Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

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Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Yes- Sally Hemings wasn't free to consent
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25%
No- I'm ok with sexual slavery
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45%
Kittens
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Total votes : 44

Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby john9blue on Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:05 am

i think player's point is that, if jefferson can be considered a rapist, then most other men of the time period can be considered rapists too. which doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, and it shouldn't bother you guys either.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:27 pm

john9blue wrote:i think player's point is that, if jefferson can be considered a rapist, then most other men of the time period can be considered rapists too. which doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, and it shouldn't bother you guys either.

No, that was not my point, but that you think it was... and that that is OK is, well, disturbing.

Starz comments are close to what I was suggesting.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby stahrgazer on Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:13 pm

john9blue wrote:i think player's point is that, if jefferson can be considered a rapist, then most other men of the time period can be considered rapists too. which doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, and it shouldn't bother you guys either.


If, with the tale as history tells it points to Jefferson and "most other men of the time period" being rapists, then it rather makes all men - even of this time period, 2013 - "rapists," because if coercion = rape then pretty much all men who ever had intercourse with a woman, are guilty of rape.

The fact is, NOT all coercion = rape. Nor is the "coercion of power" - which in essence, is what the "coercion of slavery" is - it's not always equal to rape either.

But what Player was, in her way, and I, in my way, were trying to get at is, just because this coercion of power exists, does NOT mean that "coercion of power" was then or is now, the most motivating force for any woman, especially not for a healthy, intelligent, and loving woman as it seems Sally was.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby john9blue on Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:57 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
john9blue wrote:i think player's point is that, if jefferson can be considered a rapist, then most other men of the time period can be considered rapists too. which doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, and it shouldn't bother you guys either.

No, that was not my point, but that you think it was... and that that is OK is, well, disturbing.

Starz comments are close to what I was suggesting.


well then, if many women of the era were not free, why are the men who had sex with them not rapists?
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby stahrgazer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:28 pm

john9blue wrote:well then, if many women of the era were not free, why are the men who had sex with them not rapists?


Women of this era are not free of coercion; are all men of this era who have intercourse with a woman, rapists?

Erm. No. It depends on the amount/degree of coercion used, doesn't it? And, to consider it rape, the coercion has to be forceful enough to be "threatening" rather than just there, doesn't it?
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby john9blue on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:40 pm

stahrgazer wrote:
john9blue wrote:well then, if many women of the era were not free, why are the men who had sex with them not rapists?


Women of this era are not free of coercion; are all men of this era who have intercourse with a woman, rapists?

Erm. No. It depends on the amount/degree of coercion used, doesn't it? And, to consider it rape, the coercion has to be forceful enough to be "threatening" rather than just there, doesn't it?


i agree. which is why it's ridiculous to say that jefferson raped this girl just because her legal status was "jefferson's slave". there are tons of other factors which people like symmetry like to blissfully ignore.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby stahrgazer on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:52 pm

john9blue wrote:
stahrgazer wrote:
john9blue wrote:well then, if many women of the era were not free, why are the men who had sex with them not rapists?


Women of this era are not free of coercion; are all men of this era who have intercourse with a woman, rapists?

Erm. No. It depends on the amount/degree of coercion used, doesn't it? And, to consider it rape, the coercion has to be forceful enough to be "threatening" rather than just there, doesn't it?


i agree. which is why it's ridiculous to say that jefferson raped this girl just because her legal status was "jefferson's slave". there are tons of other factors which people like symmetry like to blissfully ignore.


Not the least being, she wasn't his slave at the time of the proven intercourse :lol:

But even if she was, he didn't treat her abusively so "I'm a slave" may not have been the most powerful motivator, as Player and I had tried to point out.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:34 am

stahrgazer wrote: But what Player was, in her way, and I, in my way, were trying to get at is, just because this coercion of power exists, does NOT mean that "coercion of power" was then or is now, the most motivating force for any woman, especially not for a healthy, intelligent, and loving woman as it seems Sally was.

No, that would be almost the opposite of what I was saying.

The truth is that its easy to greatly exaggerate what freedom means in rhetoric. The real truth is that few people truly have real freedom, not even the very wealthy (though they come close), because they are constrained by social "mores". In fact wealthy people are often more socially constrained (that is constrained to follow the "rules", though the "rules " might be very oppressive to some others).

Never is this more true than the case of women in that time. The idea that ANY woman in that day was truly free is an exaggeration.

