 215

77) Public scandals surrounding miscegenation thus had their early twentieth-century equivalent in Theodore Roosevelt's famous lunch with Booker T. Washington in the White House on October 18, 1901. On the surface this appears harmless enough, but it caused a public stir against interracial meals and what they seemed to stand for. Many white voices professed "horror that a white gentleman can entertain a colored one at his table."
Werner Sollors 204

78) While some speculate that Jefferson's physical relationship with Sally Hemings began in France, triggered in some way by his flirtation (or possible sexual encounters) with Maria Cosway, one could just as easily view his European experience from the perspective of the changes impressed on him by the extensive medical literature he acquired there. Returning to Monticello, he could have become more concerned with establishing a healthy routine, not only controlling the impressions he etched on letter paper but also rigidly regulating his daily habits in accord with the physiologists' prescriptions. He resolved to steer clear of the city, where atmospheric irritants made one susceptible to poor digestion, hypochondria, and even hysteria. Finally, just as he conceived an improved system of farming, of providing sustenance, and of monitoring the effect of what he consumed at the dinner table, so he would have taken a clinical interest in the healthiest kind of sexual regime.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 190

79) It would be helpful if a similarly reliable probabilistic evaluation of other kinds of evidence could be brought to bear on the question of Jefferson's paternity. Fortunately, such an assessment is possible for the relationship between the incidence of Jefferson's sporadic visits to Monticello and the conceptions of Hemings's children.
Fraser D. Neiman 199

80) Now, in its post-DNA phase, the story continues in an even more intensely melodramatic and presentistic mode. He is more a sphinx than ever before.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 138

81) American masters and their African slaves thus approached nationhood from opposite directions: Americans became conscious of themselves as a people when they were forced to recognize that their slaves also constituted a nation, forcibly held in bondage and unjustly denied its natural right to national self-determination.
Peter Onuf 156

82) But there is another, deeper reason for blacks to accept the truth of a liaison between Jefferson and Hemings. There has been an automatic assumption that "they," meaning white people, were hiding the truth or being deliberately obtuse about it to serve a purpose. The suppression of the Hemings story was simply another example of white supremacy at work.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 175

83) Yet intimacy in the realm of letters, the controlled domain of the written, does not necessarily translate into emotional intimacy with a slave. Jefferson's rigid dichotomy between Head and Heart, the rivals for control over his actions, suggests that he felt more comfortable with reason when dealing with actual relationships and more likely to turn to the Heart when affections were mediated through print.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations"190

84) OCTOBER 31, 1998, marks a watershed in Jefferson studies. On that day, Nature lifted its press embargo on a DNA study suggesting that Thomas Jefferson or a male-line relative was the father of Sally Hemings's youngest son, Eston. Historians found themselves in the novel position of taking their cues from the back pages of one of the world's premier scientific journals and from the front pages of every local newspaper in the United States. Many scholars had to reassess strongly held doubts about the existence of a sexual relationship between the author of the Declaration of Independence and an enslaved African-American woman whom he owned. Within hours of the study's release, at least some long-time skeptics had become believers.
Fraser D. Neiman 198

85) So accepting of the sexual relationship are most historians now that it will be difficult for any future scholarly cautionary notes to get heard. The historical arguments are now likely to be not over the existence of the relationship but over whether there was any affection involved in it. The paucity of evidence on the question makes it precisely the kind of issue historians delight in arguing about.
Gordon Wood 27

86) My first hope was that I would not need to deal with Callender's politically and personally motivated malicious accusations because they were so transparently the work of a scandal-monger. I thought arrogantly that I had broader and more important things in mind. Like most historians then, I may have felt at first that James Callender ought not be taken seriously, since he was clearly less than a role model of historical accuracy and, even more plainly, was out for himself and decidedly not a nice person. I ended up writing five pages on the question of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, which amounted to less than a half of one percent of that book.
Winthrop Jordan 40

87) Ultimately, the DNA evidence, as E.A. Foster notes, "neither definitely excludes nor solely implicates" Jefferson in the paternity of Sally Hemings's children. The weight of evidence now tilts heavily in his direction and the burden of proof has dramatically shifted. The circumstantial evidence, as Winthrop Jordan, Fawn Brodie, Lucia Stanton, and Annette Gordon-Reed have previously noted--in some cases long ago--points its inexorable finger at him, but the mystery of the precise relationship and what it means for an understanding of the man and his legacy still remain.
Philip Morgan 78

88) Of course, these too are familiar tropes: the outer self that the world sees and the better, purer inner self--the self as it "really" is. In this sense, Jefferson was one of the first moderns, feeling himself misunderstood by and at odds with the world.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 141

89) At the level of popular opinion, the DNA revelations constitute old news.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 127

90) Although the human evidence was everywhere apparent, it was important not to talk about it. Knowing, but not knowing, neighbors paid due respect to the sensibilities (and property rights) of recognized white families. . . . Over generations the polite silence of neighbors and family was transmuted into a compelling lie that only now has been fully exposed.
Peter Onuf 167

91) Whites who believe Jefferson and Hemings had been involved with one another are more likely to cast the relationship as rape or to emphasize that it must have been totally impersonal. Blacks are more likely to see it as having been based on affection.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 178

92) The idea of sex as a natural but unhallowed impulse would appear in part to contradict the earlier, guiltless notion that excessive intellectual activity needed, for health, to be counterbalanced by sexual release.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 191

93) Whatever has been said about Jefferson, no one has ever made this charge--he must have known why the Hemings children looked like him. He must have known that all the defenses put up by his political friends and allies were in part or in whole untrue. So far as we know--and when we have only a written record and not a spoken one, that phrase covers much uncertainty--Jefferson's defenders were the first to mount what might be called a derivative family defense.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 142

94) When the collection of family photographs was brought out after the interview, we saw several arresting images on the first pages of an album dating from the turn of the century. Artfully staged and photographed in a professional studio, they showed Eston Hemings's grandson and friend, costumed in blackface. The young men, dressed as pickaninnies, struck comical poses and, in one photograph, leered at their female companions, who wore little girls' dresses of virginal white.
Stanton and Wright 162

95) All we know about Hemings and Jefferson is that they slept with each other, and that the world into which their offspring were born did not value black and white sexual interactions because couplings of blacks and white eroded the boundary separating what were thought of as two essentially distinct and antithetical categories of people.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 192

96) If Hemings's children were also Jefferson's, the master of Monticello was holding his own children as slaves, but once freed, such a former slave would enter society (as Jefferson explicitly observed) as "a free white man, and a citizen of the US to all intents and purposes." Yet even if Jefferson was tacitly rearing his children for a life of freedom, hoping they could pass quietly into the ranks of free society--and possibly even free white society--it was a freedom very different from the one that his children by Martha enjoyed.
Jack Rakove 217

97) Finally, account must be taken of the role that centuries of white supremacy played in the handling of this story. A central tenet of that doctrine is that white must control the shaping of reality. Any reality offered by blacks that conflicts with the desires of white is to be put down. As far as we have come, we have not yet rid ourselves of this feature of American life. There is little wonder why some historians may have reacted too strongly against (or blithely ignored) Madison Hemings's attempt to state the truth of his life. That truth would have drastically altered the agreed upon truths of Jefferson's life.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 238

98) Does it make any difference if Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings's children? For almost two hundred years, since James Callender published the rumor in the Richmond Recorder on September 1, 1802, some portion of the public has believed it to be true. . . . Even so, the suggestion that Jefferson had fathered several mixed-race children never escaped the category of rumor, not so much unprovable, but, for most historians, something not fit for careful scrutiny. While historians and biographers debated whether the story might be true, almost no one was willing to proceed as if it were true or to ask what it might mean if it were.
Jan Lewis, "Introduction" 121

99) Since that [Getting Word] reception in 1993 we have learned that Sally Hemings's children and their descendants had been changing, reconstructing, or reinforcing their racial identities through all the generations from the time of slavery until the present. The light-skinned offspring of miscegenation in slavery had maintained their distinctiveness by marrying others who shared their physical appearance and its accompanying social status. In this way, subsequent generations of Sally Hemings's descendants continued to resemble their famous ancestor, who was described as "might near white."
Stanton and Wright 170

100) What difference does it [the DNA results] make? Well, for a whole host of historical achievements responsible for Jefferson's prominent place in the history books, not much at all. Jefferson's intimate relationship with Hemings has no bearing on his visionary approach to the American West, which includes the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition. It does not affect his stature as the major architect, along with James Madison, of Virginia's landmark legislation requiring the complete separation of church and state. And speaking of architecture, it does nothing to erode his standing as a powerful force in shaping American aesthetics through his design of the Richmond state capitol, Monticello, the University of Virginia, and Poplar Forest. The list could be extended to include Jefferson's central role in creating what is now the Democratic Party, revising the entire Virginia legal code, or shaping American foreign policy as our first secretary of state and third president.
Joseph Ellis, "Post-DNA" 126

101) Jefferson sold many slaves, but not his mixed race children. The price of their freedom was instead the denial of their family connections. Jefferson thus fulfilled his promise to their mother, Sally Hemings, but in a way that did not threaten the sensibilities--or property interests--of his recognized white family.
Peter Onuf 169

102) The pattern is all too familiar. The exclusion of black people creates a value. An activity, a good or service, a neighborhood, a club--all become highly prized by whites when no blacks are present to share the good. Those items instantly become less attractive when blacks gain access--black involvement is equated with degeneracy.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 176

103) These are the stories of families, of parents and children, of a white family and a black family, of a national family of blacks and white. These are the stories of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, of white Jeffersons and black, of Americans black and white. They are the stories of a family and of a nation.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 129

104) LCS: With my mind wavering precariously between two equally strange possibilities--that Sally Hemings's great-grandson was ignorant of his race or that he knew it and was hiding or ridiculing it--I took refuge in sifting historical facts. At the time of the photograph, his family had been living as white for half a century. His grandfather Eston had died before his birth, but he had been raised by Eston's wife, his grandmother, who had been born a free woman of color in Virginia. Could he have been unaware of his racial heritage, acting like other white Americans who found the donning of blackface as titillating amusement? Or was he instead painfully conscious of his own masquerade, drawn to it unwillingly by the please of others or by his own need to fortify his whiteness by ridiculing blackness?
Stanton and Wright 162

105) Malone's comments reflect a profound naiveté about men, sex, race, and life in general. First, he cannot see beyond Jefferson's "front," or public persona. But the DNA has "outed" or "unmasked" Jefferson and shown him to be a man whose passions were more than cerebral. Realization of this fact makes Malone's assertions risible. He fails to acknowledge that Jefferson lived in a world where upper-class men regularly exploited lower-class women, regardless of their color. And being husbands, fathers, politicians, and gentlemen did not deter them from seducing their servitors. These pillars of society were not troubled by bourgeois sensibilities of respectability. Black people have known this historically because their families include members who were products of "massa's" adventures in the quarters. Stated another way, Malone's denial of the Jefferson-Hemings affair represents a reading back into the eighteenth century of values more appropriate to the world of "Ozzie and Harriet," where sex was not the subject of either polite or public conversation.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 194

106) As absorbed as we are in our speculations about Jefferson and Hemings, a skeptic might well wonder whether an absolute verification of the relationship would alter our understanding of the one member of the founding generation who still lives most vividly in our historical imagination. Obviously we would have to adjust our views of the "character" of the "inner Jefferson," hitherto deployed to support a conclusion opposite to the one that will now be sustained. Obviously, too, we would have to wonder how Jefferson could allow his children by Sally to disappear into a sort of netherworld of free society without providing his posterity with the full measure of liberty they deserved. No doubt the recent findings will help keep the Jefferson industry thriving well into the new millennium.
Jack Rakove 217

107) It could not have gone unnoticed that a white woman [Fawn Brodie] was using the words of a black man to say that a group of white males did not know what they were talking about. Two members of relatively powerless groups were contending for power in an arena from which their kind had been largely excluded. There is little wonder when Brodie received the response that she did--and it must be said, why it took others so long to say out loud that she was probably right and the others were probably wrong.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 239

108) In the wake of the DNA solution--albeit a partial and tentative conclusion--to the mystery of Jefferson's post-marital sex life and his contradictory attitude toward slavery and race, I have been obliged to look again at the evidence present in the texts he produced. I have to ask, what led me to detect passion, and yet conjecture that he was, in the end, too cautious, deliberative, and consumed with public reputation to prefer a liaison with Sally Hemings to the more predictable, morally safe, and financially prudent choice of a wife belonging to the planter class? To call him a hypocrite is overly simplistic; it is to determine that he is not worth understanding as a complex individual who did not escape complex cultural times.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 500

109) Monticello sits atop a mountain; its slopes are slippery indeed. A public man enters into a private relationship. He attempts to keep it private, even from this family, even, in fact, from the family that the relationship begets. He gives his white family his love, his black family their freedom. Which legacy is the greater? The white part of his family uses its legacy--the love, the knowledge of him that this love provides--to disinherit their black kin, to dismiss their black family's claim as moral impossibility. Theirs is a lie, founded in love. Half the black family uses tits freedom to escape the grasp of history altogether. The other half uses it to claim its rightful inheritance, which is to say, a heritage, a connection to history itself. Subsequent generations take sides. A family quarrel becomes a national one as well. These are the things we do for love.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "The White Jeffersons" 157

