Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

On Thomas Jefferson

(Roman Genn)
He trusted to the advance of the Enlightenment to end slavery

Nobody embodies the paradox at the heart of the American founding more vividly than Thomas  Jefferson, the slave owner who penned the American creed of liberty in the Declaration of Independence and who, with a slave as his concubine, would “dream of freedom in his bondsmaid’s arms,” as Irish poet Tom Moore jeered during Jefferson’s second presidential term. As young vandals torch our national heritage, in an infectious delusion that America was conceived in slavery, not in liberty, take a good look at our third president, warts and all. You’ll find, despite his undeniable flaws, one of history’s great men

This article appears as “Thomas Jefferson” in the July 27, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Myron Magnet — Mr. Magnet, a National Humanities Medalist, is the author of The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735–1817 and, most recently, Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution.

In This Issue

A Defense of America

Books, Arts & Manners

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U.S.

Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear. In their offhand rhetoric — ... Read More
U.S.

Systemic Racism? Make Them Prove It.

I  worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America’s top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear. In their offhand rhetoric — ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Replacing Ginsburg

While we did not agree with many of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s views about the Constitution or the judicial function, we never doubted her industry, dedication, gumption, civility, or patriotism. We send our condolences to all who mourn her passing. Justice Ginsburg almost certainly had more fans than any ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Replacing Ginsburg

While we did not agree with many of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s views about the Constitution or the judicial function, we never doubted her industry, dedication, gumption, civility, or patriotism. We send our condolences to all who mourn her passing. Justice Ginsburg almost certainly had more fans than any ... Read More

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Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes? Chico Marx in Duck Soup (1933) The long-rising blue tide that has colored American politics and values may have crested, but it could still have enough momentum to make it through the election year. Even if Trump is somehow reelected, the wielders of power and ... Read More

Blue Today, Bluer Tomorrow

Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes? Chico Marx in Duck Soup (1933) The long-rising blue tide that has colored American politics and values may have crested, but it could still have enough momentum to make it through the election year. Even if Trump is somehow reelected, the wielders of power and ... Read More