Yet, here is the thing. People DID make choices, even with the constraints. Women, just like men would proclaim that they were "free". It is in that context that you have to judge whether Sally was able to make her won decisions or not. The facts show that she had more choice than many white women and certainly more than other black women of the day, even "free" women.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby stahrgazer on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:53 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
stahrgazer wrote: But what Player was, in her way, and I, in my way, were trying to get at is, just because this coercion of power exists, does NOT mean that "coercion of power" was then or is now, the most motivating force for any woman, especially not for a healthy, intelligent, and loving woman as it seems Sally was.

No, that would be almost the opposite of what I was saying.

The truth is that its easy to greatly exaggerate what freedom means in rhetoric. The real truth is that few people truly have real freedom, not even the very wealthy (though they come close), because they are constrained by social "mores". In fact wealthy people are often more socially constrained (that is constrained to follow the "rules", though the "rules " might be very oppressive to some others).

Never is this more true than the case of women in that time. The idea that ANY woman in that day was truly free is an exaggeration.

Yet, here is the thing. People DID make choices, even with the constraints. Women, just like men would proclaim that they were "free". It is in that context that you have to judge whether Sally was able to make her won decisions or not. The facts show that she had more choice than many white women and certainly more than other black women of the day, even "free" women.


You are saying what I was saying. You're simply calling those other forces, "constraints" while I called them coercions and motivating forces other than the "coercion of power."
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:42 am

john9blue wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
john9blue wrote:i think player's point is that, if jefferson can be considered a rapist, then most other men of the time period can be considered rapists too. which doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, and it shouldn't bother you guys either.

No, that was not my point, but that you think it was... and that that is OK is, well, disturbing.

Starz comments are close to what I was suggesting.


well then, if many women of the era were not free, why are the men who had sex with them not rapists?


The part I objected to was your "doesn't bother me much" bit. It really should.

Saying that times were different back then and we cannot judge people based on the rules of the day is very different than saying "it seems fine to me". I can dislike, abhore, the institution of slavery without demanding that every single person, every single interaction was negative.

The rules for consent differed back then. The views about women, the value women had in society, in life differed. The "mores" men were taught differed. I reject Summetries' assumptions, partly becuase in this particular case the evidence just doesn't show things happened the way she likes to insist and partially because while women were more constrained, so were men.

It is a constant irony in philosophy, ethics that often the oppressors are almost as constrained as those oppressed. That is one constant and fundamental argument against oppression.


It is a constant irony in philosophy, ethics that often the oppressors are almost as constrained as those oppressed. That is one constant and fundamental argument against oppression.

Many men in the US, particularly in conservative Christian groups want to pretend that there is some kind of “ideal” past, when, well.. “men were men”. It certainly was easier in some ways to be a man in the 1950’s. No worry about what to cook, you might get yelled at if you were late, but dinner would generally be there… etc. Except, well…Men wound up having to leave their families, kids if needed to make a living and were not supposed to be terribly upset about it, men and women each had to “dress” a certain way, follow very specific rules and patterns… etc.

Today, we have choices. Choices often mean more work, but the end result is, most would say, far better. Not always, but I don’t know many people who would seriously and truly trade today for then (who actually understand that time, anyway).
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby john9blue on Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:28 pm

PLAYER57832 wrote:
john9blue wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
john9blue wrote:i think player's point is that, if jefferson can be considered a rapist, then most other men of the time period can be considered rapists too. which doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, and it shouldn't bother you guys either.

No, that was not my point, but that you think it was... and that that is OK is, well, disturbing.

Starz comments are close to what I was suggesting.


well then, if many women of the era were not free, why are the men who had sex with them not rapists?


The part I objected to was your "doesn't bother me much" bit. It really should.

Saying that times were different back then and we cannot judge people based on the rules of the day is very different than saying "it seems fine to me". I can dislike, abhore, the institution of slavery without demanding that every single person, every single interaction was negative.

The rules for consent differed back then. The views about women, the value women had in society, in life differed. The "mores" men were taught differed. I reject Summetries' assumptions, partly becuase in this particular case the evidence just doesn't show things happened the way she likes to insist and partially because while women were more constrained, so were men.


the reason it doesn't bother me is beacuse i know almost all of the men who treated women/minorities/etc. "poorly" (by modern standards) back in those days were not actually bad people, they were just influenced by the morals of their culture.

bad PEOPLE bother me. and you can't tell whether someone is bad just by looking at their actions.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:11 pm

john9blue wrote: the reason it doesn't bother me is beacuse i know almost all of the men who treated women/minorities/etc. "poorly" (by modern standards) back in those days were not actually bad people, they were just influenced by the morals of their culture.

bad PEOPLE bother me. and you can't tell whether someone is bad just by looking at their actions.
I still disagree. Its not that I give the men of the day a pass, its that Jefferson was one who went as far as he could to break the rules. If everyone had lived by Jefferson's standards, then there would likely not have been slavery much longer, if at all. THAT is the point.