110) Nellie Jones's efforts to establish an almost public dimension for her connection to Jefferson were very much the exception. Her belief in a love story thwarted by unjust laws freed her to break the silence guarded so carefully by others of her generation. For the majority of Madison Hemings's descendants the paternity story remained a private matter, and its persistence in a hostile environment of disbelief is a striking demonstration of the strength of oral tradition. One of the by-products of the public denial of the family's history was a potent and pervasive silence, both inside and outside the family circle. Descendants of three of Madison Hemings's daughters report that their elders talked little about the Jefferson-Hemings history.
Lucia Stanton and Dianne Swann-Wright 176-77

111) So if we are to judge the past by rules of due process, we have to appoint ourselves its patient defenders as well as its zealous prosecutors and then appeal to the audience--our readers and students--to pass judgment. In the case of slavery, the likely defense is fairly evident. We would recall that Jefferson was born into a world that was only beginning to understand that slavery was an evil of a kind radically different from the other wrongs of life; that most slaveholders remained convinced that their "people" were their chattels; that it was reasonable to ask whether a stable republican polity could rest upon the foundation of a biracial or multiracial society. Or we might mount a more aggressive defense still, challenging the capacity and right of later generations even to sit in judgment. Which century, the eighteenth or twentieth, tolerated the greater injustices or inflicted the greater injuries to life and limb? Which generation had the greater capacity to alleviate human misery but failed to do so?
Jack N. Rakove, "Our Jefferson" 228

112) By 1993, with the publication of Peter S. Onuf's Jeffersonian Legacies on the occasion of Jefferson's 250th birthday, it was clear that the era of worshipping Jefferson as an unblemished icon was largely over.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 240

113) Treating Jefferson not as a hypocrite or slacker but as someone grappling with questions he could solve neither intellectually nor morally may help us to think anew about that passage in his writings which disturbs us most: the discourse on racial difference in Query XIV of the Notes on the State of Virginia.
Jack N. Rakove 220

114) The reception of this book at its first appearance was heartening. Historians and members of the conventional wisdom on the subject of Jefferson and Hemings had treated the Hemings family shabbily. That was a step in the right direction. It must be noted, however, that very few reviewers grappled with the role that the doctrine of white supremacy played in all of this. The preferred response was to focus on the carelessness of the historians discussed in the book, bypassing the central question about the source of that carelessness.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xiii

115) Although Jefferson bequeathed to historians a richly revealing literary persona, the effusive Virginian (who copied and saved many thousands of his letters) did not reveal himself as a demonstratively sexual being. Nothing he wrote even remotely supports the existence of a physical connection with Sally Hemings. Each of his letters was carefully crafted and self-consciously framed for his intended recipient(s) -- for the larger circle of his acquaintances (in cases when his letters were meant to be shared), for a larger public (when circulated in the press), and for posterity. Jefferson allowed conventional sentiment to carry his prose; and, like every skilled letter writer of his age, he hinted, gestured, and even flirtatiously taunted so as to exhibit an emotional component to his self-fashioning and to present a properly balanced man of morals and disciplined feeling.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 183

116) Science has thus provided a worthwhile lesson in the interpretation of evidence. A genetic test has roused us from a complacent, and sometimes selective, acceptance of our favorite letters, memoirs, or travel accounts. We have been warned to read them whole, to keep in mind the context in which they were written, and to beware of favoringsome elements and forgetting others that are problematic.
Lucia Stanton, "The Other End of the Telescope" 140

117) How then to put it? To say that Jefferson's paternity of several Hemings children is proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" sounds about right, though it also embraces the somewhat misleading legalistic framework that I have inadvertently fallen into myself in the sentences above. In the end, history is more like a classroom than a courtroom, a more capacious space where room remains for shaded versions of the truth, up or down verdicts are not demanded, scholars are not expected to behave like legal advocates, who are professionally obliged to dismiss evidence that does not fit their case. Perhaps the best way to put it, then, is to say that the burden of proof has shifted rather dramatically. If history is an argument without end, skeptics and agnostics will till have a role to play in the debate. But the new scholarly consensus is that Jefferson and Hemings were sexual partners.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 126

118) [In the Peter Carr accusation] White historians were not just acting defensively to protect a vision of Jefferson. They were aggressively sending a message to present-day blacks: nothing we think of as "good" could ever be in you. To the extent that we are forced to acknowledge your blood connections to the white race, we must always emphasize that you come from the degraded among us and, therefore, are not worthy.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Engaging Jefferson" 177

119) If we were so inclined, we might even say that, within the constraints imposed by the mores of his time and its peculiar institution of slavery, Jefferson behaved rather honorably, fulfilling his promises to his wife, his children, and his mistress. Our problem, as historians, is that we cannot know, with the evidence available to us today. We can tell you what the normal pattern was--the institution of slavery placed enormous power in the hands of masters--but we cannot tell you whether Jefferson was the exception to the rule.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 143

120) LCS: My response reminded me of the white travelers in the nineteenth century who realized the injustices of slavery only when they saw men and women as white as they were being taken down the Mississippi to the New Orleans slave market for sale. I still have difficulty visualizing the color line. It appears nebulous, shifting, at times a barricade guarded by gun-toting white men, at times a mist, a white mist into which people disappear.
Stanton and Wright 165

121) The fact that this case involved the third president of the United States did not make it improbable to black Americans. Black people, because of their historical and cultural experiences, have a different perception of American historical personages than white college professors and white people generally. Many of us honor these men but do not idealize them. We know them to be men with all the frailties of being human. This is particularly true of black Americans who have family connections in the South, where white men have been sleeping with black women since the seventeenth century. In claiming Jefferson as one of their ancestors, the Woodsons were proclaiming their "American-ness."
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 196

122) We can speculate as much as we want about the possible forms this relationship might have taken, drawing probabilistic inferences on the basis of what other contributors to this volume have reconstructed of patterns of interracial sex on the plantation, yet never conclusively know whether this liaison was typical or unique. What we can surmise, I think, is that any simple reconstruction of this relationship based on the stereotype of the lustful white planter forcing the submission of a fearful slave mistress probably misses the mark. The familial, racial, and psychological dynamics of this relationship will always elude us.
Jack Rakove 215

123) In the absence of any systematic effort to gather evidence from the contemporary time, or to analyze closely the statements of contemporary witnesses, the conversation about Jefferson and Hemings seem to turn largely on who had read the largest number of Jefferson letters. For all these reasons, I knew that it would take something akin to divine intervention before Madison Hemings' statement, even supported as it was by an extensive amount of circumstantial and direct evidence, could be taken as historical fact. That should not be surprising, for assertion of blacks' equal humanity have often been treated as threats to the maintenance of white supremacy.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 241

124) What once was rumor now seems to be, if not proven, at least sufficiently probable that virtually all professional historians will accept that Jefferson was the father of at least one of Sally Hemings's children, her son Eston (the only one who left male-line descendants whose DNA might be tested). And although no DNA evidence demonstrates a genetic relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings's children Beverley, Harriet, and Madison, historians seem generally willing to credit Madison Hemings's memoir, which claimed that Jefferson fathered all four siblings. Yet if most professional historians believe the question is settled, disputes continue among the wider public. A handful of vociferous deniers insists that some other male Jefferson must have been the father of Sally Hemings's children, while descendants of Thomas Woodson, who have long claimed that he was the first child of Jefferson and Hemings, dispute the portion of the Nature study that said there is no genetic connection between them and male-line Jefferson descendant.
Jan Lewis, "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Redux. Introduction" 121

125) It makes sense that a man of extraordinary belletristic talents who tightly controlled his literary output, the compassionate friend who wrote warm letters to charm married women while scrupulously maintaining outward propriety, one who I surmised was sexually repressed--could have been in fact both sexually repressed and sexually active. In the texts he left, he refused to acknowledge himself as a sexual being.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 508

126) To say simply that those were different times--the slavery, the racism, he could never have acknowledged it, is finally, too simple. It is to obscure the other facts, that slavery itself, at least in a land that extols freedom, is a kind of lie, for it denies that one person is another's equal; and racism is another kind of lie, the kind that follows in the first lie's train, by attempting to explain and legitimate that inequality. Neither slavery nor racism is a natural fact; rather, both are contingent historical conditions, created by human beings to serve particular ends. So to say that Thomas Jefferson could not have acknowledged his relationship with Sally Hemings, whatever it was, because of race and slavery is only to say that some lies beget other lies, something we would do well to remember.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 143

127) DSW: I was hopeful that the album might suggest links between the inhabitants of the house and an honored and respected black past. I stared at each image, as someone else turned the pages. The image of Eston's grandson in blackface, mocking what he was slapped me in my own face. I needed the back of my chair to brace me from the insult, the disrespect.
Stanton and Wright 162

128) If Jefferson, with his belief in reason and equality and progress, could do no better, then what could be expected of the rest of American society?
Jack Rakove 220

129) The introduction of science would complement the historical record in a way that could yield as definitive a result as would be needed to tell historians whether Jefferson was the most likely father of Hemings's children. We would have what we never have in history: scientific evidence of genetic links between individuals whom we believe from the historical record alone to have been related to one another.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 242

130) Jefferson, we know, followed Tissot's advice with respect to diet and exercise. It seems likely, then, that a long-term sexual relationship with Sally Hemings would also have fulfilled the purposes of a health-seeking man of letters.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson in the Flesh" (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 179

131) (…) our preoccupations with matters of race. The flood of Jefferson scholarship that pours ceaselessly from the presses reminds us that our general interest in Jefferson has other, less vexed sources. But the urgency of our concern is tied to race -- and indeed to the persistence of exactly the same dualist conflict that both Myrdal and Jordan located in the American head and heart. That conflict demands resolution, and resolution means a rendering of historical justice. We can bring Jefferson and his generation to a dock of historical judgment, holding them responsible for a failure of moral and political imagination that entrenched slavery ever more deeply in the fabric of national life. In that case, we enjoy the advantage of a moral superiority, sometimes bordering on smugness, that eases the conscience because it enables us to distance our struggles for the redemption from the original sin we only inherited from our fallen forebears. Or else, probing more deeply, we face the disquieting recognition that earlier problems remain our own, and more intractably than we can comfortably admit
Jack N. Rakove, "Our Jefferson" 227

132) When this book first appeared in 1997, to the chagrin of some and, no doubt, to the relief of others, I stated firmly that the book was not primarily directed toward answering that question--although for many readers and reviewers that was its indirect result. The more important feature of the Jefferson-Hemings debate, I believed, was what it said about the views of Americans--and it must be said, some white Americans--about the proper relationship between blacks and whites. This was not just on the sexual front (not even mainly on the sexual front) but in terms of the proper power relationship between the two groups overall.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) viii

133) Thomas Jefferson has become the most potent weapon and most valued trophy in the culture wars. He electromagnetizes all historical conversations that he enters and transforms them into contemporary events. Although we are the official custodians of the past, Jefferson has escaped the past and our control over his place in it. All discussions of his legacy, even those conducted by professional historians, end up being less about him than about us.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 137-138

134) It is hard to remove coercion from our understanding of what may have happened, especially because Madison Hemings terms his mother Jefferson's concubine. Through both Jefferson's and Madison's lifetimes, this word was generally severe in its connotation and invariably indicated social subordination. Hemings also describes Jefferson as an inattentive father who may have honored the paternal responsibility by seeing that the Hemings children were trained as artisans but did not exhibit affection. The presence of force and the absence of attention argue against a Hollywood solution, in trying to fill the emotional gap that the DNA procedure has left us.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 195

135) The destruction of the Carr story is no mere sidelight. It is crucial. When Jefferson relatives, in the position to know the answer, had the chance to say who fathered Sally Hemings's children, they didn't simply state that it was someone else. They went out of their way to violate tow strong taboos. They named a white man as the father of a black woman's children. Even more amazingly, they named two of their relatives as the fathers.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xi

136) Whatever his shortcomings on matters of slavery and race, there were other urgent political matters that Jefferson saw with absolute clarity, and which he happened to solve, I think, correctly. One was that the understood, better than any member of his generation, that all legitimate government must ultimately rest on the principle of popular consent, freely expressed by subjects who should properly acquire the mantle of citizens. The other was that coercion of religious belief and punishment of religious dissent were absolutely unjustifiable.
Jack N. Rakove 228

137) Whatever his shortcomings on matters of slavery and race, there were other urgent political matters that Jefferson saw with absolute clarity, and which he happened to solve, I think, correctly. One was that the understood, better than any member of his generation, that all legitimate government must ultimately rest on the principle of popular consent, freely expressed by subjects who should properly acquire the mantle of citizens. The other was that coercion of religious belief and punishment of religious dissent were absolutely unjustifiable.
Jack N. Rakove, "Our Jefferson" 228

138) Even though no visual images of Sally Hemings exist, she is clearly present in the minds, memories, and identities of Madison Hemings's descendants. She is described by these, mostly female, descendants as "bright" and "intelligent," "very special" and "extraordinary." "I'd like to know more about her" or "I wish I could have met her" are common responses. They see the people and situations in their own lives through the lens of Sally Hemings. A human resources worker considers Sally Hemings in the context of her own workplace, with its concerns of sexual harassment and equal opportunity. Another descendant reviewed the parallels in the lives of Sally Hemings and her mother and grandmother, all single parents, and concluded: "My mother felt the same thing Sally did." One woman, a deputy sheriff in a large city, perceived her ancestor as "strong" and "independent."
Lucia Stanton and Dianne Swann-Wright 175

