This morning, World Magazine is featuring an excerpt of Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President along with a lengthy rebuttal from David Barton. Our section is here and Barton’s article is here.
I have not read Barton’s response yet. I wanted to get the links up in order for readers to have some time to wade through the material. I suspect some of what Barton has to say will be the subject of separate posts. We will have an opportunity from World to post a rebuttal to Barton in a couple of weeks.
So I invite you to comment at the World site and here.
UPDATE: I have read through Barton’s commentary. Although it may take a month, Michael and I will write a response to it for World. It is hard to know where to start when there is so much to address.
Do I start with Barton’s claim that he welcomes appraisal of his work? Barton did not seem welcoming when he called Michael and me academic elitists and allowed without comment his Wallbuilder’s staffer Rick Green to say that his critics were using tactics of Hitler and Alinsky. All that nastiness aside, his tone has improved for this rebuttal.
One of the clearest impressions I have after the first read is how Barton simplified our critique on most of the points. For instance, on the slavery question, we never said Jefferson could free his slaves at any time during his life with ease. We said there was a window from 1782-1806 when the laws had been relaxed to allow voluntary manumission of slaves. Jefferson indeed did free two slaves during that period. In that section, Barton gives a lot of dates for other slave laws but he gives no quotes from them. Also, he cites examples (e.g., Coles leaving the state to free his slaves) that were outside of the window we identified. Throughout that section, Barton does not provide dates to place the requirements within context.
More to come…