Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Best-selling historian David Barton is blasting a proposal by the head of the San Francisco Board of Education which would ban schools from being named after George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers and American leaders who owned slaves.

Barton, author of “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson,” called it a “misguided effort based on bad history.”

“Their intent is good, and students should not be attending schools named after an individual in history whose negatives far outweighed the positives, such as schools named after people from the Civil War such as Nathan Bedford Forrest, Wade Hampton, Bill Anderson, Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens and others of that ilk,” conceded Barton. “However, neither Washington nor Jefferson even remotely fall into that category. In fact, the record of both is quite the opposite, especially in regard to racial civil rights.”

Barton pointed out African-American leaders of the past often praised both Presidents Washington and Jefferson as champions of civil rights for blacks.

“It is striking when you look at the people who looked to Washington and Jefferson as inspirations,” said Barton. “For example, Dr. Martin Luther King praised Jefferson, as did Frederick Douglass, Henry Highland Garnett, Benjamin Banneker and many other African Americans who were the premier civil rights leaders in their generation. The difference between today’s generation and previous ones is that Americans today by and large no longer know American history based on historical fact. Instead, they are simply taught a version of it based on progressive political agendas.”

Finally, the real story behind America’s most enigmatic Founding Father. Check out “The Jefferson Lies” in the WND Superstore.

It’s to combat this kind of phony history Barton says he wrote “The Jefferson Lies,” which details the many ways Jefferson’s memory has been manipulated and misused by left-wing activists.

The book was a New York Times bestseller when it was first published in 2012 until a coordinated pressure campaign against the publisher won an unprecedented victory by having the book withdrawn from circulation.

Then, in partnership with WND, Barton has since put out a new expanded edition in which Barton specifically rebuts his critics charge by charge.

Barton says defending Jefferson from lies is especially important because the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson is the foundation of America itself.

“Jefferson is the guy who gave us the philosophy in the Declaration that produced the Constitution that made America exceptional,” he told WND. “Here we are 238 years later still governing ourselves under the same piece of paper. It’s remarkable what he gave us. If you like stability and prosperity and longevity, we have to stick with those principles we’ve used for so long. He’s great from that aspect. He’s recognized across the world as a great hero. Nations across the world who want their freedom look to Thomas Jefferson and those principles.”

Barton argued both Washington and Jefferson worked for abolition as part of their struggle to realize the founding principles of the country.

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“Significantly, both Washington and Jefferson openly advocated for the end of slavery and led legislative efforts to achieve that objective,” Barton said. “As presidents, both actively introduced, supported, and even signed major measures that sought to end slavery in America and ensure that equal racial civil rights were achieved. It is unfortunate that both of those great leaders lived in the state of Virginia, which by state law would not permit them to free their own slaves as they wished. Nevertheless, they both worked to achieve for others what they could not achieve for themselves, and that’s why previous generations of African Americans openly praised and heralded them.”

Indeed, Barton denied any suggestion minority students should be offended by attending a school named after a man who owned slaves. Instead, Barton said American students of any race should be proud to attend a school named after Jefferson or Washington, both of whom he believes did more than almost anyone else in history to further the cause of racial equality.

“I would think that children in San Francisco would be proud to attend a school named after civil rights pioneers and leaders such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson,” he contended. “It was to combat such errant notions as those proposed by the San Francisco School Board President that I penned “The Jefferson Lies,” showing the true history and the groundbreaking efforts of Thomas Jefferson to end slavery and achieve equal civil rights for all Americans, regardless of race.

“As long as factually inaccurate and politically driven portrayals of history continue to dominate America’s history textbooks and classrooms, errant proposals like this one will continue to be offered,” he warned.

Finally, the real story behind America’s most enigmatic Founding Father. Check out “The Jefferson Lies” in the WND Superstore.

 

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