139) Then there is the question of the rivalry among brothers and sisters, common enough in conventional families, something else again when a father has two sets of children, by two different women. Perhaps it seems absurd to suggest that the white Jeffersons might have thought of the Hemings children as rivals for Thomas Jefferson's affection. They were, after all, black, the children of a slave. Yet if Thomas Jefferson took Sally Hemings as his concubine in order to fulfill a promise to his dying wife, then it was precisely to make certain that no other woman assumed the position in Jefferson's household that a white wife would have, and no other children exercised a legitimate claim upon his affections or material resources. This is how race worked its powerful magic, for it was only the color of the Hemings children's skin and their status as Jefferson's property that assured that they could not become their white siblings' rivals. They were the children of Jefferson's wife's half-sister, and the children of Jefferson himself, yet because of their race, they were denied what their white sisters claimed as right. There is the true absurdity.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "The White Jeffersons" 149

140) Whether for purposes of procreation or his own inner fulfillment, a man was led to concern himself with the medical requirement that he engage in sexual intercourse on a fairly regular but not too frequent (or infrequent) basis. Balance was essential, because overindulgence could excite the passions and do long-term damage.
Andrew Burstein, “Jefferson in the Flesh” (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 178

141) One effect of the DNA test is that it has stimulated scholars to take another look at the available evidence. It has also led to more careful considerations of the nature of historical evidence. . . . Some commentators have concluded that the DNA finding proves that the black oral history from Jefferson's black and white descendants proves accurate--and some does not.
Jan Lewis, "Introduction" 122

142) The interpretation of Jefferson's Monticello has always relied heavily on primary sources, with which we are richly supplied -- from Jefferson's own monumental archive of 65,000 documents to the abundant written testimony of family members, overseers, neighbors, and visitors. Each eyewitness account of life at Monticello is treated as a kind of sacred reliquary, from which small gems are extracted to enhance the presentation of Jefferson's daily habits, domestic character, or cultural interests. When, very rarely, a new narrative surfaces, it is immediately plundered for colorful tidbits to embellish the stories told on the mountain. Now, because of the almost seismic effect of a scientific test, we will never again read the words of Jefferson and the members of his household in quite the same way.
Lucia Stanton, "The Other End of the Telescope" 139

143) And now the DNA tests give a new story that also pertains to the worldwide meaning of Monticello. Or, rather, the tests bring into sudden prominence, with the great authority of "science," a set of stories long told by families that have always known Monticello as an origin place--the stories of Sally Hemings and the children she bore to Thomas Jefferson on that little mountain top.
Rhys Isaac 115

144) This is what we now know. A man and a woman have children. The woman is the half-sister of his now-departed wife; she is the aunt, then, of his two grown daughters. She is also his slave. By law, their children are also his slaves. The children grow up on his plantation, and, like their mother, they work there, but their work is always light. They all seem to know that one day they will be free. Then, in the year 1802, a newspaper publishes a story that says that this man is the father of this woman's children. He does not deny this story explicitly, but instead he says that his enemies have spread a number of untruths. Everyone, including his family, takes the evasion as a denial, a refusal to honor an ugly story with a direct comment.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 127

145) Madison Hemings never took the Jefferson surname and his recollections do not suggest that he identified with Jefferson in any way. . . . But his several references to promises, and how they were broken by "white folks," indicate that for him, Jefferson differed from other whites: he kept his promises. . . . Equal in importance, both parents appear in his 1873 recollections to a white journalist and in the stories told his children. They and succeeding generations were left to pass it on or to deny t according to their own racial and personal identities.
Stanton and Wright 175

146) None of us could imagine discussing Jefferson's public writings on slavery and race without simultaneously considering how his extravagant ambitions for Monticello, his deepest love, coupled with his disastrous treatment of the estate of which Sally Hemings was a part and the debt problems compounded by the Treaty of Paris, all ensnared him ever more relentlessly--yet ever so voluntarily--in the tragic juxtaposition of American slavery and American freedom.
Jack Rakove 212

147) In sorting this matter out, one must also look to the near total identification with and inclination to protect the reputations of Jefferson and those members of his family who provided an alternative explanation for the paternity of Sally Hemings's children. The honor of Jefferson and the Randolphs was so important that they were to be given the benefit of every doubt--no matter how unreasonable. At the same time, the honor and dignity of Madison Hemings and his family were of little consequence. There was a lack of true empathy with black Americans' efforts during slavery to preserve their families in the face of the depredations of the slave system. Moreover, some historians failed to understand how deeply that loss and threatened loss of identity is felt by black Americans even until this day. In the unspoken cost-benefit analysis question was simple: whose interests do we most mind hurting, the Jeffersons' and the Randolphs' or the Hemingses'?
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 238

148) Was Jefferson forthcoming with his family? Or was nothing said? But should it be at all odd that his one surviving daughter, Martha, protected her politically vulnerable father on all accounts? Without a son who could inherit, Jefferson raised her to be strong and competent, and unafraid. Typical of her dutiful posture, she wrote her father before he retired from the presidency, "It is truly the happiness of my life to think that I can dedicate the remainder of it to promote yours." Thus Martha Jefferson Randolph and her son were groomed to maintain a sturdy public demeanor much like the politically embattled Jefferson himself. If we assume that they knew the truth about Sally Hemings (and this must remain and assumption only), they appear to have behaved like Jefferson himself by absolving themselves from possible guilt through complicity in a "coverup." Were repression and control "Jefferson" qualities spanning the three immediate generations? This is another of those presumably indeterminate aspects of the story.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 504

149) There is another reason why the white Jeffersons would not have wanted to publish their accusation against their cousins: the possibility that it would be refuted. Peter's and Sam's kin could have done just what Jeff did--or said he did--and gone to the old account books to prove that Peter and Sam were not in the vicinity nine months before each of Sally Heming's children was born. But all that we have explained is why Ellen and Jeff would not have bruited the Carr name in public; it does not explain why they would have spoken it among themselves. The need to demonstrate to themselves that their beloved grandfather was not the father of Sally Hemings's children must have been intense. Her children were about their ages. They all grew up at Monticello, more or less together. Perhaps one or more of those Hemings children--who were, almost certainly, their own half-aunt and half-uncles, their mother's half-sister and half-brothers, just as Sally Hemings had been their mother's half-sister--looked more like Thomas Jefferson than they did. How desperately they would have wanted an explanation other than the most obvious one.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "The White Jeffersons" 148

150) Jefferson remains alive for us--"us" being both scholars and the public--to an extent and with an attractive power that none of his contemporaries can rival. . . . But the foremost reason why Jefferson still lives surely reflects his association with the principle of equality whose creed he embedded in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the first of the three achievements memorialized on his tombstone.
Jack N. Rakove 210

151) The story of Jefferson and Hemings was hostage to both passion and indifference--passion from those wedded to the vision of Jefferson crafted by his most well-known biographers who presented him as a southern gentleman dedicated to the life of the mind and devoid of sexuality. For them, the matter was beyond contemplation, let alone careful consideration. At the same time there were other historians and commentators who wrote of the matter as if they had no feelings about Jefferson and Hemings one way or the other. They would not have been upset if the story was true. Instead, their resistance grew from their notion that psychological and/or physical factors--Jefferson was a racist; Jefferson was impotent--would have prevented an affair with Hemings. While these positions moved beyond the undercurrent of hysteria in the traditional response, they maintained the basic circularity of the Old Guard opinion and continued to ignore what was really at stake: proper regard for the humanity and integrity of blacks who were enslaved at Monticello.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) vii

152) To be sure, the DNA evidence establishes probability rather than certainty. A spirited rebuttal has been mounted by the Jefferson genealogist Herbert Barger, suggesting that Randolph Jefferson or his son Isham (Jefferson's brother and nephew, respectively) is a more likely candidate. No one had mentioned Randolph Jefferson as a possible alternative before the DNA study. He is being brought forward now because he fits the genetic profile. This belated claim strikes me as a kind of last stand for the most dedicated Jefferson loyalists. If history were a courtroom, the Barger explanation would constitute a desperate appeal to the jury designed to generate sufficient doubt in the minds of enough jurors to block a guilty verdict. It might serve that purpose among the white descendants of the Jefferson family, permitting them to deny requests from Hemings descendants for inclusion in the family burial plot at Monticello. And if there are any surviving members of that informal organization half-jestingly called the "Monticello Mafia," they can plausibly claim that the genetic evidence is inconclusive. Historians of the Lost Cause syndrome will recognize the poignant fusion of sincerity and futility at work here.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 126

153) The white Jeffersons never acknowledged that they had black Jefferson kin. The Hemings children, however, knew that they were the disfavored children of a loving and powerful man.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 149

154) While Madison Hemings's descendants who remained black could openly identify with their slave ancestor, in order to erase their racial origins, Eston H. Jefferson's descendants had to hide or deny her existence. It is apparently no accident that Dr. Eugene Foster, in pursuit of DNA samples, could find exclusively male-line descendants of Eston Hemings Jefferson but not of his brother Madison. In the Eston H. Jefferson branch, both the Y-chromosome and the memory of Thomas Jefferson were transmitted from generation to generation. The male markers of Madison Hemings's descendants seem to have disappeared as some men made the choice to pass for white and left no traces, while the women who remained behind never forgot Sally Hemings. The genetic markers in each line thus match the markers of memory.
Stanton and Wright 178

155) Indeed, sexual relations between the master race's women and black men were perceived as assaults on whiteness as embodied in both property and biology. All the preceding has to be taken in account when assessing the recent consternation expressed over the revelation that Jefferson was the lover of a black woman and the father of one of her children. Jefferson has been "outed," and this does not sit well with some conservative white Americans. Most black Americans have an entirely different point of view about Jefferson and his slave lover.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt"192

156) Character and leadership are qualities that we judge, not merely explain; they necessarily engage us in moral and political discourse, in ways that the mere task of accounting for historical change does not. It is one matter to explain why slavery took hold in the colonies in the late seventeenth century, or why it remained essential to the plantation economy of the South a century later. It is another matter to assess an individual's moral and political responsibility in confronting, or failing to confront, the evils of his age.
Jack Rakove 226

157) A black man and former slave's version of life at Monticello was squarely pitted against not only the cult of Jefferson, but also the separate and distinct cult of the Jefferson scholar.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 239

158) Jefferson will never go on television to apologize that "I was wrong. I had an inappropriate relationship with Ms. Hemings." The unfathomable questions that remain are even more numerous than before the DNA tests. Among the most disquieting are these: How did Jefferson's family ultimately come to direct posterity to Peter and Samuel Carr as the most likely fathers of Sally's children? Why did Jefferson show no apparent tenderness, let alone acknowledge, his relationship to Sally's children, and how might this have affected Sally herself? In his testimony, Madison Hemings referred to his own mother as a "concubine"--no love is implied in that designation--and he never suggested that she was a good mother. Samuel Johnson's Dictionary defines concubine as "a woman kept in fornication; a whore." On the other hand, Madison may have been thinking dispassionately in the Biblical sense of a woman with whom a man shared a bed and shared feelings but not an empowering social legitimacy. In late eighteenth-century Latin America, concubinage was a common practice among elite men and lower class, racially mixed women. We may need to refocus on this element in interpreting southern United States slave culture. In any event, making sense of the emotional in what happened between this particular master and his slave will continue to be the principal mystery in the aftermath of the DNA findings.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 508-509

159) Another argument frequently advanced by doubters of the Sally Hemings story is that a man of Jefferson's honor and humanity, with his great respect for human dignity, could never have been, as John C. Miller puts it, "the seducer of a young, innocent, attractive colored girl, hardly our of puberty." But it is possible to agree with this and still believe that not long after her arrival in Paris, Sally Hemings and her master began an intensely sexual affair that was to last for many years. For what if she seduced him? In answering this question, it is relevant to remember that Sally's mother, Betty Hemings, had tremendously improved her lot as a slave by becoming John Wayles's consort after the death of his third wife. The master's concubine, on a Southern plantation, was a woman set apart, and in most cases, if the liaison was on a continuing basis, she could count on being treated far better than the ordinary slaves.
E.M. Halliday "Eros on the Champs Elysees" (in Understanding Thomas Jefferson) 98

160) His intimate relationship with a female house servant was indelicately exposed in 1802 through satire, revealing, as satire is wont to do, that the highest in the land, no matter how chaste or wholesome in outward appearance, is at least as likely as the next man to indulge his desires, or act irrationally. Whatever Thomas Jefferson thought about his wife, Patty, or his concubine, Sally Hemings, his dietary and exercise regimen, his daily footbaths in cold water, and his painstaking record-keeping over the course of a lifetime strongly suggest that he paid close attention to his body and its urges.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson in the Flesh" (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 192

