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Letter: Washington and Jefferson didn’t fight to destroy U.S.

Washington and Jefferson didn’t fight to destroy U.S.

President Trump said George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, so presumably taking their statues down is the equivalent of taking down those of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other insurrectionists. This borders on asinine, but it is definitely stupid.

Contextually, Jefferson and Washington were forming a nation on freedom while paradoxically they legally owned slaves. At that moment in our nation’s history, compromise on slavery was required to keep Georgia and cotton plantation owners in the 13 colonies so they could, in part, subsidize the Revolutionary War.

We fought a Civil War that by constitutional amendment made slavery and all badges of involuntary servitude illegal. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other insurrectionists fought against that amendment and the idea of equality. Fighting for the Lee and Davis cause in the present context is to fight against the 13th and 14th Amendments. That is in violation of the law and Constitution. That is part of the difference between Jefferson and Washington versus Southern Civil War insurrectionists.

I am not saying Jefferson and Washington were right, just at the time owning slaves was not illegal. Also, Washington freed his slaves when he died. Jefferson not so much. Jefferson, at the age of 32, wrote the Declaration of Independence, which was referenced by Abraham Lincoln to remake and reinvent this nation on the concept of freedom and equality for all.

There is a qualitative difference between statues of Washington and Jefferson and those who fought to tear this nation apart during the Civil War. Learning from and studying history is wonderful and informative, something Trump is, much to the harm of this nation, completely lacking in.

Bill Licata, Esq.

Buffalo

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