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In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal

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In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal Cover

ISBN13: 9780312561000
ISBN10: 0312561008
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Synopses & Reviews

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The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child (or children) with slave Sally Hemings---and that such an allegation was proven by DNA testing—has become so pervasive in American popular culture that it is not only widely accepted but taught to students as historical fact. But as William G. Hyland Jr. demonstrates, this “fact” is nothing more than the accumulation of salacious rumors and irresponsible scholarship over the years, much of it inspired by political grudges, academic opportunism, and the trend of historical revisionism that seeks to drag the reputation of the Founding Fathers through the mud. In this startling and revelatory argument, Hyland shows not only that the evidence against Jefferson is lacking, but that in fact he is entirely innocent of the charge of having sexual relations with Hemings.

Historians have the wrong Jefferson. Hyland, an experienced trial lawyer, presents the most reliable historical evidence while dissecting the unreliable, and in doing so he cuts through centuries of unsubstantiated charges. The author reminds us that the DNA tests identified Eston Hemings, Sallys youngest child, as being merely the descendant of a “Jefferson male.” Randolph Jefferson, the presidents wayward, younger brother with a reputation for socializing among the Monticello slaves, emerges as the most likely of several possible candidates. Meanwhile, the author traces the evolution of this rumor about Thomas Jefferson back to the allegation made by one James Callendar, a “drunken ruffian” who carried a grudge after unsuccessfully lobbying the president for a postmaster appointment---and who then openly bragged of ruining Jeffersons reputation. Hyland also delves into Hemings family oral histories that go against the popular rumor, as well as the ways in which the Jefferson rumors were advanced by less-than-historical dramas and by flawed scholarly research often shaped by political agendas.

Reflecting both a laypersons curiosity and a lawyers precision, Hyland definitively puts to rest the allegation of the thirty-eight-year liaison between Jefferson and Hemings. In doing so, he reclaims the nations third president from the arena of Hollywood-style myth and melodrama and gives his readers a unique opportunity to serve as jurors on this enduringly fascinating episode in American history.

William G. Hyland Jr., a native of Virginia, received his B.A. from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Samford Universitys Cumberland School of Law. A former prosecutor, Hyland is a trial lawyer with over twenty-six years of litigation experience. His publications have appeared in the law journals of the University of Texas and University of Richmond, as well as in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, including his article, “A Civil Action: Hemings v. Jefferson.” Before law school, he worked with a Top Secret security clearance for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington, D.C. Hyland serves on Floridas Judicial Nominating Commission and is a member of the Virginia and New York Historical Societies. He now lives and writes in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child (or children) with slave Sally Hemings—and that such an allegation was proven by DNA testing—has become so pervasive in American popular culture that it is not only widely accepted but taught to students as historical fact. But as William G. Hyland, Jr. demonstrates, this “fact” is nothing more than the accumulation of salacious rumors and irresponsible scholarship over the years, much of it inspired by political grudges, academic opportunism, and the trend of historical revisionism that seeks to drag the reputation of the Founding Fathers through the mud. In this startling and revelatory argument, Hyland shows not only that the evidence against Jefferson is lacking, but that in fact he is entirely innocent of the charge of having sexual relations with Hemings.

Historians have the wrong Jefferson. Hyland, an experienced trial lawyer, presents the most reliable historical evidence while dissecting the unreliable, and in doing so he cuts through centuries of unsubstantiated charges. The author reminds us that the DNA tests identified Eston Hemings, Sallys youngest child, as being merely the descendant of a “Jefferson male.” Randolph Jefferson, the presidents wayward, younger brother with a reputation for socializing among the Monticello slaves, emerges as the most likely of several possible candidates. Meanwhile, the author traces the evolution of this rumor about Thomas Jefferson back to the allegation made by one James Callendar, a “drunken ruffian” who carried a grudge after unsuccessfully lobbying the president for a postmaster appointment—and who then openly bragged of ruining Jeffersons reputation. Hyland also delves into Hemings family oral histories that go against the popular rumor, as well as the ways in which the Jefferson rumors were advanced by less-than-historical dramas and by flawed scholarly research often shaped by political agendas.