161) The secrets that look so understandable, so necessary for Thomas Jefferson, look quite another thing to his two families. How could you do this to us, his white family must have asked. Or rather, if we wish to confine ourselves to what we know, he could not have done this to us, they said. There are such things, after all, as moral impossibilities, which is another way of saying that our lives cannot make sense if such a thing is possible. If you were a white Jefferson, and your world was ordered by the knowledge that your father or grandfather loved you above all else, that you were entrusted with the knowledge of the real him, and if these things were more real to you than the features on the faces of your Hemings kin, then perhaps you would have lied, too.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "The White Jeffersons" 155-56

162) We should not be embarrassed to affirm his vision. No government can ever be truly legitimate whose rule does not finally rest on the consent of its subjects, freely given, who must therefore also become its citizens. No government that relies on the rigid control of information and a monopoly of coercive force can ever secure the true allegiance or sustained loyalty of its subjects. Regimes that think they can do so will, at one time or another, discover the essential hollowness of their authority. Extracting obedience, which can be coerced, is not the same as commanding consent, which must be freely given. In this sense, the wellsprings of loyalty that form the basis of citizenship may not differ so much from the psychology of freedom of conscience: both presuppose that the inner beliefs of the sovereign, rights-bearing individual cannot be driven by the devices of coercion. Government is truly legitimate only when consent is freely given.
Jack Rakove 209

163) I knew that it would take something akin to divine intervention before Madison Hemings's statement, even supported as it was by an extensive amount of circumstantial and direct evidence, could be taken as historical fact. That should not be surprising, for assertions of blacks' equal humanity have often been treated as threats to the maintenance of white supremacy.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 241

164) Still, continuing through and long after the end of slavery, presidents either had to confront stories of "miscegenation" or profess to be firmly opposed to interracial love and marriage in general, most famously perhaps with Abraham Lincoln's recoiling form the possibility of interracial marriage in the context of the debates with Stephen Douglas.
Werner Sollors 202

165) Jefferson sold many slaves, but not his mixed-race children. The price of their freedom was instead the denial of their family connections. Jefferson thus fulfilled his promise to their mother, Sally Hemings, but in a way that did not threaten the sensibilities -- or property interests -- of his recognized white family. Madison Hemings remembered that his father "was not in the habit of showing partiality or fatherly affection to us children." Through this casual, day-to-day denial of his fatherhood, Jefferson prepared for the day when his children would leave him.
Peter S. Onuf, "Every Generation Is an ‘Independant Nation’" 169

166) What about the character of the relationship? Was it consensual or coercive? love or rape? or a mutual arrangement that provided both parties with something they wanted (Jefferson with physical gratification and Hemings with privileged status and the promise of emancipation for her children)? The scholarly debate over these questions is sure to be spirited, loaded as they are with heavy racial and ideological freight. The likely longevity of the relationship suggests that it was consensual, though after that tentative conclusion all is pure conjecture for the elemental reason that the historical record is almost completely blank. The one exception is Madison Hemings's testimony, in which he says that "my mother became Mr. Jefferson's concubine," a characterization that leaves the field open for interpretations that run the gamut.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 127

167) It would appear then that the chief audience for the lie about the Carrs was the white Jeffersons themselves.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 146

168) Jefferson's survival is due to many sources, including our fascination with the tangled issue this volume addresses. But the foremost reason why Jefferson still lives surely reflects his association with the principle of equality whose creed he embedded in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, the first of the three achievements memorialized on his tombstone.
Jack Rakove 210

169) What is accomplished by making the answer to a test--that one knows can never be taken--the sole determinant to resolving a historical controversy? It accomplishes the real objective whenever anyone engages in this type of tactic: it effectively takes resolution of the matter off the table, putting it beyond the realm of possibility of an answer. Did Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings have children together? That's just something we can never know.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 243

170) So then, how does all this comport with the revelation of his sexual involvement with Sally Hemings and unwillingness to address it in public? Was the liberal humanist an exploiter of a woman nearly thirty years younger, whom he owned? Or was he a man who found a release from grieving, who consciously chose (for reasons lost to us) not to seek intimacy with a second wife, by transferring feelings of some kind to his deceased wife's half-sister, a woman who bore little resemblance to the African in her heritage? DNA cannot solve this riddle.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 507

171) Only the most important story, the one that was the hardest to believe, was held onto with remarkable tenacity. Because people pass on stories as part of the formation of identity, the account of descent from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings became something very different from tales told around the dinner table or at bedtime to lull children to sleep. Madison Hemings's descendants chose the moments of transmittal carefully. They waited until children were old enough to understand, or until they reached an important transition point, or until their lives intersected with history. For Sarah Hemings Byrd's granddaughter, it was an occasion of both family pride and historical association that impelled her to pass on the story to her granddaughter. It was only when her granddaughter won a history prize in high school, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, that "she mentioned that we were related to the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. She just took a lot of pride in the fact that we got that type of recognition. And she saw a connection there.
Lucia Stanton and Dianne Swann-Wright 177-78

172) Treating Jefferson not as a hypocrite or slacker but as someone grappling with questions he could solve neither intellectually nor morally may help us to think anew about that passage in his writings which disturbs us most: the discourse on racial difference in Query XIV of the Notes on the State of Virginia.
Jack N. Rakove, "Our Jefferson" 220

173) Who in their world would have been worth such a desperate action? The record is quite informative on that point. Jefferson's grandchildren worshiped him and seemed to derive a significant part of their self-image from their connection to him. Thomas Jefferson Randolph described his grandfather, along with his wife and mother, as his "earthly trinity." Ellen Coolidge's letters reveal affection for her grandfather that was similarly unbounded. Such enormous love--coupled with the desire not to have it widely known that their direct blood connection with Jefferson was shared with black people--could easily explain why they would feel obliged to deflect what they perceived as a damaging story onto their Carr relatives. There is nothing in the historical record to suggest they would have been willing to lie about Carr relatives in order to protect Randolph Jefferson, or his sons, or other Jefferson relatives who could not have come close to their grandfather in their eyes.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xii

174) And we should also note that the oral testimony among the slaves is turning out to be rather accurate.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 146

175) This approach was quite convenient for supporters of the status quo. Turning the story of Jefferson and Hemings into an unfathomable mystery that could never be resolved by the tools typically used by historians allows the historical consensus about the basic facts of Jefferson's private life to remain intact, no matter how much nonscientific--that is to say, historical--evidence could be amassed in support of an alternative vision of his private life.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 243

176) Others, of course, ponder whether Jefferson might have loved Sally and whether she loved him. As DNA reveals paternity but not emotion, we most likely will never know. Yet this scenario must appear unlikely given Jefferson's ease in exercising power: Could he have overcome that governing dynamic? Construing love seems entirely the wishful thinking of modern romantics, who reflect the presumption that a virile president's sexual activity is less objectionable if the female is young and can be "made over" (as fiction writers and filmmakers have rendered Sally) into one who is physically appealing and acts from her own volition.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 505

177) This came to pass when Dr. Eugene Foster, a retired professor of pathology, working with scientists at the universities of Oxford, Leicester, and Leiden, devised a test based upon the fact that the Y chromosome in males passes down from father to son virtually intact. Dr. Foster gathered blood from a male-line descendant of Eston Hemings and male-line descendants of Thomas Woodson, whose family believes they are descended from Jefferson. Because Jefferson had no male-line descendants from his union with Martha Jefferson, blood was drawn from male-line descendants of Jefferson's uncle Field Jefferson. With the assumption that Thomas Jefferson was the biological son of Peter Jefferson and that Peter and Field Jefferson were true brothers (that there was no illegitimacy, and they had the same father), their Y chromosomes would have been essentially identical. In order to test the Jefferson family's story that Peter or Samuel Carr fathered the Hemings children, Dr. Foster also drew blood from male-line descendants from the Carr family. The test was perfectly designed to answer the questions raised by the documentary record.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy

178) What draws us to Jefferson--and what most troubles us about him--is that our Jefferson problem embodies the incompatible poles of historical consciousness that Wood identifies. That Jefferson was embedded in a vicious institution that he inherited but had not created goes without saying; that his doubts about it fell far short of what was demanded or morally correct is just as apparent. Yet who better represents the American conviction that the past is something from which we can be liberated--indeed should be liberated--than Jefferson?
Jack N. Rakove 219

179) All of which suggests that the abiding affection for Jefferson out there in that murky collective he championed as "the people" has deep-rooted sources impervious to historical evidence of any sort. If the American past were a gambling casino, everyone who has bet against Brodie . . . [and] Chase-Riboud has eventually lost. There is no reason to believe it will be different this time. And because of this grassroots Jeffersonianism, there will be a steady and strong current to interpret the relationship as a love affair in the Fawn Brodie mode.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 128-29

180) It is not clear, however, why questions about Jefferson's private behavior should be of concern to use as either historians or citizens. Nor is it clear why the evidence from the recent DNA tests should be of any interest to us. . . . But the DNA evidence invalidates what until November had been the only coherent alternate story. Hence we should now be certain beyond any reasonable doubt that Jefferson was the father of Eston and probably Beverly, Harriet, and Madison as well.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 153

181) This sentiment [that Jefferson was "damaged goods"] seems to have been helped along because of the unfortunate fact that the DNA results were released near the approaching zenith of the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. Some felt this was no mere coincidence. It was charged that the results were specifically timed to "help" Clinton, by pointing out at a critical moment that another American president--a beloved and respected one--had had problems of his own with a forbidden woman.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 245

182) Given the custodial nature of the work she did, Sally had to be one of the most visible persons inside the walls of Monticello in all seasons, a servant who understood her role. This being the case, she could never have risen to be Jefferson's "substitute wife," as the most hopeful egalitarians with to believe. Wives are not instructed to masquerade e as domestics. While middle class wives of this period performed tiring household chores, southern plantation wives had servants. Jefferson's feelings toward Sally Hemings, no matter the duration of their physical intimacy, cannot be analogous to marital affection, first because of the work she did, and second, because Jefferson was not open about the relationship. There were eighteenth-century men who loved, had children with, and went on to marry their servants, but Jefferson does not belong in this category.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 3

183) Stories of the Revolution seem to be entirely absent among the descendants of Sally Hemings. Because he considered Thomas Jefferson his actual father, Madison Hemings may have had no need to repeat the traditions that expressed the slave response to paternalism. . . . Every step of the way, Jefferson was supported by his slaves. They made the shoes for his horses, directed the course of his carriages, and kept his silver safe. Their skills and resourcefulness were essential to the safety of someone who was not just a plantation owner in Albemarle County but one of the most important men in Virginia.
Lucia Stanton 149

184) In order to protect the reputation of the family patriarch, some of the white Jeffersons blamed some of the other white Jeffersons for fathering Sally Hemings's children. These things happen in families; for some members, the assigned role is to be the bearer of blame. But blame for what?
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 152

185) In a real sense, the Jefferson-Hemings saga amounts to an American version of the Dreyfus case, in which people have hitched their own individual hopes, fears, and anxieties to a story that was (is) at its most fundamental level really about a man, a woman, and the children they had together in the midst of a devastating social system that the man could have done more to help dismantle.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 241

186) Jefferson's silence preserved the myth of his white family's perfect happiness. Colonization would do the same thing for Virginia. . . . By removing the living evidence of their sexual transgressions and freeing the next generation from the temptations to which they had succumbed, the fathers of Virginia would redeem their republic. The perfect republican families that constituted the commonwealth would no longer be contaminated and corrupted by slavery and the passion it unleashed.
Peter Onuf 170

187) Thomas Jefferson probably had feelings for Sally Hemings, but he did nothing to improve her social position. Behaving as an eighteenth-century man of privilege, he may have acted in such a way that modern Americans find less than wholly moral; but he appears to have, with good reason, kept history in the dark about a relationship he found ways to justify to himself and to his white and not-quite-white families.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 7

188) Yet to say that it was morally impossible for a tender father to betray his children by fathering another set of children was to define the issue in wholly private terms; such behavior would have been a crime against the family--the white family that is. From our vantage point, almost two hundred years later, it may be difficult for us to see it as any crime at all.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 142

189) James Callender may have written the first words specifically about Jefferson and Hemings, but as one who was at Monticello and who was intimately involved with Jefferson and Hemings, Madison Hemings' recollections about his life on the mountain are the Rosetta Stone of this story. As I wrote, I knew that if Madison Hemings was truthful (and every bit of information I found and every avenue I pursued indicated that he was), almost all that had been written about Jefferson's private life and character would have been reexamined. Jefferson the father, Jefferson the grandfather, Jefferson the racist, Jefferson the asexual man of letters--all aspects of him would look different.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 239

190) Given that his sexual feelings remain cloaked in his sentimental prose, how can we remove this verbal screen? DNA has changed the current debate, but it does not explain Jefferson's intellectual approach to sexual behavior. One largely unexamined body of literature -- the eighteenth-century science of physiology -- deserves more attention for the way it sheds light on Jefferson's attitudes toward sentiment, racial difference, and sexual appetite.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 184

191) Suddenly the truth or falsity of the Hemings affair at the conference became irrelevant compared to the undoubted fact that overwhelming numbers of white slaveholders had participated in miscegenation and that, acknowledged or not, many Americans today were living with various degrees of racial mixture. No scholar, even those who found the Jefferson-Hemings liaison implausible, could deny that Jefferson presided over a household in which miscegenation was taking place. Regardless of whether he himself was directly involved, he knew that white relatives or white members of his household of his Monticello staff were having sexual relations with his slaves.
Gordon Wood 26