We don't have the right to judge individuals directly, but we can absolutely judge actions and the way many men of that day acted was abhorrant by any standards. It just so happens that Jefferson was not one of them.

Getting into mincing words over whether Sally was or was not a slave doesn't move that discussion forward. But, saying that all women were treated poorly, so the men could just be excused is not correct either. By that standard, we would have no right to ever push for change at all, because to push for change is, very much, to say that someone else's behavior is wrong.
Last edited by PLAYER57832 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby Symmetry on Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:38 am

PLAYER57832 wrote:[quote="john9blue the reason it doesn't bother me is beacuse i know almost all of the men who treated women/minorities/etc. "poorly" (by modern standards) back in those days were not actually bad people, they were just influenced by the morals of their culture.

bad PEOPLE bother me. and you can't tell whether someone is bad just by looking at their actions.
I still disagree. Its not that I give the men of the day a pass, its that Jefferson was one who went as far as he could to break the rules. If everyone had lived by Jefferson's standards, then there would likely not have been slavery much longer, if at all. THAT is the point.

We don't have the right to judge individuals directly, but we can absolutely judge actions and the way many men of that day acted was abhorrant by any standards. It just so happens that Jefferson was not one of them.

Getting into mincing words over whether Sally was or was not a slave doesn't move that discussion forward. But, saying that all women were treated poorly, so the men could just be excused is not correct either. By that standard, we would have no right to ever push for change at all, because to push for change is, very much, to say that someone else's behavior is wrong.[/quote]

He was as slave trader, and he raped his slave and kept his own children (who he never acknowledged) in slavery). Is that not abhorrent?
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby Symmetry on Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:41 am

PLAYER57832 wrote:I still disagree. Its not that I give the men of the day a pass, its that Jefferson was one who went as far as he could to break the rules. If everyone had lived by Jefferson's standards, then there would likely not have been slavery much longer, if at all. THAT is the point.

We don't have the right to judge individuals directly, but we can absolutely judge actions and the way many men of that day acted was abhorrant by any standards. It just so happens that Jefferson was not one of them.



He was as slave trader, and he raped his slave and kept his own children (who he never acknowledged) in slavery. Is that not abhorrent?
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Re: Was Thomas Jefferson a rapist?

Postby PLAYER57832 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:20 am

Symmetry wrote:
PLAYER57832 wrote:
john9blue wrote: the reason it doesn't bother me is beacuse i know almost all of the men who treated women/minorities/etc. "poorly" (by modern standards) back in those days were not actually bad people, they were just influenced by the morals of their culture.

bad PEOPLE bother me. and you can't tell whether someone is bad just by looking at their actions.
I still disagree. Its not that I give the men of the day a pass, its that Jefferson was one who went as far as he could to break the rules. If everyone had lived by Jefferson's standards, then there would likely not have been slavery much longer, if at all. THAT is the point.

We don't have the right to judge individuals directly, but we can absolutely judge actions and the way many men of that day acted was abhorrant by any standards. It just so happens that Jefferson was not one of them.

Getting into mincing words over whether Sally was or was not a slave doesn't move that discussion forward. But, saying that all women were treated poorly, so the men could just be excused is not correct either. By that standard, we would have no right to ever push for change at all, because to push for change is, very much, to say that someone else's behavior is wrong.


He was as slave trader, and he raped his slave and kept his own children (who he never acknowledged) in slavery). Is that not abhorrent?

He could not, given the times, as you say "acknowledge" his children in public. He did acknowledge them, provide for them privately. As fro "keeping them in slavery" – that has already been addressed. He did so in name, only. By so doing, he was able to PROTECT and educate them, as he would not have been able to had he freed them. He DID free them legally when they were old enough to fend for themselves. Several of his children then “passed” as white – in that day, the best thing that could happen to a black person, but something rife with penalties. Had Jefferson, as you demand “acknowledged” them publically, then NONE of that would be possible.

You can pretend that names tell all or you can actually look at the details. This is not justification of slavery or saying things were wonderful back then.
It is saying that people can only step go so far to stretch the conditions of the time. Jefferson went far beyond what almost anyone of the day would or could.
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