Reflecting both a laypersons curiosity and a lawyers precision, Hyland definitively puts to rest the allegation of the thirty-eight-year liaison between Jefferson and Hemings. In doing so, he reclaims the nations third president from the arena of Hollywood-style myth and melodrama and gives his readers a unique opportunity to serve as jurors on this enduringly fascinating episode in American history.

“The case [Hyland] makes is persuasive and in my view well presented, and its a historically important project.”—Peter Rodman, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, and author of Presidential Command: Power, Leadership, and the Making of Foreign Policy from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush

“[Hylands] approach to the alleged Jefferson-Hemings relationship is ingenious and he has made what I judge to be an irrefutable case.”—Professor Forrest McDonald, History Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama, and 16th Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and author of The Presidency of Thomas Jefferson and The American Presidency: An Intellectual History

“Hylands well-written book is a breath of fresh air . . . In the courtroom where undocumented speculation and hearsay are not allowed, Jefferson will receive a fair trial.”—W. McKenzie Wallenborn, M.D., president of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society and Clinical Professor (Retired), University of Virginia School of Medicine

“As a practicing civil litigator and former prosecutor, Hyland casts a critical lawyers eye over the two-hundred-year old question of whether Thomas Jefferson had a romantic, sexual liaison with his servant Sally Hemings. Using what would be acceptable in a court of law as his standard for accuracy, Hyland painstakingly separates revisionist ideology from historical accuracy. In page after page, Hyland dissects just how evidence was manipulated to reach a predetermined yet utterly false verdict of guilty. Thankfully, Hylands book once and for all—in a convincingly unemotional fashion—clearly establishes that not Thomas Jefferson, but rather his brother Randolph or one of Randolphs sons, was the father of Sally Hemingss children.”—John Works Jr., former president of the Monticello Association and lineal descendant of Thomas Jefferson

“A well-written and provocative lawyers brief challenging the popular story that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child by his household slave Sally Hemings. Hyland has assembled a mass of forensic evidence to refute the saga much favored by revisionist historians and novelists, who were building on the testimonies of Jeffersons political enemies from his own lifetime. Like the litigation attorney he is, Hyland argues a formidable case before a jury—readers trying to reach a verdict.”—Peter Grose, former executive editor at The New York Times and Foreign Affairs and author of Operation Rollback: Americas Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain

“Hylands book is well researched with material from many sources. It is a powerful insight . . . As assistant to Dr. Foster, the DNA study coordinator, I can reveal that the DNA proved only that the Hemings descendant had Jefferson DNA that supported their oral family claim that they descended from a ‘Jefferson uncle, meaning Randolph Jefferson.”—Herbert Barger, Jefferson family historian

Review:

"This provocative, ill-organized defense brief tries to exculpate Thomas Jefferson from growing evidence that he fathered at least one child with his slave Sally Hemings. An attorney, Hyland (also a member of the board of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society) marshals all the available evidence, weak as well as strong, to argue that others were more likely than the squire of Monticello to have fathered Hemings's children. Biographers, he charges, have 'mangled professional standards in seizing upon the emotionally charged DNA results' that indicate a genetic link between Jefferson and Hemings's descendants. The trouble is that a legal brief is not a historical argument. Hyland has done his own research and interviewed other researchers, but he fails to see the historical context of the evidence or to provide a balanced assessment of the known facts. In this respect, he's ill-equipped to take on great contemporary experts of the matter, especially award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, whose work he terms a 'concocted myth.' Surely not the last word on the matter, regrettably it's not dependable word either. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child with slave Sally Hemings has almost become an accepted fact. Hyland, however, shows that not only is the evidence against Jefferson lacking, but he is, in fact, entirely innocent of the charge.

Synopsis:

The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child (or children) with slave Sally Hemings---and that such an allegation was proven by DNA testing—has become so pervasive in American popular culture that it is not only widely accepted but taught to students as historical fact. But as William G. Hyland Jr. demonstrates, this “fact” is nothing more than the accumulation of salacious rumors and irresponsible scholarship over the years, much of it inspired by political grudges, academic opportunism, and the trend of historical revisionism that seeks to drag the reputation of the Founding Fathers through the mud. In this startling and revelatory argument, Hyland shows not only that the evidence against Jefferson is lacking, but that in fact he is entirely innocent of the charge of having sexual relations with Hemings.