192) And if perhaps you were Madison Hemings or his brother Eston, you would care for your mother until she died, marry a black woman, raise a family, and tell your children who they were, that is, who their parents were, and their parents before them, and who you wanted them to be. And they would tell their children and their children's children after them, and even though white people would scoff and even say that you were just trying to make yourself into something you were not, one day a scientist would come asking for a sample of your DNA. And it would confirm the story your mother had told you and your father had never acknowledged, except by the ambiguous act of letting you go free.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 156

193) For the better part of the entire month of November 1998, citizens of the United States of America were treated to, and participated in, an intense conversation about race and the history of slavery in America. The publication of the results of DNA tests that bolstered the thesis that the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, had fathered a family of children with Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman on his plantation, presented the perfect occasion to talk about what has happened--was happening--between blacks and whites in America.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 236

194) DNA results have convincingly linked him to Sally Hemings sexually, and yet the cultural context for explaining their liaison remains obscure. Little historical documentation exists to supply answers to the questions that we want answered: Did Jefferson love Hemings? Did Hemings love Jefferson? Was the relationship defined by coercion, affection, or a combination of the two? Was Jefferson a hypocrite or a tormented self-deceiver? Or, did he see his relationship with Hemings from a self-satisfied position as an Enlightenment thinker for whom sex had both a scientific and a sentimental place in the world at Monticello?
Andrew Burstein, “Jefferson's Rationalizations” 183

195) According to Virginia law, Sally Hemings's children were "white." But in Virginia and throughout this country, such statutory attempts at classification have customarily been disregarded in social practice. In this country, more than any other, the governing social principle remains dominant over legal definition.
Winthrop Jordan 49

196) Perhaps it makes little difference whether Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Heming's children or whether it was one of his nephews. In either case, Jefferson kept on his plantation as slaves persons who were his kin. To be sure, their tasks were light, and all of them, as Annette Gordon-Reed has shown, were permitted their freedom at about the time they turned twenty-one. But they were all disinherited. Does it make Jefferson a substantially better man if those children were his nephew's, rather than his own? Is he significantly less implicated in the institution of slavery?
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 152

197) My interest in the results of these tests, and the public reaction to them, was quite high because I had recently published a book about Jefferson and Hemings that was extremely critical of the way American historians had presented this story to the world. I stated flatly that they had mishandled the issue for the more than 150 years they had been writing about it, casting the story as a mere slander against Jefferson's character, supported only by one fuzzy-minded female historian, a black female novelist with an axe to grind, and a black public too irrational to separate fantasy from reality.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 236

198) This romantic scenario could not exist without an image of Sally Hemings as physically appealing and sexually alluring. For this notion to make any sense at all, her beauty would have to elevate her status from slave to romantic partner, replacing real historical evidence with a universalization of human desire. Beauty, however, is culturally constructed, based on changing expectations placed on women's appearance; it is not a universal constant. Today we can imagine (as Hollywood often contrives) an important man falling in love with a woman --any woman --because of her facial features or chemistry. Is it known that Thomas Jefferson was such a man? And yet, since the DNA findings were published, more people have sought to make up for the lack of evidence by suggesting that if Sally was beautiful, or if she resembled Jefferson's late wife, his attraction to her could reasonably be thought a natural heterosexual response. This is an inadequate and ahistorical position. Sexual attraction does not necessarily lead to romantic love: masters did force their slaves to have sex; even white domestic servants often found themselves vulnerable to sexual exploitation -- thirty-eight years of sexual intimacy would not have to mean that the relationship involved respect and mutuality or was devoid of coercion. In Jefferson's time, wives -- let alone slaves -- had no right to deny sex to that man to whom they were legally bound.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 192-93

199) Sex between whites and blacks created, in Douglas Adair's words, "a tangled web of love and hatred, of pride and guilt, of passion and shame." Erotic activity brought white and blacks close together, blurred the distinctions between them, and broke down barriers; but by threatening to close the gap between the free and the enslaved, and producing a group of people whose position was deeply ambiguous, it was also potentially explosive.
Philip Morgan 76

200) Then, a century later, that lie, like the ones before, becomes part of the public record. White cousins whose names otherwise would have been lost to history are now known as scoundrels. Black children are written out of their family, their claim upon it dismissed by history as "the Negroes' pathetic wish for a little pride." And so the lie begun in the family becomes part of the national lie of race, which is itself a kind of truth, a fiction that orders the national life much as the moral impossibility of Jefferson's interracial liaison ordered that of his white kin.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "White Jeffersons" 157

201) It cannot be emphasized enough what a tragedy it is that the answers most likely will never be known, and that they will not be known for any reason that can be called a good one.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 250

202) Madison Hemings described his mother as Jefferson's "concubine." He did not attempt to ennoble the relationship, or suggest in any way that Jefferson loved Sally Hemings. The Jefferson-Hemings puzzle may boil down to something quite conventional. The master of Monticello appears to have looked upon his servant much as the English aristocrat who sought pleasure with a young, fertile, white, technically free but utterly dependent servant in his household. Power, in both cases, was very real. Sally's condition of servitude relative to other slaves, like that of all the Hemings family generally, was mitigated by light skin and the genetic connection to Jefferson's father-in-law. But only a tabloid fascination with amorous possibilities could lead us to conceive of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship as a secret love story, suddenly revealed by forensic detectives.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 5

203) Although the recent DNA test has ruled out both Samuel and his brother Peter Carr as the father of Sally Heming's last son, they nonetheless might have been selected as the scapegoats because they were known to participate in sex across the color line.
Joshua Rothman 104

204) Let us imagine a man. Let us call him Thomas Jefferson. Let us imagine that he evades the truth, or tells a lie, perhaps to save face, perhaps to spare the ones he loves. It is probably both, for the two are in some measure inextricable. He needs his family to love him, and they cannot, he fears, if he appears to them as less than the devoted father he has claimed to be. And in the moment that he evades the truth or tells the lie, if not before, he has made a decision about whose love matters most, about who will receive his tenderest love. And those white children, and their children after, are bound by his lie, or his evasion, and they have to prop it up. It will not stand of itself. There are at the very least the family resemblances of their Hemings kin, and who knows how many half-caught glances and troubling sounds, not to mention the newspapers that just happen to fall to the ground. And there may be the nagging fears that all children have, the uncertainties about the certainty of a father's love. And so the white family imagines or invents a documentary record, fortuitously confirmed in account books that go pop. And they imagine or invent a family confession, the convenient Carrs. And in protecting the reputation of one kinsman, they tar another's.
Jan Ellen Lewis, "The White Jeffersons" 156-57

205) It was difficult to say which part of the hypocrisy was so upsetting. Was it that Jefferson did not practice was he preached or that he preached what he did not practice? If the DNA test had turned out differently, would Jefferson have been more admirable because it would have shown that he made negative comments about race-mixing and stuck to his guns? Would people have breathed a sigh of relief because Jefferson's stated aversion to blacks was thorough, complete . . . and consistent?
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 246

206) If we combine the general understanding of female sexuality with Tissot's strictures, it makes perfect sense that Jefferson remained a sexual being in the years after his wife died--when he was thirty-nine. To suggest moral irregularity in Jefferson's behavior is to apply later standards to a privileged man of the eighteenth century.
Andrew Burstein, “Jefferson in the Flesh” (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 179

207) What is important historically about the Hemings-Jefferson affair is that is has seemed to so many Americans to have mattered. This latter fact, rather than what actually happened between the two persons, still seems to me to constitute the best and proper ground from which to consider disclosures of the present day.
Winthrop Jordan 50

208) The reception of this book at its first appearance was heartening. Historians and members of the conventional wisdom on the subject of Jefferson and Hemings had treated the Hemings family shabbily. That was a step in the right direction. It must be noted, however, that very few reviewers grappled with the role that the doctrine of white supremacy played in all of this. The preferred response was to focus on the carelessness of the historians discussed in the book, bypassing the central question about the source of that carelessness.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xiii

209) Romantic love for Sally Hemings (as love is currently conceived) seems the least likely explanation in our attempt to reconstitute Jefferson's emotional universe. There are two essential reasons why: first, the class basis on which sensibility and the system of slavery rested precludes Jefferson's treatment of Hemings as his romantic peer, and, second, Madison Hemings's description of his mother as Jefferson's "concubine" indicates a powerful distance separating the two.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 192

210) It is still one of the most popular biographies of Jefferson in print; Merrill Peterson in the preface to a new edition of his The Jefferson Image in the American Mind somewhat grudgingly concedes that "no book of the last quarter century has left a more indelible mark on the Jefferson image than Fawn Brodie's."
Peter Nicolaisen 101

211) The historical and literary stories surrounding Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings may have done little more than raise the question whether or not the rumors could now be verified; it is to this question that the DNA debate has made a new contribution. The late historian Nathan Higgins seems to have anticipated this development when he argued ten years ago: "The evidence is circumstantial; we will never get at a truth everyone will accept. Custodians of the Jefferson legacy seek to protect his historical reputation and demand substantial and irrefutable evidence." Yet Higgins continued boldly: "I venture to say that most black people know the rumors are essentially true despite gaps and problems with the evidence." Whether or not Callender's assertion was "actually true," the story was "symbolically true," and for good reason: "Like other legitimizing myths, the Sally Hemings story ties a people to the founding of a nation, reinforcing birthright claims." These claims--and their continued denial--have permeated the discussions about Jefferson and about presidents, sex, and race. Huggins saw in the "desire to merge national and racial identity into a single myth" the reason for the "compelling persistence of the story of Sally Hemings." One wonders what stories will emerge once legitimizing national myths derive not only from Thomas Jefferson but also from Julia Chinn, and not only from Andrew Johnson but also from Dolly, Liz, and Florence? Will a dramatic enlargement of the pool of contenders for highest office, beyond the current confines set by race and sex, also change the nature of political gossip in this country?
Werner Sollors 207

212) We do not have to venerate Thomas Jefferson the man in order to recognize that an adroitness with the English language made him an essential force in extending--if he was not the foremost progenitor behind--America's romantic self-image. Now he is found to have been the most likely progenitor of a diverse family of Americans as well. What does this say about Jefferson? Can we avoid choosing to like or dislike him?
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 499

213) During the lifetimes of Jefferson and his contemporaries, the statesman's relationship with Sally Hemings was notorious, simultaneously well known and infamous. As historians took control of the story, they almost universally accepted the denials of the Jefferson family and crafted fictions about the social worlds of the antebellum South.
Joshua Rothman 108

214) When the results of the DNA tests were announced and they were completely in line with the information presented in my book, the question was posed quite starkly for me and many others: What do we think of Jefferson now? All American citizens, indeed any citizen of the world, who sees himself or herself as having a stake in Jefferson in any way will have to ask that question. One could begin to see the contours of this process taking shape in the media reporting on the DNA results. Reporters, pundits, and newspaper editorialists weighed in on the question as if it were a matter of the gravest concern. If Jefferson's stock had declined in the historical community because of his involvement in slavery and some of his racist writings, the overwhelming evidence that he engaged in miscegenation seemed an occasion to argue even more strongly that he was damaged goods.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 245

215) Andrew Johnson was publicly accused of having a colored concubine.
Werner Sollors, "Presidents, Race, and Sea" 202

216) If some southern patriarchs loved and lived openly with women they owned, and others plainly raped their slaves, what should be the moral and emotional margins within which Jefferson's actions are to be categorized? This remains a difficult problem for scholars.
Andrew Burstein, "The Seductions" 504

217) We have no record of the Sally Hemings-Thomas Jefferson affair. But what we do know about slavery and the sexual exploitation of black women under that system makes it easy to believe that the Hemings-Jefferson relationship was exploitative, with a powerful white man taking advantage of a powerless black female. Yet this may not have been the case. It is also possible that both parties had something to gain from the relationship. Hemings, for instance, may have used sex to get her children's freedom. Harriet Jacobs did this when she took a lover outside her master's household.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 190

218) I also knew that DNA evidence would be persuasive to many of those in the historical community who had been doubters. Having stated so adamantly that the historiography on Jefferson and Hemings was flawed, and having come to the conclusion in my own mind that the relationship probably existed, I found myself somewhat unprepared to face the reality of a world without serious opposition to my beliefs. A genetic test, well in advance of the time I thought it possible, forced the issue before I had time to sort through all the possible ramifications of an historically accepted Jefferson-Hemings relationship. I would also be forced to think more clearly about what I thought of the two people at the heart of this controversy.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 244

219) In a case like this, that obligation becomes all the more incumbent because we run the risk of assigning to the past a responsibility we would not, and in fact do not, demand of ourselves in the present. Its acts ironically become easier to judge than our own; ours become easier to explain because we can readily identify all the constraints under which we labor, including those that lead us to act in less moral ways than the better angels of our nature might demand. Arguably the impulse to judge the paste reverses the moral order of things. The moral judgments that matter most are those we need to make of ourselves, because we still face the option of choice--a luxury the past has lost. Judging the past, again, is actually quite easy; explaining it is far more difficult.
Jack Rakove 227

220) Though Jefferson frowned on prostitution and extramarital sex that was flaunted, he did not, in his ample correspondence, construe liaisons that were kept discreet as morally objectionable. For him, everything seemed to hinge on discretion. In the society in which he traveled, well-bred women who were not taken unfair advantage of were fair game. Admittedly, we know less of how he felt about socially unequal pairings. Nevertheless, it seems entirely relevant that Jefferson's generation considered the female body to be an inferior body. It was easily stimulated and sexualized. "Normal" femininity was, in essence, victimhood, and "normal" masculinity was marked by sexual aggressiveness, if it were not tempered by conscience.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 6

221) Some with imaginations less restrained than Mrs. Brodie's have suggested that Jefferson had Sally accompany his daughter to Europe so that he might consummate his passion for the slave girl. Since Sally was fourteen or fifteen when she arrived in France in 1787 and Jefferson had not seen her form more than three years, one is asked to believe that even amid the caresses of the cultivated belles of Paris he had pined for an ignorant serving girl whose eleven- or twelve-year-old charms were indelibly burnt into his brain. We cannot even suppose that this juvenile paramour was extraordinarily precocious.
Alf J. Mapp Jr.

222) In a real sense, the Jefferson-Hemings saga amounts to an American version of the Dreyfus case, in which people have hitched their own individual hopes, fears, and anxieties to a story that was (is) at its most fundamental level really about a man, a woman, and the children they had together in the midst of a devastating social system that the man could have done more to help dismantle.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 241

223) Many questions remain to be answered about the character of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship and its larger historical significance. Satisfactory answers to all of them may never be gained, given the incomplete nature of the evidence. But the unknown should not obscure the known. Serious doubt about the existence and duration of the relationship and about Jefferson's paternity of Hemings's six children can no longer be reasonably sustained.
Fraser D. Neiman 210

224) It is not just that his intimate relationship with an attractive mulatto slave contradicted his public position on the separation of the races. One could, after all, interpret the relationship as a genuine love affair, and in that sense, as clinching evidence that, whatever his head told him about black inferiority, his heart emphatically denied. This, in fact, is the main thrust of the Brodie interpretation and the major reason for its seductive appeal. The jarring evidence that greatly complicates the romantic heart-over-head version of the story is Jefferson's posture toward the human consequences of his union with Sally Hemings. He never acknowledged his paternity of her children, and for good reason.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 130

225) Make no mistake, DNA is important, but it is not all we have to go on. It is not all we should go on. The scientific evidence necessarily must be read along with the existing historical evidence. As it turned out, science and history complement one another perfectly, because the results of the test are exactly in line with the information presented in this book. No one who read the book closely before the test results were announced should have been surprised by how it all turned out.
Annette Gordon-Reed "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) x

226) To be a person is to have a story. To not be allowed a story is to be marked for obscurity and oppression. African Americans and women certainly know this, having so lately prevailed in a proud insistence that history must include their stories. Stories are the great means of effective knowledge of human life. Knowing them, and being able to follow them or even anticipate their unfolding, is an essential prerequisite to engaging in social action. Historians therefore recognize that carefully attending to the stories past people told and enacted is one powerful way to gain understanding of those past people.
Rhys Isaac 114

227) For those who think that the hypothesis of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and Hemings is false on other grounds, the visit-conception coincidence is unremarkable and hence meaningless. For those who suspect that the hypothesis is true, the coincidence points to a causal connection between Jefferson's visits and Hemings's conceptions. Behind these conflicting assessments lurk differing guesses about the probability that the visit-conception coincidence would have arisen in the absence of a causal link. This note provides a reliable numerical estimate of that probability. It also outlines a quantitative means of combining that estimate with other evidence to produce an overall assessment of the probability that Jefferson fathered all of Hemings's children.
Fraser D. Neiman 200

228) To reiterate, I don't believe that Jefferson can have experienced anything like "horror" at the thought of master-slave miscegenous relationships. But I think that such relationships, both as a general feature of Virginian society and as affecting his own family, must have been, at the very least, a source of serious embarrassment to him, and probably also of shame and guilt. Thomas Jefferson was a cultivated and travelled gentleman of his time. He mingled easily with the French nobility and cultural elite. Although he detested England, in the abstract, he had friendly relations with several members of the English radical elite. Although he was suspicious of the New England elite, his closets friends, during his Paris years, were John and Abigail Adams. Knowing all these people well, Jefferson had to know what they would think of the Jefferson-Wayles-Hemings pattern of family relations, if they knew of it.
Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Long Affair 24

229) Throughout much of American history many whites objected strenuously to the slightest suggestion of miscegenation between Jefferson and his slaves. Not only did whites depict Jefferson as too morally superior for such behavior, but, as Werner Sollors points out, racial mixing of all sorts was regarded with abhorrence. Many of us tend to forget that as late as 1966 nineteen states still forbade interracial marriages. Who can forget President Harry Truman's vulgar query: "Would you want your daughter to marry a Negro?" But that world is disappearing, and our current response to the Jefferson-Hemings relationship and the DNA findings suggests that a new world is trying to emerge. The recent DNA findings by themselves are not the cause of these changes in our perspective on Jefferson. Such reassessments have been in the works for some time; indeed, they are responses to major changes in American race relations that have been underway for the past half-century or so.
Gordon S. Wood, "The Ghosts of Monticello" 25

230) Despite the difficulties of disentangling truth from fiction, this essay will attempt to explore the incidence and character of interracial sex in the Chesapeake region. It will tell stories of individuals, not just for the human interest that such tales convey but because truth of ten resides in the intimate details of singular lives.
Philip D. Morgan 55

231) As a reader of medical treatise who corresponded frequently with medical professionals, Jefferson was familiar with the role of sex in maintaining a healthy balance of the body's internal forces. If sex was part of a regiment of self-control, it was necessary to understand it in order to enjoy a productive life. Semen was thought to support one's nervous constitution, whereas immoderate sexual activity weakened the nerves over time and led to a dangerous melancholy. Jefferson's taking of Sally Hemings as a concubine would have offered him a nearby sexual outlet, fulfilling Dr. Tissot's urgent call for accomplished, intellectual men to forego the wasteful activity of masturbation. The Swiss medical thinker allowed Jefferson to further justify the correctness of his course, in insisting that spermatic fluid was as healthy for the female who received it as it was unhealthy for the man who wasted it through masturbation. His servant's exclusive attention to him would also have protected Jefferson against venereal disease, which was quite prevalent in his time. Thus, their monogamy did not have to represent a loving commitment, but rather Hemings's implicit agreement to safeguard her master's sexual health.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 4-5

232) The question of Jefferson's relationship to Sally Hemings is relevant to the general subject matter of this book. It is relevant because that relationship is an important part of Jefferson's relation to the institution of slavery, and because that, in turn, is relevant to Jefferson's relation to the French Revolution.
Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Long Affair 23

233) DSW: What we called the Getting Word Gathering provided an opportunity to end the silence before it was too late. When this project began I did not know that one of our tasks would be to encourage the transmission of information through oral stories. The telling of stories--the speaking of things and events--was so much a part of African American experience, there should have been no need to promote it. There was. Decades of disbelief and unwelcoming reception had produced a righteous silence that threatened the magic and charm of black orality. The Gathering would give descendants a chance to speak their ancestors back into existence in the same way the Bible says that God spoke the world into being.
Stanton and Wright 180

234) It is true that we do not and will never have the details of what went on between Jefferson and Hemings and their children. This does not mean that we have nothing to go on. Perhaps the most persistent, and ultimately damaging, feature of the original debate over whether the relationship existed at all was the tight rein placed upon the historical imagination. One was simply not to let one's mind wander too freely over the matter. Brainstorming, drawing reasonable inferences from actions, attempting to piece together a plausible view of the matter were shunted into the category of illegitimate speculation, as great an offense as outright lying. Yet, a good amount of history is necessarily based upon just this sort of mythology. Why the hesitancy about applying it to the Jefferson and Hemings relationship?
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 251

235) Since DNA linked "a Jefferson" to descendants of the biracial Sally Hemings in 1998, most historians --"indeed, most Americans, white and black--have come to accept that Thomas Jefferson was sexually intimate with his house servant, a woman he legally owned. Some assert, without real evidence, that the third president "loved" Hemings in the modern sense of the term; others insist, with no more evidence, that it is more accurate to describe what took place as rape. But, until now, now one interested in the truth underlying this historic mystery has studied Jefferson's behavior with the sexual attitudes of his generation in mind or, for that matter, with proper regard to the standards of morality he and his peers recognized.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 1

236) Suffice it to say for the moment that anyone who imagines Jefferson at this time turning away from the beautiful and accomplished Maria Cosway because of his absorption in Sally is not only making a claim that would be laughed out at court for lack of sufficient evidence but one totally inconsistent with Jefferson's character, taste, and temperament as exhibited in other circumstances.
Alf J. Mapp Jr.

237) There is no question that there is some anxiety about this prospect. The image of Jefferson and Hemings as multicultural heroes is fake. In the end, it will probably be left to novelists, playwrights, and poets, unencumbered by the need for footnotes, to get at the ultimate meaning of this story. That effort, done in the right way, will yield universal truths as important and real as any to be found in history books.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 251

238) The relationship between Jefferson and Hemings, as with all slaveowner-slave relationships, was ultimately a forced embrace. Jefferson owned and controlled Sally Hemings. Sexual access to slave women was one of the prerogatives of ownership. The word used by Madison Hemings (as well as by Isaac Jefferson and James Callender) to describe his mother (and also his grandmother) was concubine, which in Samuel Johnson's eighteenth-century dictionary was defined as "a woman kept in fornication." The word means literally to lie together. When John Adams heard the allegation of Jefferson's liaison with a slave woman, he was not surprised, identifying it "as a natural and almost unavoidable consequence of that foul contagion in the human character--Negro slavery." Modern notions of romance--seeing Hemings and Jefferson as America's premier biracial couple--should not be projected onto unions born of trauma, dependence, and constraint.
Philip D. Morgan 75

239) In this time, on the threshold of the twenty-first century, we are now engaged in telling more openly than at any time since the abolition movement a story of the hash injustices and the perpetual atrocities of the system of race slavery. Now is therefore a time when we both face up to the bitter legacies and take pride in the steps already made toward redressing them with provisions for interracial equality and freedom.
Rhys Isaac 124

240) My point here is that in the study of the subaltern, too much emphasis can be placed on overt forms of resistance." How can we more fruitfully understand [Harriett] Jacobs's strategies of resistance to both slavery and sexual exploitation? Jacobs, for example, simultaneously resisted and accommodated herself to the sexual blandishments of white men. She spurned the sleazy importuning of Dr. Flint and was seduced by the overtures of Mr. Sands. Jacobs thus exercised the full range of her sexual agency as a female slave. Sally Hemings may have done the same thing with Thomas Jefferson
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 190

241) Make no mistake, DNA is important, but it is not all we have to go on. It is not all we should goon. The scientific evidence necessarily must be read along with the existing historical evidence. As it turned out, science and history complement one another perfectly, because the results of the test are exactly in line with the information presented in this book. No one who read the book closely before the test results were announced should have been surprised by how it all turned out.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) x

242) As recently as 1992, when Bill Clinton ran for office, he had to declare, "Listen, I don't have a black baby."
Werner Sollors, "Presidents, Race, and Sea" 206

243) We should also ask whether stereotypes about black women have any useful role to play in considering this issue. The casual implication that Sally Hemings's children may have been fathered by different men is not base upon anything we presently know about the social situation at Monticello. It is more likely a product of long-held beliefs about black women's natural licentiousness and the looseness of the black family structure. Resort to generalizations about black women, slavery, and the black family is unnecessary in this case. We know a great deal about slave life at Monticello, and the Hemings family in particular. Whatever may have been going on at other plantations, the evidence indicates, that most of the enslaved men and women there maintained stable bonds and families. This is certainly the case with the Hemingses. Even in the Randolph and Coolidge stories about the Carr brothers, Sally Hemings was portrayed as being the long-term mistress of one man who had fathered all her children. The suggestions about multiple fathers--in a way that is very telling and depressing--comes from current-day commentators.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xii

244) The evidentiary power of the DNA study resides in the reliable statistical assessment of the rarity of the Jefferson Y-chromosome variant or haplotype in populations of males sampled around the globe.
Fraser D. Neiman 199

245) Jefferson's conviction that women were, by their sensible nature, designed to give generously tends to support what otherwise appears as self-serving activities. In the medicalized culture of sensibility, women were understood to possess a sweet empathy that supported their maternal duties. They were not meant to strain themselves under great intellectual challenges, or their delicate bodies would lose their nurturing capacity. Ambiguously gendered activities disrupted women's bodily functions, moral system, and reproductive responsibilities at once. Ideal womanhood was soft and alluring; female competence was meant to resist becoming political or upsetting the male regime. Jefferson's seeming inattentiveness to his wife's difficulties as a child-bearer, his impregnation of her six times in ten years, leading to her death, may be viewed in the context of his belief in woman's natural role. Such a belief -- that women served as vessels for natural male ardor -- would have made concubinage an acceptable outlet for him.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson's Rationalizations" 188-89

246) To my knowledge, the only occasion when a close friend confronted him personally on his capacity for denial came in I804. On that occasion, Abigail Adams refused to accept his plea of innocence and ignorance concerning James Callender's scurrilous role in libeling her husband during the presidential campaign of 1800."Faithfull are the wounds of a Friend," she snapped back at Jefferson, then observed that Callender's subsequent revelations of the Sally Hemings affair, whether true or not, constituted something between divine retribution and poetic justice.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 132