Historians have the wrong Jefferson. Hyland, an experienced trial lawyer, presents the most reliable historical evidence while dissecting the unreliable, and in doing so he cuts through centuries of unsubstantiated charges. The author reminds us that the DNA tests identified Eston Hemings, Sallys youngest child, as being merely the descendant of a “Jefferson male.” Randolph Jefferson, the presidents wayward, younger brother with a reputation for socializing among the Monticello slaves, emerges as the most likely of several possible candidates. Meanwhile, the author traces the evolution of this rumor about Thomas Jefferson back to the allegation made by one James Callendar, a “drunken ruffian” who carried a grudge after unsuccessfully lobbying the president for a postmaster appointment---and who then openly bragged of ruining Jeffersons reputation. Hyland also delves into Hemings family oral histories that go against the popular rumor, as well as the ways in which the Jefferson rumors were advanced by less-than-historical dramas and by flawed scholarly research often shaped by political agendas.

Reflecting both a laypersons curiosity and a lawyers precision, Hyland definitively puts to rest the allegation of the thirty-eight-year liaison between Jefferson and Hemings. In doing so, he reclaims the nations third president from the arena of Hollywood-style myth and melodrama and gives his readers a unique opportunity to serve as jurors on this enduringly fascinating episode in American history.

About the Author

William G. Hyland, Jr., a native of Virginia, received his B.A. from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Samford Universitys Cumberland School of Law. A former prosecutor, Hyland is a trial lawyer with over twenty-six years of litigation experience. His publications have appeared in the law journals of the University of Texas and University of Richmond, as well as in the American Journal of Trial Advocacy, including his article, “A Civil Action: Hemings v. Jefferson.” Before law school, he worked with a Top Secret security clearance for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington, D.C. Hyland serves on Floridas Judicial Nominating Commission and is a member of the Virginia and New York Historical Societies. He now lives and writes in Tampa Bay, Florida.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

herbar, May 13, 2009 (view all comments by herbar)
Mr. Hyland has written on a topic that has long been a controversy. Now that DNA has obliterated the false claims of a begrudging reporter, James Callender, in 1803, by the 1998 DNA tests (there was NO match between Jefferson and Tom Woodson DNA), as long claimed, we can move on. Mr. Hyland, a lawyer, reveals to the reader a LARGE agenda to degrade Mr. Jefferson in the eyes of the public. This started when Dr. E.A. Foster, of whom I assisted, tested a KNOWN carrier of the Jefferson DNA, as always claimed by the Eston Hemings family as being "a Jefferson uncle" and Eston NEVER claimed descent from THOMAS but "this uncle" who actually was TJ's younger brother, Randolph. I personally told Dr Foster that he MUST inform Nature Journal of this GUARANTEED match in the forthcoming test.............HE DID NOT inform Nature, thus a false headline appeared, "Jefferson father's slaves last child." Monticello then took this false information appointed a "Study Group" chaired by an African-American slavery oral specialist and gave a biased and one sided study (minus the Minority Report written by Dr. Ken Wallenborn, whose report was ORIGINALLY "swept under the carpet."

You will be receiving MANY inside revelations from his massive work. Read about the MISINFORMATION in Madison Hermings claims in the Pike Co. newspaper article which was used as a "roadmap" fopr the Monticello Study. Read about Monticello's short falls and their insistance on continuing on misinforming the public. Read about their DROPPING of MEMORIAL from their title and how they accept a biased study "TJ belived to be father of ALL of Sally's children"......when ONLY ONE was tested. Read about the maneuvering and downright unsupported information being spread by people (they are named and their schemes are revealed.) These are people and foundations who accept your donations and tax supported funding who the public trusts to render TRUTHFUL and factual information. You will be astounded at such behavior and all which degrades our famous founding father.

I ask that every citizen who reads this to please order this book and also send to your friends as a gift. You will know where to register your complaints as you should. Our student's textbooks are being changed in a politically correct fashion in attempts at historical revisionism.