247) A black man and former slave's version of life at Monticello was squarely pitted against not only the cult of Jefferson, but also the separate and distinct cult of the Jefferson scholar. It is easy to understand what happened when Madison Hemings's memoir was rediscovered in the 1950s and when Fawn Brodie published it in its entirety in 1974. The document, standing by itself, was more than just a challenge to a particular conception of Jefferson; it had to have been perceived as a challenge to a valid historical document. It could not have gone unnoticed that a white woman was using the words of a black man to say that a group of white males did not know what they were talking about. Two members of relatively powerless groups were contending for power in an arena from which their kind had been largely excluded.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 239

248) Public scandals surrounding miscegenation thus had their early twentieth-century equivalent in Theodore Roosevelt's famous lunch with Booker T. Washington in the White House on October 18, 1901. On the surface this appears harmless enough, but it caused a public stir against interracial meals and what they seemed to stand for. Many white voices professed "horror that a white gentleman can entertain a colored one at his table."
Werner Sollors, "Presidents, Race, and Sea" 204

249) Jefferson has become the great American Everyman, less important for what he said and did when he walked the earth from I743 to 1826 than for the meanings we can project onto him.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 136

250) Wise counselors have protested my use of the terms marriage and wife (even secret marriage or secret wife) for this enduring, known, enforced, and observed relationship. I respect their objections, but I am not persuaded, for instance, to prefer the term concubine. (That is the word James Callender applied in derision in 1802; it reappears in the newspaper report of the story told by Sally's son, Madison Hemings, that was published in Ohio in 1873.) The term mistress has usually been applied to a second woman kept away from a gentleman's residence. The word wife historically has a broad scope--in the Teutonic languages it connotes "woman" and by extension, female of the species; in the King James Bible it is the word used to describe the handmaiden Hagar, whom Abram took to bed.
Rhys Isaac 120

251) The cultural environment Jefferson thrived in strongly suggests that he did not regard a sexual relationship with his house servant as immoral; his reserve, his unruffled manner, his famed lack of an irritable temper, and his careful accounting of everyday life through lists, catalogs, and record-keeping, show that, in spite of his accrued debts, he could rationalize that he was a man of good order and good sense, seeking to extend his life. Tissot's answer to everything was to act moderately--some sex, but not an excessive amount.
Andrew Burstein, "Jefferson in the Flesh" (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 180

252) [Historian Joseph] Ellis has been compelled to abandon this position in light of the recent DNA discoveries. But his earlier commitment to this line of argument illustrates the power of denial in the historical profession and an anxiety about interracial sex in the general public. Finally, what the Jefferson-Hemings affair shows is the difficulty some white Americans have in dealing with their own racial heritage, which may or may not include a dark-skinned ancestor.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 196

253) In practically every article, news report, or interview that dealt with the DNA test results in any depth the word hypocrisy appeared as a matter of course. Jefferson was denounced as a "hypocrite." This sentiment was voiced and written with a great amount of passion, passion that probably said more about those who made the charge than about Jefferson himself.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 245

254) This was particularly true in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, when the mythology that upper-class white men were averse to black "trim" (sex) was part of the common-sense ideology to which white Americans hypocritically subscribed. I reference white American hypocrisy here because it speaks to the twin processes of denial and attraction that have informed white American attitudes about the subject of interracial sex.
Clarence Walker, "Denial Is Not a River in Egypt" 189

255) Jefferson's psychology was fundamentally different from ours. We cannot expect to understand his impulses by engaging with terms and concepts comfortable to the twenty-first century. Neither race nor sex was thought of precisely as we imagine; nor equality, nor virility. Race and social justice occupied a place within a "natural order" we no longer acknowledge, and sex occupied a place within a therapeutic vocabulary of health, moderation, and harmony from which we are detached. Of course, that did not make racial science, for all its rigidity, less anxious; or sexual desire, for all its ambiguity, less lustful.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 1

256) So for both black and white Americans, Jefferson, even in his relationship with Sally Hemings, is continuing to play the symbolic role in American life that he has always played. As Merrill Peterson told us decades ago, the image of Jefferson in American culture has always been "a sensitive reflector . . . of America's troubled search for the image of itself." He remains a touchstone, a measure of what we Americans are or where we are going. No figure in our history has embodied so much of our heritage and so many of our hopes. It is not surprising therefore that he should now have become a new symbol for our multicultural and multiracial society.
Gordon S. Wood, "The Ghosts of Monticello" 28-29

257) What if instead of writing to Henry Randall to find out who Madison Hemings's father was, James Parton had put that question to Madison Hemings himself? There was a moment when a historian had the chance to rise above the prejudices of the day and let curiosity and open-mindedness, the lifeblood of history, give him the courage to take a chance.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 250

258) Presidential relations across the color line have been viewed as particularly reprehensible and scandalous in more than one of Jefferson's successors. Rumor had it that President John Tyler had an illegitimate mixed-race daughter.
Werner Sollors 202

259) Tissot gave much of his attention to men of letters who strained their bodily systems through overwork, intense thought, and too much time spent at a desk. He recommended a regimen of physical exercise, a semi-vegetarian diet, and regular sexual activity with a healthy, attractive, and fruitful female. A widower, as Jefferson was, thus had the doctor's approval to take care of his physical needs in the manner that men of Jefferson's class ordinarily availed themselves of, so that they did not waste their seed through the unprofitable exertion of masturbation.
Andrew Burstein, “Jefferson in the Flesh” (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 179

260) It is clear from the known part of the pattern of Jefferson's conduct towards Sally Hemings that he did not have the horror of miscegenous relations between master and slave that his biographers ascribe to him. He had indeed, like other white Southerners, a lively--and punitive--horror of miscegenation between black men and white women. But from the fact that Sally Hemings was acceptable as a member of his household, we have to infer that he felt no horror at the idea of miscegenation between white masters and black female slaves. So if he felt comfortable with what John Wayles had done, with his female property, why should he not do the equivalent himself, and sleep with Sally Hemings?
Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Long Affair 22

261) With Hemings, Jefferson's life is a much more complicated business. Monticello, the place of Jefferson's serene refuge--the one thing that seemed sure, safe, and understandable--looks vastly different, no doubt an almost unimaginable place to some. It was a place where a man's two families (of different races and vastly different social status) lived together in what must have been some version of harmony that he virtually willed into existence. Who was this man?
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' " 240

262) Jefferson's place in American history is secured by multiple guidewires. When American citizens visit Monticello or the Jefferson Memorial, when they gaze up at his image on Mount Rushmore or look down at his profile on the nickel, several streams of thoughtful admiration run together in their minds and flow past the recent revelations about his private life without much interruption. Moreover, at least based on my own experience as a teacher and public lecturer, a majority of ordinary Americans has already assimilated the "Tom and Sally" story. Fawn Brodie's book on the subject received a good deal of criticism from scholars, but it was a huge best-seller, as were the novels of Barbara Chase-Riboud. More recently, the Merchant and Ivory film Jefferson in Paris, also endorsed the liaison. At the level of popular opinion, the DNA revelations constitute old news.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 128

263) Whereas the combination of race and sex in the South routinely caused serious social dysfunction, the particular case of Thomas Jefferson and the three-quarters white Sally Hemings was very likely something different. In legal terms she may have been his property, but to him, she was not a generic black woman; she was, instead, part of a socially subordinate netherworld of parallel family, the daughter of Jefferson's father-in-law, John Wayles. She laced a public identity, that is, she laced and publicly construed "honor." In the private sphere of the extended, largely self-sufficient family at Monticello, her rights and feelings carried an indeterminate but not inconsequential weight.
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 2

264) This sketch of patterns of interracial sex in the early Chesapeake and wider Atlantic world helps establish the context for understanding Thomas Jefferson's relationship with Sally Hemings. Interracial sex took many forms in British America. In those cases where the male partner was white and the female black--the typical pattern for most of the eighteenth century--it ranged from deep commitment on the part of the white man to his black partner and mulatto children to the most outrageous forms of sexual abuse. Jefferson's behavior probably fell somewhere in the middle. It makes little sense to assert that Jefferson raped Sally or that their relationship was the functional equivalent of a loving marriage. A more nuanced picture, as evident in many of the relationships previously described, is possible.
Philip D. Morgan 74-75

265) At the most fundamental level we now must face the question of how to accommodate the new knowledge into Jefferson's biography. There is no way to be a little bit pregnant on this score. The declaration of the new truths that must be stated are simple, and yet breathtaking, when one considers how long and hard they have been resisted over these many years. There is no doubt that seeing these words in print will rattle some to their cores.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 252

266) That was then. In the original edition I went on to speculate that the likelihood of a Jefferson-Hemings liaison was remote, offering several plausible readings of the indirect evidence (i.e., Jefferson's voice in his letters to women; the reasons his enemies doubted the charges) to support my conjecture. No matter how plausible my interpretation, it turns out to have been dead wrong.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Appendix" (in American Sphinx) 366

267) Let us, then, adjust our expectations from Jefferson to coincide with the mental processes common to sexually active intellectuals of his day. If he accepted that the sedentary life was destructive of health, and that all seminal emission was as Tissot described, "a very violent action, which borders upon convulsion, and which thereby surprisingly weakens, and prejudices the whole nervous system," he would also have seen masturbation as the most "pernicious," as well as embarrassing, form of sexual gratification. In contrast, sex with a healthy, eye-catching female was productive of "joy," which "aids digestion, animates circulation," and "restores strength." It seems pertinent to add that Sally Hemings was considered physically attractive, and Tissot and his colleagues judged that sexual relations with a beautiful woman "does not exhaust so much as with an ugly woman."
Andrew Burstein, "Sexual Imagination" 5

268) The questions addressed today primarily concern the implications of the affair. What does the liaison between Jefferson and Sally Hemings mean for our understanding of the man Thomas Jefferson, and how does it affect the accomplishments he has generally been credited with? Given the little we know about her, how do we view Sally Hemings's role in the relationship, and how do we come to understand her as an individual living out her life in bondage? What, if any, are the consequences the affair has for an evaluation of interracial relationships as they existed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenths centuries? Finally, does the story and the way in which it has been transmitted have any bearing on the problem of race as it is perceived today?
Peter Nicolaisen 99-100

269) This is a difficult business because, at some level, when thinking about the matter, one has to decide just what Jefferson did with or to Hemings. While the Hemings affair may make Jefferson more accessible in some respects, it necessarily stirs complicated feelings. Was he a rapist? Could there have been love between the two of them? Should that matter to us? It matters now, it always has, and probably always will.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 247

270) In Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History, the late Fawn M. Brodie suggested that, when Jefferson traveled through France and Germany and eight times described soil as mulatto in his twenty-five sheets of notes, he was not referring, as he labeled the appropriate column of his charts, to yellowish soil in the hills and valleys he traveled through but was really thinking of the contours of Sally's body. And when he was taking notes on a new kind of mold-board plow that he invented shortly after the journey, he was really thinking of plowing the fertile Sally as soon as he returned to Paris. But mulatto is a precise term describing yellowish-brown soil. And when Jefferson used the term mulatto to describe soil during his French travels, Sally was still on a ship with Polly, accompanying her to France. If he had ever noticed her or remembered her at all, Sally had been only ten years old when Jefferson last visited Monticello hurriedly in 1784 to pack James Hemings off to France with him. She was only eight when Jefferson had last resided at Monticello and was mourning his wife's death. Unless Brodie was suggesting that Jefferson consoled himself by having an affair with an eight-year-old child, the whole chain of suppositions is preposterous.
Willard Sterne Randall 476

271) As a widely traveled intellectual, Jefferson was able to compare cultures on various levels. In the matter of sexual mores, the one-time minister to France alluded often to differences in outlook between the open-minded French and virtue-proclaiming Americans. He allowed the French their indulgences but sought to steer young American men away from early exposure to sex --particularly with prostitutes.
Andrew Burstein, “Jefferson in the Flesh” (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 176

272) Unlike most who passed for white, who closed the door on their past and created new family histories, Eston Hemings risked exposure by adopting this well-known surname and sustaining the memory of his tie to Jefferson. This seems to indicate a strong identification with the man he knew as his father. They shared a physical appearance and unusual stature, mastery of the violin, and the tunes to go with it.
Stanton and Wright 174

273) Can he be the symbol of the spirit of America if he has been, in some sense, blackened by Sally Hemings?
Annette Gordon-Reed, "The Memories" 246

274) Most Americans, regardless of their color or sexual persuasion, do not handle interracial sex easily. Despite all the progress made in race relations over the past fifty years, interracial sex is still a flashpoint of unease and disquiet. This is particularly true when the relationship involves blacks and whites. A Knight-Ridder poll taken in May 1997 revealed that although the people surveyed were for the most part favorably disposed toward intermarriage, "fully 3 in 10 respondents opposed marriage between blacks and whites." The old query, "How would you like to have your daughter marry one?" may not be voiced as publicly as it once was, but it continues to play a powerful role in the way Americans, black and white, choose their mates. This issue also colors the way we look at the American past.
Clarence Walker 187

275) His ostensible transgression was not simply in having had sex but in being a different sort of man than his public image suggested. In the case of his attraction to his slave, the issue was her low social station along with her imagined color--the former element tends to get lost in most discussions of the subject: he "stooped" to conquer. Women's availability, regardless of class distinctions, was rooted in their passionate nature. Every female needed to work at . . . modesty, though little was expected of the lower classes, and slaves (especially female) were routinely sexualized.
Andrew Burstein, “Jefferson in the Flesh” (in Seeing Jefferson Anew) 177

276) American politics has been permeated by gossip that would seem calculated to connect presidents with the other--the nonpresidential--sex and, surprisingly often, the nonpresidential race. Such gossip may be presented as deeply shocking, upsetting, and unique, even when expressed repeatedly or appearing in the guise of "scientifically proven," but it has been part of the din of American democracy. Could it be a stabilizing element that, while it seems to challenge positions of political power (though never too much), actually makes more palatable the exclusion from the highest office of those social groups who are, by gossip, symbolically connected to the sites of power, if only in personal liaisons?
Werner Sollors 200

277) How could descendants of slaves be expected to receive the news that a Founding Father's long-term sexual relationship with a slave would cause more expressed disappointment than his buying, selling, and making gifts of slaves? We know that Jefferson made women clean his house, cook his meals, and look after his children. Women harvested his crops while he sat writing letters and thinking great thoughts. When he died penniless, the majority of his female slaves were scattered to the four winds, losing family, home, and friends. All these actions--all these things done to black women--have been taken in and washed clean of their import for those who style themselves as the keepers of the Jefferson flame.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 246

278) Still, continuing through and long after the end of slavery, presidents either had to confront stories of "miscegenation" or profess to be firmly opposed to interracial love and marriage in general, most famously perhaps with Abraham Lincoln's recoiling form the possibility of interracial marriage in the context of the debates with Stephen Douglas.
Werner Sollors, "Presidents, Race, and Sea" 202

279) The question historians have to ask is: What precisely is it we do, or are we supposed to do, in writing about a heavily symbolic figure like Jefferson, and what is the relationship of what we do to the larger popular culture? We are just beginning to assess the implications of these latest DNA findings and the Hemings relationship for our understanding of Jefferson and his times.
Gordon S. Wood, "The Ghosts of Monticello" 32

280) The destruction of the Carr story is no mere sidelight. It is crucial. When Jefferson relatives, in the position to know the answer, had the chance to say who fathered Sally Hemings's children, they didn't simply state that it was someone else. They went out of their way to violate tow strong taboos. They named a white man as the father of a black woman's children. Even more amazingly, they named two of their relatives as the fathers.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xi

281) As far as most white Virginians were concerned, Jefferson acted with propriety in his liaison with Sally Hemings, and when Callender published his information and directly challenged Jefferson before the nation, he violated an unwritten cultural rule by bringing the story out of the realm of gossip. If people were at all shocked by Callender's reports, the fact that the story appeared in the newspaper was probably at least as significant as the story itself.
Joshua Rothman, "Social Knowledge"

282) Readers of this volume, aided by the results of the DNA tests, can even more clearly consider this book for what it was primarily intended to be: an analysis of how and why a body of scholarship went awry. The answers to those questions go a long way toward explaining where we have been in this country and where we are now. They also suggest how we might fashion a better future together--a future in complete opposition to the values revealed by the historiography analyzed in this book. For these reasons, the tale of how the Jefferson and Hemings story unfolded in the pages of history can never be told (and wondered at) enough.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xiii

283) A lot of evidence tells us--DNA now clinching it--that Sally Hemings faithfully bore Thomas Jefferson's children and his children only. She loved him probably, and he her. We cannot really know, although we do know that some of her grandchildren told it as part of their own story. Probably, for the relationship to have been so long lasting in the face of the world's mocking prurience, he loved her.
Rhys Isaac 119

284) What is also troubling is that arguments base upon the impossibility of the truth of this story have required the systematic dismissal of the words of the black people who spoke in this matter--Madison Hemings, the son of Sally Hemings, and Israel Jefferson, a former slave who also resided at Monticello--as though their testimony was worth some fraction of that of whites. This process has worked over the years because historians have been able to rely upon widely held prejudices about the people who were slaves in this country.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Preface" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xviii

285) As I see it, the most salient feature in this piece of scholarly terrain is Jefferson's extraordinary capacity for denial. . . . One could go on, but the abiding pattern is clear. Jefferson created an interior world constructed out of his own ideals into which he retreated whenever those ideals collided with reality.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 131

286) This came to pass when Dr. Eugene Foster, a retired professor of pathology, working with scientists at the universities of Oxford, Leicester, and Leiden, devised a test based upon the fact that the Y chromosome in males passes down from father to son virtually intact. Dr. Foster gathered blood from a male-line descendant of Eston Hemings and male-line descendants of Thomas Woodson, whose family believes they are descended from Jefferson. Because Jefferson had no male-line descendants from his union with Martha Jefferson, blood was drawn from male-line descendants of Jefferson's uncle Field Jefferson. With the assumption that Thomas Jefferson was the biological son of Peter Jefferson and that Peter and Field Jefferson were true brothers (that there was no illegitimacy, and they had the same father), their Y chromosomes would have been essentially identical. In order to test the Jefferson family's story that Peter or Samuel Carr fathered the Hemings children, Dr. Foster also drew blood from male-line descendants from the Carr family. The test was perfectly designed to answer the questions raised by the documentary record.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Author's Note" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) ix

287) Finally, although interracial sex in the early national Chesapeake was occasionally open, it more often involved covert and concealed intimacies--certainly much more so than in Jamaica or the Carolinas. In the Chesapeake community ideals seem often at odds with some individuals' practice. Jefferson may have had his own reasons for reticence, but he was hardly unusual for his place and times.
Philip D. Morgan 77

288) I approach this task as a law professor and lawyer looking at how professionals in other disciplines--historians and, to a lesser extent, journalists--analyze and use items of evidence and the concept of proof. My look at the writing on this subject suggests that some scholars and commentators, when confronting the Jefferson-Hemings controversy, often use terms or phrases typically associated with the law, such as evidence, proof, and burden of proof, as a way of demonstrating the serious nature of the enterprise in which they are engaged. However, there seems to be some confusion about what those terms and phrases actually mean and how they are most effectively and fairly used.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "Preface" (in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy) xix

289) After publication of White over Black, I met and heard from many people who thought I must be "black," while all my life I had been regarded and treated as "white." "In order to understand your book," one correspondent wrote, "I need to know whether you are white or black." Perhaps the Jefferson-Hemings affair may best be considered in light of such tragically destructive confusions. Since Jefferson throughout his life was temperamentally susceptible to such clashes of logic--most obviously as a slaveholder and advocate of human equality--he may have sensed that with Sally Hemings he was entering a separate and private world where his customary dichotomizing rules did not apply. Here was space in which he could find a separate kind of comfort because the prevailing rules were not fully in place.
Winthrop D. Jordan, "Hemings and Jefferson: Redux" 49

290) But the foremost reason why Jefferson still lives surely reflects his association with the principle of equality whose creed he embedded in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the first of the three achievements memorialized on his tombstone.
Jack N. Rakove, "Our Jefferson" 210

291) Jefferson and Hemings were swept up in the centrifugal force of the media's obsession with the Clinton scandal. The settling of a centuries-old controversy about one of the most important men in history--a controversy that raised profound questions about race, status, and the construction of historical reality--was treated by some as just another excuse for pundits to issue banalities about heroes with feet of clay.
Annette Gordon-Reed, "‘The Memories of a Few Negroes.' Rescuing America's Future at Monticello" 245

292) The very term "Jeffersonian," in short, has begun to take on new meanings. It previously referred exclusively to politics, suggesting a reverential posture toward the democratic or liberal tradition. Now the term can also refer to a psychological condition, suggesting an interior agility at negotiating inconvenient realities and often an impressive capacity at denying with utter sincerity their very existence. (The modern synonym for "Jeffersonian" is "Clintonesque.") The archetypal scene that depicts the old definition is Jefferson drafting the Declaration of Independence, which in the mythical version of that semisacred moment featured a solitary genius crafting the magic words of American history under the inspirational influence of the gods. The new version of "Jeffersonian" places the retired president at his dinner table at Monticello, surrounded by his white family members and a few admiring guests, all served by a light-skinned slave named Madison Hemings, whom at one level everyone knows or strongly suspects to be Jefferson's son, but at another level remains invisible, unacknowledged, even perhaps a presence that Jefferson himself cannot quite account for.
Joseph J. Ellis, "Jefferson: Post-DNA" 132

293) The long fidelity of an attractive, fertile woman, such as Sally, living in a crowded, sexually alive community, indicates that she regarded herself as Jefferson's woman, and was so regarded by all the relevant males in the community. She was his "plantation wife," although not his acknowledged legal wife to bear him children who would be heirs at law; neither was she his acknowledged parlor-and dining-room wife to share in the entertaining of his many guests. These exclusions surely enabled Jefferson's daughters and grandchildren to both "have" this inescapable knowledge and to strenuously deny and repress it.
Rhys Isaac 119-20

294) This chapter focuses on the different experiences of the families of Madison Hemings, who always remained a member of the black community, and Eston Hemings Jefferson, who at age forty-four crossed the color line, determined to live as a white man.
Lucia Stanton and Dianne Swann-Wright 163

295) Presidential relations across the color line have been viewed as particularly reprehensible and scandalous in more than one of Jefferson's successors. Rumor had it that President John Tyler had an illegitimate mixed-race daughter.
Werner Sollors, "Presidents, Race, and Sea" 202

296) We should not be embarrassed to affirm his vision. No government can ever be truly legitimate whose rule does not finally rest on the consent of its subjects, freely given, who must therefore also become its citizens. No government that relies on the rigid control of information and a monopoly of coercive force can ever secure the true allegiance or sustained loyalty of its subjects. Regimes that think they can do so will, at one time or another, discover the essential hollowness of their authority. Extracting obedience, which can be coerced, is not the same as commanding consent, which must be freely given. In this sense, the wellsprings of loyalty that form the basis of citizenship may not differ so much from the psychology of freedom of conscience: both presuppose that the inner beliefs of the sovereign, rights-bearing individual cannot be driven by the devices of coercion. Government is truly legitimate only when consent is freely given.
Jack N. Rakove 231

297) The African Americans of Monticello had a quite different view of who was the supporter and who the burden. Their accounts perpetuated the understanding that Thomas Jefferson could not do what he did alone. He needed their skills and ingenuity in order to preserve life and property and, by extrapolation, to pursue his scientific enquiries and his public purposes. So many symbols of support convey the impression of a Jefferson wafted through life on the arms -- not to speak of the backs -- of the people he held in bondage. Jefferson himself provided a metaphor for this impression. A number of Monticello guides use the image of a pillow to talk about slavery at Monticello. Jefferson's first memory, according to his grandchildren, was of being, at the age of two, "handed up and carried on a pillow by a mounted slave," as the family left Shadwell for Tuckahoe in 1745. According to Thomas J. Randolph's account of July Fourth, 1826, one of his grandfather's very last conscious acts was a wordless signal that Randolph could not interpret. It was Burwell Colbert, Jefferson's highly valued personal servant and butler, who understood his needs, adjusted his pillows, and provided the final symmetry to a life so entangled in the coils and contradictions of slavery.
Lucia Stanton, "The Other End of the Telescope" 152

298) Three ingredients are required to produce the probability estimate. Two are empirical and one is theoretical. The first is a record of Jefferson's visits to Monticello. The primary documents that provide a complete chronicle of Jefferson's visits have recently been published. . . .The second ingredient is the record of the birthdays of Hemings's six children conceived at Monticello. The child who, according to Hemings's son Madison, Sally conceived in France is not included in this study because no record of his or her birthday exists. Exact birth dates are known for five of Hemings's six children. . . . Armed with this information, it is possible to sharpen our question. What is the probability that Hemings's estimated conception dates fall in a period beginning three days before Jefferson's arrival at Monticello and ending at his departure, under the assumption that someone other than Jefferson was the father? Answering the question requires a theoretical model of the process behind the visit-conception coincidence. . . . Consequently the Bernoulli formula will not give correct answers. Instead, the problem can be solved by abandoning algebra in favor of Monte Carlo methods that rely on statistical simulation.
Fraser D. Neiman 201-3

299) All history is an interim report.
Cushing Strout

300) From Sophocles to William Faulkner, the family has been the microcosm that reveals the society. When a plague ravages the realm of Oedipus, an oracle tells him there are murderers in his city, but the king's investigation into affairs of state soon transforms into a search through his own family history, driven by the haunting question Who was my father? The search for the father in the Sally Hemings story is similarly an affair of state. For two centuries some white Americans have viewed her as a threat not just to Jefferson's reputation but to the country.
Henry Wiencek 189

301) The body of evidence in the Hemings case consists of a vexing accumulation of eyewitness and earwitness testimonies; recollections that are biased or partially mistaken; an African-American's memoir that contradicts the Jefferson family's assertions; accounts by African-American families that contradict each other; newspaper articles written in a poisonous political atmosphere; a variety of reliable, unreliable, incomplete, or partially erased documents; and many missing documents whose contents can only be surmised.
Henry Wiencek 190