BOTTOM LINE: Thomas Jefferson NEVER fathered any slave child..........I assisted Dr Foster and I know the inside facts of this FIASCO. Mr. William Hyland, I salute you for such a factual and revealing book, one that the public will order, become greatly angered at this revelation and take action on. Please remember......THEY own his home BUT WE the people own his legacy.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312561000
Author:
Hyland, William
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books
Author:
William G. Hyland
Author:
Hyland, William G.
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Relations with women
Subject:
Jefferson, Thomas
Subject:
United States - 18th Century
Subject:
United States - Antebellum Era
Subject:
Presidents & Heads of State
Subject:
Jefferson, Thomas - Relations with women
Subject:
Jefferson, Thomas - Relations with slaves
Subject:
General
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Subject:
US History-19th Century
Subject:
Historiography
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Presidents and Heads of State
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Jefferson, Thomas
History and Social Science » US History » US Presidency
History and Social Science » World History » General

In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal Sale Hardcover
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$7.98 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Thomas Dunne Books - English 9780312561000 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This provocative, ill-organized defense brief tries to exculpate Thomas Jefferson from growing evidence that he fathered at least one child with his slave Sally Hemings. An attorney, Hyland (also a member of the board of the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society) marshals all the available evidence, weak as well as strong, to argue that others were more likely than the squire of Monticello to have fathered Hemings's children. Biographers, he charges, have 'mangled professional standards in seizing upon the emotionally charged DNA results' that indicate a genetic link between Jefferson and Hemings's descendants. The trouble is that a legal brief is not a historical argument. Hyland has done his own research and interviewed other researchers, but he fails to see the historical context of the evidence or to provide a balanced assessment of the known facts. In this respect, he's ill-equipped to take on great contemporary experts of the matter, especially award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed, whose work he terms a 'concocted myth.' Surely not the last word on the matter, regrettably it's not dependable word either. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child with slave Sally Hemings has almost become an accepted fact. Hyland, however, shows that not only is the evidence against Jefferson lacking, but he is, in fact, entirely innocent of the charge.
"Synopsis" by ,

The belief that Thomas Jefferson had an affair and fathered a child (or children) with slave Sally Hemings---and that such an allegation was proven by DNA testing—has become so pervasive in American popular culture that it is not only widely accepted but taught to students as historical fact. But as William G. Hyland Jr. demonstrates, this “fact” is nothing more than the accumulation of salacious rumors and irresponsible scholarship over the years, much of it inspired by political grudges, academic opportunism, and the trend of historical revisionism that seeks to drag the reputation of the Founding Fathers through the mud. In this startling and revelatory argument, Hyland shows not only that the evidence against Jefferson is lacking, but that in fact he is entirely innocent of the charge of having sexual relations with Hemings.

Historians have the wrong Jefferson. Hyland, an experienced trial lawyer, presents the most reliable historical evidence while dissecting the unreliable, and in doing so he cuts through centuries of unsubstantiated charges. The author reminds us that the DNA tests identified Eston Hemings, Sallys youngest child, as being merely the descendant of a “Jefferson male.” Randolph Jefferson, the presidents wayward, younger brother with a reputation for socializing among the Monticello slaves, emerges as the most likely of several possible candidates. Meanwhile, the author traces the evolution of this rumor about Thomas Jefferson back to the allegation made by one James Callendar, a “drunken ruffian” who carried a grudge after unsuccessfully lobbying the president for a postmaster appointment---and who then openly bragged of ruining Jeffersons reputation. Hyland also delves into Hemings family oral histories that go against the popular rumor, as well as the ways in which the Jefferson rumors were advanced by less-than-historical dramas and by flawed scholarly research often shaped by political agendas.

Reflecting both a laypersons curiosity and a lawyers precision, Hyland definitively puts to rest the allegation of the thirty-eight-year liaison between Jefferson and Hemings. In doing so, he reclaims the nations third president from the arena of Hollywood-style myth and melodrama and gives his readers a unique opportunity to serve as jurors on this enduringly fascinating episode in American history.

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